Daniel Cameron: Corrupt, or incompetent? Skip to content

Daniel Cameron: Corrupt, or incompetent?

Bruce’s Take: When it comes to the Cameron-Edgewater situation, there are only two possibilities. And one conclusion.

3 min read

If you’ve been following the governor’s race, you’re aware that both campaigns are accusing the other campaign of sleazy stuff when it comes to campaign donations. While the Beshear incident certainly raised eyebrows when it was reported, it seems apparent that Andy Beshear himself was not directly involved, and the donor himself actually asked for the money back. (I spoke to someone who has worked on many campaigns, and they said that when you are receiving as many donations as the Beshear campaign is, you’re not going to notice multiple donations from a single credit card; in fact, depending on the software you use, you may not see the credit card info at all.)

The Daniel Cameron story is a different kettle of fish, though. Not only was Cameron directly involved, the details are pretty smelly as well. Which causes me to ask the question in the title: Is Daniel Cameron corrupt, or just incompetent?

The sequence of events

To begin with, let’s review the order of events in this saga of investigations and donations. (The following is based on reporting by the Daily Beast in this story and then this one, and by the Associated Press.)

2022 – The Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse in Cameron’s office begins an investigation of Edgewater Recovery Centers.

January 2023 – Cameron personally calls an Edgewater representative asking for donations.

Jan 20 – A Cameron campaign official makes a follow-up call to that same representative, and they discuss a possible fund-raiser for Cameron.

March – Cameron personally calls again, asking for donations.

March – Edgewater receives subpoena from Cameron’s office as part of the investigation.

March-April – Edgewater executives donate $7,600 to Cameron’s campaign. None had donated to Cameron before.

May 16 – Primary election day; Cameron wins Republican nomination.

May 17 – The Office of the Attorney General receives a public records request asking about Cameron’s recusals.

May 19 – Cameron recuses himself from the Edgewater investigation.

June 9 – The OAG receives second public records request about recusals.

June 14 – The Cameron campaign returns the contributions.

The two most salient facts in the above series of events are that (a) Cameron’s office began an investigation into Edgewater in 2022, and (b) Cameron called Edgewater officials twice asking for campaign donations. There seems to be little dispute about these two data points.

The possibilities

So what are we to make of this? It seems to me that there are two possibilities, and one conclusion.

Option 1: Cameron knew about the investigation, and called anyway. At the very least, this is an unethical act, and at the worst, a corrupt one. For the head of an investigatory agency to contact the persons being investigated and ask for campaign donations is way beyond the pale. It brings to mind the words of Donald Trump, Cameron’s hero: “I would like you to do us a favor.”

The lawyer for Edgewater said that there did not seem to be any quid pro quo implied in the calls. Why would there need to be? “My office is about to bring the hammer down on you. How about some donations?”

Also note the timing of the issuance of the subpoena from the OAG to Edgewater. Coincidence? Possibly. A squeeze play? Also possible. And an example of corrupt hardball.

Option 2: Cameron truly didn’t know about the investigation when he called. In my opinion, such a scenario makes Cameron incompetent. How does the head of a division not know about an investigation that has been ongoing for months? Does he not have staff meetings? Is there not some sort of work-tracking system? Does he not talk with his direct reports to see what’s going on?

And if you want to use the “he delegates all that stuff to his reports,” then how do you explain the lack of conflict checking by his campaign? You’re not dealing with some local grocery story owner running for constable. This is the attorney general of the state, with cases and situations involving people and businesses all across the state. No one is checking the call list before he starts doing Dialing for Dollars? Cameron himself didn’t insist on such? What kind of two-bit campaign is he running, anyway?

In this series of events, there are only two possible scenarios: either he knew about the investigation when he called Edgewater, or he didn’t.

The conclusion

But no matter which of the two scenarios you choose, in the end it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether Daniel Cameron is just ethically challenged, actually corrupt, or more incompetent than any major office-holder has a right to be.

When you look at this series of events, and look at the only two possible scenarios to explain it, then you are left with only one conclusion:

Daniel Cameron has no business being anywhere near the governorship of Kentucky.


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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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