Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Richie Farmer charged with 42 ethics violations
Richie Farmer was charged with 42 ethics violations Monday – a record number of counts that allege he repeatedly put his personal interest above that of the public during his 2003-11 tenure as Kentucky‘s agriculture commissioner.
The Executive Branch Ethics Commission returned the charges after a 10-month investigation that stemmed from a scathing report issued April 30, 2012, by State Auditor Adam Edelen on Farmer‘s years as agriculture commissioner.
The popular former University of Kentucky basketball player and lieutenant governor candidate was accused in a state audit last year of using Department of Agriculture employees to take him hunting and shopping, mow his yard and chauffeur his dog.
The ethics process calls for the charges to go before a hearing officer, who will take evidence and make a recommendation back to the ethics commission, which finally decides whether a violation occurred. That process could take months.
If the commission finds Farmer guilty it can impose a fine of up to $5,000 per count.
The ethics commission was established by the General Assembly in 1992. Before Monday, the most counts the commission returned against an individual was14 against an attorney who worked in the state Labor Cabinet.
But its most high-profile case charged Gov. Paul Patton in 2003 with four counts stemming from his affair with Tina Conner.
Like many ethics cases, Patton’s was settled before it went to a hearing – admitting to two charges that he improperly intervened to help Conner’s construction business and help a friend of Conner get a state government promotion.
Patton insisted, however, he had done nothing wrong and settled the case during his last month as governor in 2003 because “I need to move on.”
Source: The Courier Journal “Richie Farmer charged with 42 ethics violations,” March 18, 2013.