Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) is having a rough summer. After sweeping into offic with a vew to clean up the state's culture of patronage and favoritism, nine of his administration officials are under indictment for hiring scandals. Two have already resigned.
Today's Kentucky Herald-Leader brings more news of malfeasance:
Taxpayers spend $1.1 million a year on a state agency responsible for politically promoting Gov. Ernie Fletcher, with an eye on his 2007 re-election bid, according to internal records filed in court yesterday.
Local Initiatives for a New Kentucky, which is part of the governor's office, also has played a major role in satisfying the demands of local Republican leaders wanting state merit jobs for their relatives and friends. The governor himself took an interest in some hiring decisions for low-level jobs, records show.
The taxpayer-funded LINK office is also a revolving door for Republican political operatives:
[B]lurring the line between politics and government, LINK's leaders have moved between the agency and Kentucky Republican Party headquarters. LINK is supervised by Ellen Williams, former state GOP chairwoman, and Darrell Brock Jr., its previous supervisor, is now state GOP chairman.
In short, the public is being asked to hand over $1.1 million to find a GOP spin operation:
LINK collects and forwards the names of local Republicans who want state jobs, noting their party affiliation, campaign donations and family connections; informs the governor's office about local news coverage that is critical of Fletcher; and makes sure that Fletcher is praised for various projects, such as repaved roads, according to other internal documents that were released.
What does the Governor have to say about all this? "Fletcher spokesman Mike Goins yesterday said the governor's office would not comment. LINK officials referred questions to Goins."