Williams says he vetted Richie Farmer 'in every way that I could' but didn't find wrongdoing

06/08/2012 07:57 AM

David Williams said he vetted Richie Farmer “in every way that I could” when he chose Farmer as his running mate for last year’s governor’s race but didn’t discover the improprieties in Farmer’s Agriculture Department.

Williams said on Pure Politics this week that he didn’t request Ag Departments records through Open Records Requests the way journalists do because “I had no reason to.” (2:55) And “you’ve got to know what you’re looking for,” Williams added.

During last year’s governor’s race, the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Farmer approved purchases for the department of appliances, such as a mini fridge, that could not be accounted for. In April, a state audit revealed that Farmer used the department’s resources for personal gain, including having state employees build a basketball court at his home and taking him hunting on state time.

“I don’t think any of that is right … and I think those things need to be addressed,” Williams said. (1:50). “If there’s any wrongdoing, they should be investigated with the ethics commission or any other agency that’s appropriate.” Law enforcement agencies are currently reviewing the audit.

Williams said he encouraged newly-elected Republican Agriculture James Comer to call for an audit of the department.

“I said, ‘I think that’s an excellent idea to have an audit, to have a fresh start over there,’” Williams said he told Comer.

And Williams said Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, was an obvious choice as a running mate for any Republican candidate for governor. And he said Farmer didn’t receive any promise of financial benefit for joining the 2011 GOP ticket.

“He was a rock star as far as the ag cabinet is concerned,” he said. “None of these things had come out. I wasn’t aware of them.”


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