GOP attorney general candidate Whitney Westerfield publishes financial disclosures

02/23/2015 04:47 PM

Republican attorney general candidate Whitney Westerfield is releasing his financial disclosures and taking a swipe at the Democratic candidate Andy Beshear.

Westerfield, a Hopkinsville attorney and state senator, faces Lawrence County attorney Mike Hogan in the May primary, but Westerfield has his sights set on Beshear.

In a press release, Westerfield said he is keeping his promise to increase transparency in government by releasing his legislative and campaign financial disclosures, and he issued a challenge to his opponents to do the same.

“As both a State Senator and candidate for the office of Attorney General, I have pledged to bring transparency to state government,” Westerfield said in a statement. “I am keeping the promise to increase transparency by starting with the public release of my financial disclosures, and I challenge my opponents to do the same.”

All elected officials and candidates are required to submit financial disclosures. Westerfield’s and other lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms are posted online by the Legislative Ethics Commission, but statewide candidate disclosures submitted to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission are not available online.

These disclosures are intended to prevent corruption or conflicts of interests between an official’s public duties and private interests.

Westerfield’s financial disclosure forms are posted on his campaign website.

Signaling a fall attack strategy, Westerfield’s press release says transparency will be a major issue in the November election because of clients Beshear’s firm, Stites & Harbison, has represented against the commonwealth.

The firm, for instance, is one of several representing pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma manufactures the painkiller Oxycontin, which has proven to be addictive, and the state has been in a eight-year lawsuit over the marketing of the drug to Kentucky doctors. Beshear is not one of the firm’s primary lawyers listed on that case, according to court filings.

In an interview with Pure Politics recently, Westerfield called into question the conflicts that Beshear’s clients could pose to the son of the governor if he were in office.

The Kentucky Bar Association’s Ethics Hotline does create a form of safe harbor for a transitioning attorney general. A candidate making a transition from private to public life can request a letter of guidance in instances ethical dilemmas, such as litigating cases against former clients or colleagues.

In 2013, Beshear told Pure Politics that, if elected, he would follow the procedures outlined by the Kentucky Bar Association.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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