Gov. Beshear sues Kentucky Legislative Research Commission over ethics bill

Posted at 5:30 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 17:30:25-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit against the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission over House Bill 344.

The Commissions include:

  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
  • Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams
  • Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball
  • Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon
  • Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky Ryan Quarles
  • Executive Director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission Susan Stokely Clary

Gov. Beshear, along with David Karem, Member and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, are filing a temporary and permanent injunction against the defendants included in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is over House Bill 334, a bill that removes the governor's ability to make all appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Other state leaders can make the appointments, all of which are currently held by Republicans. According to the lawsuit, Karem was removed as an EBEC member before the end of his term.

In a statement Adams shared Thursday afternoon, he says the lawsuit is "unexpected" and pertains to House Bill 334, "a good-government bill that prevents a governor from stacking the ethics commission with his cronies by allocating appointments among the constitutional officers."

"I was disappointed in 2020 when the Governor vetoed emergency legislation to allow us to work together to save the election. Thank God he was overridden; I shudder to think what would have happened had his reckless act stood.

I was disappointed this year when the Governor vetoed a bipartisan election reform bill that every Democratic senator and most Democratic representatives voted for. Now I'm disappointed by his lawsuit to stop Democratic and Republican ethics appointees from working together.

The Governor is at his best on the occasions when he comes out of his partisan bunker, recognizes we are a two-party state, and treats others with respect. Vetoes and lawsuits, no matter how numerous, are not governing."
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams

The Governor's Office did not comment on the lawsuit.

Read the lawsuit below: