Clear Violation

By Richard Nelson

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August 23, 2015

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In 2007, former Kentucky attorney general and current Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo filed a suit against former Governor Ernie Fletcher over a “clear violation” of the law. The violation? The state's public university boards were becoming too Republican-heavy. Fletcher's successor, current Governor Steve Beshear settled the case and vowed to follow the state's laws concerning the ratio of registered Republicans to Democrats (and vice-versa) on collegiate boards. In 2015, however, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, with these same boards now overloaded with Democrats. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting also found that the current boards of the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are stacked with Democrats who bankrolled Beshear's gubernatorial campaigns. Kentucky law requires the governor's appointees to state university boards reflect the ratio of registered Democrats and Republicans in the state. That ratio currently stands at 52.9 percent Democrat and 39.1 percent Republican, but the UK board consists of 12 Democrats versus just four Republicans, and and seven of the eight KCTCS regents are Democrats. If appointments such as these were worthy of filing suit over in 2007, why has state Attorney General Jack Conway not investigated the matter in 2015? Eight years' passage does not negate a “clear violation” of the law.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center