Thursday, July 20, 2000

Official: Reinstate election charges

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — The 1995 election is long over; in fact, Gov. Paul Patton won a second term in 1999. The campaign finance laws, tried for the first time in 1995, have been changed.

        Yet there are unanswered questions about whether Mr. Patton subverted the first experiment with public financing of elections in Kentucky in his victory over Republican Larry Forgy.

        And the way to resolve the questions, Assistant Attorney General Janet Graham told the Court of Appeals Wednesday, is to try Mr. Patton's campaign manager, Andrew “Skipper” Martin; his labor liaison, Danny Ross; and two Teamsters Union officials that a special grand jury charged with violating the law.

        Ms. Graham said special Franklin County Circuit Court Judge William Trude Jr. should not have thrown out the indictments last year when he ruled that the 1995 election finance law was unconstitutional because it was too broad and too vague. Ms. Graham said Judge Trude's ruling itself is too broad.

        The race between Messrs. Patton and Forgy, decided by less than 5 percent of the vote, was the first in which candidates agreed to limit total spending to $1.8 million in exchange for getting two-thirds of that money in a state subsidy.

        The spending limit also applied to what the statute defined as coordinated expenditures by others on behalf of a candidate.

        The indictment basically alleged that when the Teamsters hired Mr. Ross to coordinate their own efforts to get union members to vote, it was done in concert with the Patton campaign, run by Mr. Martin. Mr. Ross had been a member of Mr. Patton's staff immediately before going to work for the Teamsters and returned to the Patton staff right after the election.


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