The state Executive Branch Ethics Commission issued charges of 42 violations of Kentucky’s ethics laws Monday against former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.
John Steffan, executive director of the commission, said it’s the largest number of violations issued by the commission in its history and that each charge carries a potential $5,000 civil fine for a potential total of $210,000.
“We have not seen the misuse of office of this level in the nine years I’ve been commissioner,” Steffan told reporters after the commission issued its report.
The commission’s investigation stems from an audit conducted by state Auditor Adam Edelen and released a year ago. That examination
was conducted at the request of then newly elected Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, like Farmer a Republican, when he assumed
office in January 2012.
The charges cover a long list of alleged abuses including: unethical influence in the creation of job positions; unethical influence in the hiring of other positions; misuse of state employees and employees’ time; misuse of state resources; using state employees to perform personal work; soliciting donations from regulated entities doing business with the Department of Agriculture to pay for a convention of secretaries of state; misuse of grant funds; and improper use of “Kentucky Proud” marketing funds and products.
Read more of this story in Tuesday's print or e-Edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.