Tit-for-tat ethics complaints 🅿️

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Election season – time to look for any and every little think you can use to call out your opponent. And our state parties are both at it.

The KY Republican Party filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Wilson Stone because he sent an informational mailer to his constituents using state resources, and included “I would appreciate your vote” at the end of it. After they filed the complaint, Stone acknowledged that it was a violation of campaign finance rules, and said he would pay for the cost of the mailing out of his campaign funds.

Then, the KY Democratic Party filed a complaint against Governor Bevin for using his official Twitter account to “campaign” for Andy Barr by noting he was at the Trump/Barr rally with people supporting Andy Barr. (Who else would be there?) When both Amy McGrath and the KDP called him out on it, the Gov deleted the tweet, but also said people were silly for complaining about it.

Look, anyone either running or serving should know the rules: you don’t use government-provided resources to campaign. Period. It’s a campaign finance violation, and people will call you on it every time.

I’m all for following campaign finance rules, both large and small. But when we’ve got voter suppression all across the country, and when dark money is rolling into our state in obscene amounts, picking at issues like these is like two grade-school kids taunting each other on the playground while a tornado is coming their way.

Let’s focus on the serious ethical violations, like pay-to-play (wherever it occurs), and sexual misconduct (wherever it occurs), and kickbacks and nepotism and a whole range of other issues. Let’s file those complaints, and call out our politicians on those as well. Maybe if we show we’re serious about those things, candidates and electeds will take ALL ethics seriously.

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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. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.