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

05/16/2012 10:38 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 has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or ryan.alessi@twcnews.com.

Comments

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on May 17, 2012 07:23 AM :

    Shrewd campaigning this is. If Massie’s opponents don’t turn 100% of their remaining resources to explaining what’s wrong with Massie then they are all doomed. Complaining about a rich punk from Texas who hates government but actually attends a state government funded university may not cut the mustard. The Texan’s name is not on the ballot.

  • Bruce Layne wrote on May 17, 2012 11:39 AM :

    Alecia Webb-Edgington caught a lot of well deserved criticism for campaigning for her next office when she should have been fulfilling her promise to those who elected her to her current office. She explained it away, saying that her votes would not have changed the outcomes, and she filed late votes to cover for her absence when it became a political issue. That completely dodges the issue of her participation in the legislative process. Good legislators represent their constituents and do more than vote. There are committee discussions and committee amendments. When the bill reaches the full body, there is the potential for more discussion and floor amendments. Webb-Edgington is being disingenuous. She knows the process is more than just voting. The legislature could phone in votes from home if that was all that was required. She decided that $2300 in campaign donations and schmoozing with the politically well connected was more important than doing the job she was elected to do.

    As for the ad’s claims about Gary Moore… if all he did was bilk his taxpaying constituents for some meals while vacationing in Hawaii under the guise of a KACO trip, then he should get some kind of special commendation. When other members of KACO were using KACO funds for strip clubs and call girls, Moore looks like a model of good governance by comparison for subsidizing a relatively minor portion of his Hawaiian vacation at taxpayer’s expense. Maybe that’s his idea of being a fiscal conservative?

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