And the noodling continues
So far this legislative session, only a few remarkably unremarkable acts have trickled through House and Senate committees, most of which havenâ€™t held their first meeting. Meanwhile, questions remain about the governorâ€™s office. Will or wonâ€™t the grand jury investigating alleged abuses of the merit system indict Gov. Fletcher, now that heâ€™s pardoned everyone whoâ€™s been â€” or might be â€” charged in connection with the scandal except him?
A report by WHAS-TVâ€™s Mark Hebert last week provided a glimpse into a prosecutorâ€™s mindset; Deputy Attorney General Pierce Whites characterized a secretly recorded phone call between whistleblower Doug Doerting and a Transportation Cabinet official as â€œone of several smoking guns.â€ In the Sept. 27, 2004 conversation, State District Highway Engineer Sam Beverage pitches merit jobs for three political friends, two of whom â€œwere promised the same job by the governorâ€™s office. So this was kind of a deal that was worked out, and it was a package deal â€¦ and they are all pretty political.â€
Asked if heâ€™s worried about indictment, Fletcher told Hebert, â€œMy conscience is clear on that; I never know what this attorney general is gonna do.â€ Thereâ€™s speculation the attorney general will seek another 90-day extension for the grand jury. What seems to be missing from the smoking guns are the governorâ€™s fingerprints. A court has given prosecutors permission to view some files and e-mail messages from Fletcherâ€™s state and personal computers and his BlackBerry. If investigators canâ€™t prove he broke state hiring laws by now, they might be wise, as columnist John David Dyche has suggested, to call it a day.
Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, thinks taxpayers have the right to know how much the investigation is costing, and heâ€™s suing the state to find out. â€œSo far, the public has been asked to pay a whopping $1.5 million for the private attorneys the administration claims it hired to respond to subpoenas,â€ Scorsone wrote in a column published in The Letter (www.TheLetterOnline.com).
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