Clock's literally ticking on Bevin's tax returns, figuratively ticking on detailed policy from Conway

06/15/2015 09:10 PM

As Kentucky Democrats set up an online clock to track how long it’s been since Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin said he would not publicize his tax records during the campaign, the GOP hopeful is calling on Democrat Jack Conway to release his first written policy platform.

The Kentucky Democratic Party set up the online timer on Monday to keep up with “the amount of time Bevin is refusing to disclose this important information to Kentucky residents,” according to a news release.

Bevin told Pure Politics on Wednesday that while he would regularly release his income tax filings if elected, he saw no point to do so as a candidate.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Bevin did not include on his financial disclosure with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission positions in two companies, including his family’s Connecticut-based bell-manufacturing company. Kathryn Gabhart, interim director of the commission, said in the report that she believes the commission would want all positions disclosed, but the agency can accept amended disclosure forms.

“It’s bad enough that Bevin is breaking Kentucky’s bipartisan tradition of disclosure by gubernatorial nominees — but his ‘possible ethics violation’ for failing to disclose his controversial out-of-state corporations underscores why Bevin must come clean with Kentucky voters,” KDP spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement.

“The clock is ticking, and each minute that passes is another reminder why Republicans called Bevin an ‘East Coast Con Man’ who cannot be trusted and is only looking out for himself.”

But Ben Hartman, Bevin’s campaign manager, said talk of ethics violations is overblown considering Bevin listed the parent company of both businesses, Integrity Holdings, on his financial disclosure form.

He noted that Bevin has not hidden his connection to Bevin Brothers Manufacturing, down to the bell used as the candidate’s campaign logo in this race and his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.

“This is not a company that Matt has ever tried to hide his affiliation with,” Hartman said in a phone interview with Pure Politics. “He operates this company through Integrity Holdings. … And insinuation that Matt is trying to hide his association with one of his companies that’s a success story that we’ve talked about on the campaign trail numerous times is ludicrous.”

Bevin’s campaign launched its own offensive against Conway, calling on the attorney general to release his first detailed policy platform after more than a year in the race.

Bevin’s Twitter account created a petition for users to “challenge Jack Conway to release his plan.” By clicking on the petition, users share their user names and email addresses with Bevin’s account.

The campaign also released a letter dated March 4 calling on Conway to submit a detailed gubernatorial proposal more than a week after Bevin’s “Blueprint for a Better Kentucky” became public.

“What the Democrats are talking about has nothing to do with how we move Kentucky forward, how we bring jobs and economic opportunity to the state,” Hartman said. “We think it’s actually a pretty good comparison of the two campaigns, and I think what you’ll see going forward is more of that. We’re going to talk about substantive issues to address problems, and they’re going to talk about anything but because Jack Conway doesn’t have a plan.”

Hartman says Bevin’s campaign plans to highlight “what some of the proposals that you can sort of get out of Jack Conway are,” but the Democrat’s campaign says Conway plans to unveil his jobs plan later this month.

“Matt Bevin is only trying to divert attention away from the fact that he is refusing to release his tax returns, even in light of his escalating ethics scandal,” Conway campaign spokesman Daniel Kemp said in a statement.

“Right now, Jack is on his Bluegrass Business Listening Tour, where he’s traveling the state discussing his proposals to support Kentucky businesses and soliciting input from business owners and employees ahead of releasing his jobs plan this month. We look forward to rolling out additional policy plans after the tour.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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