Politics

Political news

Photo by WKU Public Radio photojournalist Abbey Oldham

Kelley Paul says she'll use her background as a political consultant to provide behind-the-scenes support to husband Rand's 2016 Republican presidential bid.

She said in an interview in South Carolina on Thursday she doesn't plan to have a front office at campaign headquarters but to help her husband with speechwriting and getting his message out.

Kelley Paul sat down with The Associated Press in Charleston during her first solo campaign swing to early-voting South Carolina. She's also promoting her recent book.

The mother of three has long supported Rand Paul's political operation in significant if not always visible ways. But in recent months she's been thrust into a far more public role.

Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, announced his candidacy last week.

Kentuckians have only a few more days to register to vote in next month’s primary election. 

Voters will pick the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor, as well as the other constitutional offices. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says Monday, April 20 is the deadline to register to vote in the May 19 primary.

"Go online to elect.ky.gov.  There, you can check your registration status to make sure you are registered," Grimes told WKU Public Radio.  "If you aren't registered, you can download the registration form to make sure you have that sent in time for our deadline."

Kentucky has 3.1 million registered voters.  Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by nearly 450,000.

Kentucky LRC

A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Wednesday granted a motion filed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal to intervene in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Legislative Research Commission.

The media organizations want access to depositions of former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat.

Judge Thomas Wingate is still considering Overly and Sherman’s requests to have their depositions sealed.

On Wednesday, Wingate signed an order denying requests by Overly and Sherman to have their depositions sealed, but the court soon after update that order and rescinded that decision. “It was brought to Court’s attention that there had been a mistake,” Wingate’s office said in an email.

Wingate will decide later whether to seal part or all of Sherman and Overly’s depositions.

Overly, who is running for lieutenant governor on a slate with Attorney General Jack Conway, is scheduled to be deposed by the plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas Clay. Clay said that he deposed Sherman for five hours last Wednesday.

Kentucky LRC

A Franklin County judge has denied the request of lieutenant governor candidate Sannie Overly to seal her deposition in a legislative sexual harassment case.

The Lexington Herald-Leader said Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Wednesday also denied a similar request by former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and granted  motions by The Courier-Journal and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting to intervene.

Louisville lawyer Thomas Clay, who represents two women who brought the harassment case against a former lawmaker, has said he wants to ask Overly about any sexual harassment she might have experienced in the legislature.

Overly is running on a ticket with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway. Her lawyer, Anita Britton of Lexington, has said if the deposition became public, Overly's words could be taken out of context for political reasons.

Republican Senator Rand Paul is now the first presidential candidate to accept contributions in the form of Bitcoin. The digital currency is new territory for campaign finance law.

Richard Hasen is a law and political science professor at the University of California-Irvine.
He says he doesn’t think Bitcoin will provide a significant source of funding for Paul’s campaign, but he’s not surprised the Republican candidate has chosen to accept Bitcoin. "I think it’s more of a novelty and it certainly fits in with Senator Paul’s image to try to be tech-savvy and there is a kind of a libertarian edge to Bitcoin. So, I think it is quite a natural fit for him to be the one to do it." he said.

But, there are some issues. Bitcoin makes it easier to contribute to a political campaign anonymously and
Hasen says Paul’s campaign will have to rely on donors to provide information, since Bitcoin is an untraceable and unregulated currency.

Hasen says Paul’s campaign is also going to have to make sure contributions aren’t from foreign countries.
The Paul campaign is only accepting up to 100 dollars in Bitcoin contributions per individual.

Kentucky LRC

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal have filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Legislative Research Commission by two former staffers of the agency.

The media organizations are trying to bring to light depositions of former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat.

Overly is scheduled to be deposed on Monday and Sherman was deposed on Wednesday. They have tried to keep the depositions sealed, citing privacy concerns.

Sherman announced his resignation from the LRC in September 2013, following the conclusion of an internal probe into allegations that former state Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, sexually harassed statehouse employees.

According to documents filed in the lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court, Arnold also inappropriately touched Overly, who is currently running for lieutenant governor on the ticket headed by current state Attorney General Jack Conway.

Republican candidates for Kentucky governor say presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway isn’t fit to serve because he would not fight a challenge to the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Conway refused to defend the ban last year, saying the law is discriminatory. Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside counsel to defend the law.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republicans seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination, said not wanting to defend a law shouldn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter if you agree with the constitution or not. When you take that oath to uphold the constitution, you represent the people of Kentucky,” Comer said.

Louisville businessman and Republican frontrunner Hal Heiner said that Conway should have been required to defend the constitutional amendment.

Abbey Oldham

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made no mention of the unarmed black man killed by a white police officer during a campaign stop just miles from where the shooting happened.

Paul often says that U.S. criminal justice isn't equally applied, a statement he repeated at his rally Thursday. But since launching his White House bid Tuesday, the Kentucky senator has sidestepped questions about the high-profile South Carolina case.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager initially claimed he shot Scott in self-defense. Slager was later fired and charged with murder after a bystander's video showed him firing his weapon repeatedly as Scott fled.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford did not shy away from the case, telling Paul supporters it proves the senator is right about the importance of civil liberties.

In fact, Sen. Rand Paul's first days as a presidential candidate have not gone as planned.

The first-term Kentucky senator is no stranger to attention. But in opening his campaign, he betrayed a hot temperament that, by his own admission, needs some control.

After defensive and dodging press interviews about abortion, Iran and his shifting views on some issues, he's acknowledged he'll have to get better at holding his tongue and temper.

Paul skipped encounters with the media altogether after his rally in South Carolina on Thursday.

In his first 24 hours as a contender, Paul lectured an NBC reporter about how to ask a question and grew testy in an Associated Press interview when asked about abortion policy.

A research group that compiles political fundraising invitations from around the country found that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s fundraising efforts provide a snapshot into the junior senator’s campaign that is different from his rhetoric.

According to Political Party Time, an arm of the Sunlight Foundation, “Paul has thrown 26 get-togethers to benefit his own campaign coffers…. [and] of that tally, more than half have taken place in Washington, D.C.”

During his presidential run announcement on Tuesday, Paul portrayed his candidacy as an effort to change Washington from the outside. He criticized D.C. politics and said special interests hold too much power in the nation’s capitol.

“We have come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank, the special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare,” he told a large room of supporters in Louisville this week.

Paul assured the crowd his campaign would be different.

“Too often when Republicans have won, we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine,” he said. “That’s not who I am.”

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