As Republicans attack, Gov. Beshear says politics aren't involved in personnel matters

08/08/2011 01:52 PM

FANCY FARM — If there were any guesses left, it’s now clear what issue Republicans will prefer to use when it comes to attacking Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear — allegations of campaign cash shakedowns of state workers.

That was the major theme of the Republican gubernatorial slate of David Williams and Richie Farmer during the annual Fancy Farm picnic and was referenced heavily by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in his opening remarks.

“Steve Beshear likes his state workers like he likes his martinis,” McConnell told the crowd. “Shaken down, not heard.”

And in response to the Republican attacks on Saturday, Beshear told Pure Politics that politics isn’t in play when in comes to personnel decisions during his administration.

“Nobody’s ever gotten a job in state government because of politics and no one’s going to lose a job in state government because of politics as long as Steve Beshear is governor,” Beshear said. “That’s the way we’ve run our shop the last four years and that’s how we’ll run it the next four years.”

Republicans also set up a gimmick booth telling state workers to make their contributions to the governor’s re-election campaign to help keep their jobs, a reference to allegations made by employees in the Justice and Public Safety cabinet.

The allegations arise from state employees who allege Justice Cabinet Deputy Secretary Charles Geveden solicited non-merit employees for campaign contributions to Beshear’s re-election campaign, which is against Kentucky law.

And a second complaint comes from an employee of the Transportation Cabinet, who said Chuck Geveden Jr., a former Beshear administration employee and son of Charles Geveden, also solicited for contributions.

Democrats have denied those allegations, saying they are political ploys.

The first complaint against the elder Geveden is still active at the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and Executive Branch Ethics Commission, as well as in Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.

Conway also has an active complaint against Geveden Jr. He told Pure Politics he was looking into the evidence, and was proceeding with the accusations as he would any other case. He said he hadn’t made a decision on what to do with the complaints yet.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston

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