Super PAC ad aims at Moore for KACo trip and Webb-Edgington for missing key votes

05/16/2012 09:38 PM

(UPDATED 11:47 p.m.) The outside Super PAC Liberty for All changed its ads on behalf of 4th District Republican candidate Thomas Massie by going after two of Massie’s rivals in the seven-candidate race, Gary Moore and Alecia Webb-Edgington.

The ad criticizes Webb-Edgington, a state representative from Fort Wright, for missing “key votes” to attend a fundraiser. Indeed, Webb-Edgington has acknowledged that she was at a Shelbyville fundraiser the evening of March 30 when her colleagues in the House gave voted to give final approval to the state’s $19 billion budget. Webb-Edgington later filed her vote, which was a “No.” The day before, she missed votes on other bills while she travelled to Washington, D.C., for meetings. Her campaign finance report shows she raised $2,350 from individuals in the Washington area on March 29.

The ad also jabs at Moore, saying he “used taxpayer dollars for meals in Hawaii” — a reference to a 2005 National Association of Counties conference. The total Moore charged to the county was $147.73 for that trip. (See detailed account below.)

Here’s the ad:

The commercial’s claim about spending in Hawaii cites a July 23, 2009, article I wrote for the Lexington Herald-Leader. It was one of many follow-ups on an investigation into spending by KACo, the quasi-governmental organization that provides legal advice and sells insurance and bonds for Kentucky’s 120 county governments.

In 2005, Moore attended a National Association of Counties conference in Hawaii. KACo didn’t keep records that were older than July 2006 at the time of the Herald-Leader’s investigation into the organization’s spending.

But in response from criticism from County Commissioner Cathy Flaig — who challenged Moore in the 2010 GOP primary for judge-executive — Moore sent a statement saying he didn’t use KACo resources to fly to the conference or eat. Here’s what the article says:

Moore said in a statement that he flew to Hawaii for that trip on his personal sky-miles and billed some meals to the county, while paying out of pocket for others.

The ad’s claim is technically factual by Moore’s own admission in the 2009 statement. However, the trip was related to county business.

Preston Bates, executive director of the Liberty for All Super PAC, said in a phone interview that taxpayers should take issue with any of their government’s money being spent on a Hawaiian trip.

After looking through receipts at the Boone County courthouse on Wednesday night after the ad became public, Moore found receipts totaling $147.73 for the week.

“A misguided 21-year-old kid drives all the way from Texas and throws half a million dollars to attack Gary Moore for a couple breakfasts and lunch reimbursements. This is not Little Rascals with Alfalfa and Darla chasing around the gang, this is a congressional race,” said Jonathan Duke, Moore’s campaign manager. “Gary Moore has a jobs plan. America and the 4th District need one. And Gary Moore is committed to talking to real issues with Kentucky voters. We have said the last word on this feckless and this misleading attack.”

Liberty for All, a libertarian-leaning Super PAC, has spent more than $540,000 on ads to back Massie, the Lewis County judge-executive, in the GOP primary. FEC records show the first $199,000 of that money has come from the group’s founder, John Ramsey, who lists himself as a self-employed student. His family operates a real estate investment business.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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