Auditor candidate Adam Edelen says donations won't sway him

12/03/2010 07:22 PM

Democratic candidate for state auditor Adam Edelen last month touted the $250,000 he had raised in the first six weeks of the campaign.

Edelen’s donors won’t be revealed until he and other candidates file their reports with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance at the end of the year. But he said he has received checks from business leaders and people he has met through government, including his stint as chief of staff to Gov. Steve Beshear.

Edelen said on Pure Politics Friday that he didn’t know if he received money from any local officials whom he could have to audit if he’s elected. But he insisted it wouldn’t affect his work if he did.

“Let me be clear: Any dollar that is contributed to my campaign will have no effect on the kind of administration we run,” he said. “… We will show no fear or no favor to anyone.”

Edelen might be on a record fund-raising pace, but he hasn’t quite set a primary record for running for auditor. Current Auditor Crit Luallen, who is limited by the state’s constitution from seeking a third term, raised $340,609 in the 2003 Democratic primary.

Edelen said he’s not worried about being unpopular with the work the auditor’s office sometimes undertakes.

“This is not a stepping-stone office,” he said. He said he has no ambitions “immediately” beyond running for auditor.

Edelen also responded to questions about some flap he took over a business partnership with lobbyist Bob Babbage and former administration official Ralph Coldiron. Edelen disclosed his interest in the development company on his required personal financial forms he had to file with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission while working for Beshear, as reported by John Cheves of the Herald-Leader in January 2009.

But he took some public criticism at the time — although the Ethics Commission said he did nothing improper — for not disclosing that Babbage was one of the partners in that company. Babbage lobbies the Kentucky executive branch agencies on behalf of a long list of clients, including Insight Communications, which is the parent company of cn|2.

“In retrospect, I absolutely wish that I had included Babbage’s name. But that was not the level of expectation that came with that form,” Edelen said.

Also in the wide-ranging interview on Pure Politics, Edelen weighed in on Luallen’s latest audit of the Passport Health Plan, which has a contract with the state to provide health coverage to the poor and disabled in the Louisville metro area. The audit found that Passport spent excessively on lobbying, travel and entertainment.

Edelen was among many officials and lawmakers who last spring had expressed support for the work Passport was doing when Democratic Sen. Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville requested that Luallen’s office review the program’s finances.

- Ryan Alessi


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