After Moffett slams Williams for state debt, Williams hammers Moffett for his own campaign finances

04/21/2011 07:19 AM

BOWLING GREEN — Republican candidate for governor David Williams slammed his opponent, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, at Wednesday night’s debate for not practicing what he preaches about fiscal responsibility with his own campaign.

Moffett, as he has done throughout the campaign, indirectly criticized Williams for being a member of the legislature that has allowed the state to incur billions of dollars in debt from selling bonds and inadequately funding the state worker pension system.

“We’re told the budget is balanced. Well, to a businessman like me, that means you don’t spend more money than you bring in,” Moffett said at one point during the one-hour debate at Bowling Green Junior High School.

A few minutes later, Williams used his chance to ask Moffett a question to try to undermine that point. He accused Moffett’s campaign of reporting a negative balance of $515.

“After over a year in this campaign can you not get enough support to even balance your own books?” Williams asked. “If you can’t balance the books in your own campaign, how can you balance the books of the Commonwealth of Kentucky?”

Moffett disputed the numbers, saying his campaign finance report that was electronically filed Wednesday had a technical glitch. He said in an interview after the debate that he will show “about $20,000” left in his account.

Moffett’s report on the registry’s website showed a negative balance of $513.83, but officials at the registry confirmed that Moffett’s campaign staff had difficulty on their end filing the report late Wednesday night.

Sarah Jackson, executive director of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, said auditors contacted the campaign as soon as they noticed the negative balance to make sure there wasn’t a problem on the registry’s end.

“They definitely were having some problems sending it to us,” Jackson said. “Our determination was there was nothing on our end. Our IT head suggested they check on their end in case there was a virus or something in their file. Meanwhile, to meet the deadline … they chose to send it as an attachment. This is their official report.”

Moffett’s campaign can file an amended report any time, Jackson said.

Campaign finance law does not prohibit a negative balance, Jackson said. “But the ramification of that is that someone will have to cover that,” she said because a candidate can’t close an account after the election with a negative balance.

Williams has raised $1.2 million during the election and has more than $669,000 on hand.

The third candidate in the race, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, didn’t attend the debate in Bowling Green because her daughter was giving birth to twins Wednesday.

Moffett and Williams had several exchanges during the debate over issues, such as Williams legislative pension, their philosophies on tax structures and who had gone toe to toe with the Jefferson County teachers’ union.

You can see highlights from the debate Thursday night on Pure Politics.

- Ryan Alessi


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