Stumbo's upset

Published:

The Paducah Sun

Democrats in Frankfort are giving Gov. Ernie Fletchers proposed budget generally favorable reviews, but Attorney General Greg Stumbo is a vocal dissenter. The states chief investigator of Republican patronage is upset about what he says are cuts in the budget of his office.

Fletcher wants to impose some belt-tightening on the executive branch, including the attorney generals office. The governors two-year spending plan reduces Stumbos budget by about 3 percent.

Stumbo took time out from his investigation of the Fletcher administrations hiring practices to complain that the governor was abusing crime victims, consumers and senior citizens. These groups will be more vulnerable to Medicaid fraud and other crimes if his office has to make do with less money, Stumbo said. ...

Stumbo has poured his offices resources into the probe, which began in May and has so far produced indictments against 11 current and former Fletcher administration officials and two state Republican Party officials. Most of the charges involve misdemeanor violations of the states long-ignored Merit System law.

All the charges were rendered moot by the blanket pardon the governor issued last summer. But the hiring probe is still ongoing, with no end in sight. ...

Obviously, this investigation is costing the taxpayers a considerable amount of money money that could go to enforcement of state laws against Medicaid fraud, consumer fraud and other crime problems that have commanded the attention of previous occupants of the attorney generals office. ...

If Stumbo is so concerned about fraud victims, he will find the resources to go after the victimizers, even if it means giving up some of the fun of prosecuting Republicans. And if he thinks fighting the states drug problem is a top priority, hell assign more Kentucky Bureau of Investigation agents to that task and fewer to delivering subpoenas to state officials.

Hell be consigned to the inside pages of the states newspapers if he concentrates on drug crimes and fraud. But Stumbo might discover that Kentuckians are more concerned about those crimes than they are about petty political machinations in Frankfort.

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