Cameron refers Beshear/KDP donation incident to FBI Skip to content

Cameron refers Beshear/KDP donation incident to FBI

Cameron cannot investigate the donations himself, as he is barred by ethics opinions from doing so – but he can ask the FBI to do so.

2 min read

The office of AG Daniel Cameron has asked the FBI to investigate the recent donations incident involving the Beshear campaign, the KY Democratic Party, and Randall Weddle, the mayor of London, KY.

As first reported by Tom Loftus at the Kentucky Lantern, a number of donations made by Weddle, his family, and his business associates appeared to be possible “straw donations,” where one person gives money to others to donate in their own name to a campaign, either up front or as a reimbursement. The donations were made to both the Andy Beshear for Governor campaign and to the KDP, and were often at the maximum amount allowed by law. In addition, many of the donors had either never donated politically in the past, or had never made such large donations.

Weddle subsequently reached out to the Beshear campaign and to the KDP to ask that the donations be returned, as he had discovered that all the donations had been made on a single credit card belonging to himself and his wife. Of the $305,000 in donations noted by Loftus, approximately $200,000 was returned. According to Eric Hyers of the Beshear campaign, the remaining donations were not made with that particular credit card.

Straw donations are illegal, but are hard to prove without an investigation involving obtaining both the donation records and the bank records of those involved.

Cameron’s office has now requested such an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The reason that Cameron cannot order his own office to investigate — the normal course of action when straw donors are suspected — is that previous opinions issued by state ethics boards barred the state’s attorney general from investigating the state’s governor if the AG could become a political opponent of the governor. Cameron is, of course, running against Beshear for the governor’s seat in this year’s statewide elections.

As reported by the Herald-Leader, the letter to the FBI, written by Deputy Attorney General Victor Maddox, states “Please accept this letter as a formal request by the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General for the FBI to investigate the circumstances surrounding contributions in the amount of some $202,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Andy Beshear. These contributions have been the subject of widespread coverage in statewide news outlets. The contributions were ostensibly made by numerous members of the family of London, Kentucky Mayor Randall Weddle and by employees of a company he co-founded, but apparently were charged by Mayor Weddle to his personal credit card.”


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