Committee investigating Governor Bevin "open minded" at first meeting

KY House committee investigating Gov. Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Kentucky House committee, led by a Louisville lawmaker, is investigating Governor Matt Bevin. The House Investigatory Committee on Executive Action held their first hearing Friday in La Rue County.

Representative Jim Wayne is chairing the committee. The Democrat State Representative from Louisville's 35th District said there are hearings planned for the next two Fridays with hopes of wrapping up this work soon. That puts a possible decision just before Election Day when voters will decide who controls the House.

The only witness on day one was an investigator for Speaker Greg Stumbo who set a timeline of events.

“And the Governor said, ‘if you don't switch parties I'll do everything in my power to get you beat and take you down’”, said Matt Stephens, Legal Counsel for Speaker Stumbo.

At question before the Committee on Executive Action is a Central Kentucky road project. Some suggest that it was canceled after a meeting between a democratic lawmaker and Governor Matt Bevin in which Bevin is accused of threatening retaliation if the lawmaker did not switch parties.

The switch didn't happen and the project was canceled.
Still, Kentucky had to pay more than 600-thousand dollars due to a contractual agreement with the firm set to build the road.

Chairman Wayne insists that his 3 democrats, 1 republican panel is open minded.

“So even calling that some type of retaliation, I think, is something that at this stage is way too early to accuse anybody of that or consider that as an issue in itself. It needs to be examined,” said Representative Wayne.

Wayne insisted that facts will lead the way, not politics.

“Well, the issue that the Speaker presents to us,” said Wayne, “Is an issue that we have been asked to examine. That doesn't mean that we agree with the Speaker or his conclusions or any speculation that he may have. We're going to look at the cold facts and if the cold facts lead to something that needs further investigation by either the House or another legal entity then we will take appropriate action. If the cold facts don't lead anywhere, and they are what they are, and things were done in a routine fashion then we'll close the door on the committee and walk out, we won't take any further action.”

There's an open seat on the Committee since another republican who Speaker Stumbo appointed has refused to take part. Representative Wayne said there is an open invitation to House Republicans to fill that seat.

The committee is expected to begin calling witnesses next week and has subpoena power.

Representative Wayne hopes to have their worked wrapped up in a matter of a few weeks.


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