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Kentucky Democrats file ethics complaint against GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron


The Kentucky Democratic Party filed a complaint against Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Thursday, arguing he violated ethics rules by investigating Gov. Andy Beshear’s office.

Cameron, a Republican, is trying to unseat Beshear in next year’s gubernatorial election. He announced his campaign Wednesday.

The party argues that Cameron isn’t allowed to run for governor after launching inquiries into Beshear’s administration.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge said Cameron was using public resources to target a political opponent.

“Those resources should be used to protect the people of Kentucky – not to prepare for an election. Cameron spent more time and resources going after a Democratic governor than he did investigating Matt Bevin for pardoning hundreds of criminals including those whose family contributed to Bevin’s campaign,” Elridge wrote in a statement.

The party cited opinions from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission that state the attorney general can’t investigate a sitting governor if they “had intentions of becoming a political opponent in a future election.”

When Beshear was attorney general in 2017, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission issued an opinion stating that he shouldn’t investigate allegations that then-Gov. Matt Bevin used his office to get a deal on a mansion he bought from a donor and political appointee.

Instead, the commission stated, then-Attorney General Beshear could refer cases to independent law enforcement agencies.

Beshear responded to questions about the complaint during a news conference on Thursday.

“This is a rule that everybody else has followed, and the attorney general has broken. The ethics commission made it really clear,” he said. “All we’re asking is that everyone follow the same set of rules, the same ones I did.”

Beshear pointed to probes Cameron launched over contracts to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the State Capitol rotunda, and how the state selected child care providers early on in the pandemic.

Brandon Moody, a strategist for Cameron’s gubernatorial campaign, dismissed the complaint in a statement.

“General Cameron has time and again protected the rights of Kentuckians who have had their rights trampled upon by a governor acting outside the bounds of the law. Andy Beshear has lost time and again. This is the real Andy Beshear – he shows his true colors when he has his minions send out a memo complaining that being held to the law is unfair. Over a year out, and Beshear is already acting this desperate? What a joke,” Moody said.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues,Ryland'sreporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
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