Comer to file counter-complaint against Farmer campaign alleging false accusations

09/19/2011 09:00 AM

State Rep. James Comer, who is the Republican nominee for agriculture commissioner, said he would file a counter-complaint asking for a criminal investigation into whether his Democratic opponent made a false ethics complaint.

A Lexington lawyer, on behalf of Democratic candidate Bob Farmer’s campaign, filed a complaint last week with the Legislative Ethics Commission against Comer last week alleging that a legislative aide performed campaign work for Comer during state time by posting on Comer’s Facebook page.

The complaint alleged that Michael Goins, a legislative aide to the House Republicans, posted on Comer’s Facebook page during business hours about campaign events. And the complaint questions whether Goins has been involved in the campaign as part Blue Sky Communications, which is owned by his wife Beth Goins. Blue Sky has been consulting with Comer’s campaign for agriculture.

Comer told Pure Politics that he was asking the Legislative Ethics Commission to investigate whether the Farmer campaign filed a false complaint because it didn’t include adequate evidence.

The General Assembly changed the law in 2008 to make it a misdemeanor for someone to knowingly file a false ethics complaint.

Brian Wright, spokesman for Farmer’s campaign, said the campaign will be filing an additional paperwork with the ethics commission today.

“The Bob Farmer campaign will be filing an amended complaint to include retrieved Facebook postings from Michael Goins and an altered Facebook posting from James Comer,” Wright said.

But the crux of Farmer’s complaint is that Goins was doing paid campaign work on state time.

But Goins didn’t receive money from Comer’s campaign, according to campaign finance reports Comer has filed. Comer’s campaign paid a total of $2,575 to Blue Sky for design work and consultant and another $14,092 to use for ad purchases, according to a review of those campaign finance reports.

Beth Goins is listed as the only officer of Blue Sky, according to filings from the Secretary of State’s office.

Michael Goins is listed as an organizer and registered agent.

The Lexington lawyer who filed the original complaint for Farmer’s campaign, Franklin Paisley, told Pure Politics that he didn’t have proof that any Facebook postings on Comer’s page by Blue Sky Communications were made by Michael Goins.

“How do you know it wasn’t Michael?” he asked in response.

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