Westerfield taking heat for attorney general budget flub

03/04/2015 04:17 PM

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield is finding out firsthand how politics can creep into a legislative session during an election year.

Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican and candidate for attorney general, found himself having to answer questions about the office he would like to represent on the floor of the Senate last week. The legislation, SB 118, ,Westerfield proposes would limit the ability of the attorney general’s office to contract outside law firms to represent the state.

The problem: At the time Westerfield said he didn’t know the operating budget for the office he wants to run.

The story was first reported by The Courier Journal on Wednesday.

In the video below, Westerfield comes back to the point after the discussion telling Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, that the operating budget for the office is $31 million.

“My mind is occupied with the job that I have — not the job that I want to have later,” Westerfield said.

The interaction on the Senate floor is certain to haunt Westerfield as he moves into the campaign for the office.

Galia Slayen, spokeswoman for Democratic attorney general candidate Andy Beshear, called into question Westerfield’s candidacy in remarks to Pure Politics on Wednesday.

“First he couldn’t file his financial disclosure paperwork on time, now he admits he doesn’t even know the budget of the office he is seeking,” Slayen said. “If Westerfield were to govern the way he is campaigning, the people of Kentucky are in serious trouble.”

Westerfield took a swipe at Beshear with the publicized release of his financial disclosures which was dated February 18, despite the document being due on February 15.

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