RSLC again targets Speaker Stumbo, this time over 2005 pension "greed bill"

10/25/2016 12:46 PM

The Republican State Leadership Committee is again taking aim at House Speaker Greg Stumbo on television and radio airwaves, launching ads questioning his public pension.

The 30-second TV spot, airing in Stumbo’s 95th House District covering Floyd County and part of Pike, relies on a study by the conservative Bluegrass Institute, a free-market think tank based in Bowling Green, on the effects of House Bill 299 after it passed in 2005.

That legislation, dubbed the “greed bill,” allows lawmakers to count their years of service in the General Assembly toward their public retirement if they accept higher-paying positions in other branches of government.

The pension for Stumbo, a former attorney general who earned $110,346 in that role, was estimated at $1.24 million over his lifetime, according to a 2012 report authored by Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters. Pensions are exempt from the state’s open records laws.

The RSLC ad begins by comparing Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who “got rich profiting from public service.”

“So is Greg Stumbo,” a male narrator says. “It’s called the greed bill, and Greg Stumbo is cashing in. Six-figure salary. Million-dollar retirement for life for Stumbo on you.”

The spot can be viewed here:

RSLC President Matt Walter said that Stumbo “has left a Kentucky law in place that bankrolls his hefty retirement plan at the same time the state’s teachers’ pension fund teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.”

“Protecting his own pocket remains his priority,” Walter said in a statement. “How does he explain this excessive greed to the hardworking taxpayers who are struggling in his district? Like Hillary Clinton, Speaker Stumbo has found a way to cash in on the job he was elected to do. Kentuckians deserve better.”

Stumbo’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. An attorney representing him, Anna Whites, sent WYMT-TV a cease-and-desist letter, calling the RSLC ad “an intentionally false and malicious attempt to link Speaker Stumbo with a Senate bill amendment with which he had no connection.”

“As Attorney General, Speaker Stumbo was not a legislator and did not vote for the passage of any bills,” Whites wrote. “… The negative nickname for the bill is used in the advertisement in a knowing attempt to create ill will toward Stumbo in the viewing public. This is clearly defamatory as a matter of law and must result in the ad immediately being removed from the airwaves.”

The cease-and-desist letter can be downloaded here: Stumbo RSLC Cease and Desist.pdf

On his re-election Facebook page, Stumbo had copies of his legislative compensation posted to show that he did not earn six figures as a lawmaker.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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