I still haven’t read the entire 187 page audit describing some of the countless wrongdoings of Richie Farmer as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture, but I’ve read a significant portion of it – all that I could stomach – and I must say that the impact is actually much worse than the brief highlights presented in various news articles. When all of these abuses of power are read in consecutive order, there is a cumulative effect. The details paint a picture that makes it clear that there were not a few isolated lapses in judgment. There was a persistent pattern of entitlement and malfeasance. Farmer seemed to believe that he was special and was above the law, and the world should bend to provide anything he wants just because he’s so awesome.
I’m particularly interested in the stolen rifles. The BATFE 4473 forms showed 13 Remington 770 rifles in a variety of popular hunting calibers transferred to Richie Farmer on June 4th, 2008, and there were good pictures of the seven rifles that he returned on January 17th, 2012, including a closeup of the Department of Agriculture’s “Kentucky Proud” logo engraved into the receiver. Yeah. Irony.
The audit describes 25 rifles purchased even though only 16 would have been needed for the officials from other states who were attending the 2008 SASDA conference. The rifles cost the taxpayer $11,225 and the rifle cases cost $2,124. Including $250 to have a licensed gun dealer attend the SASDA event and transfer the rifles to the out-of-state recipients, Kentucky taxpayers spent $13,599 on the rifles. One of the .300 magnum rifles was specifically ordered to be engraved “#32”, which was Richie Farmer’s jersey number when he played basketball at UK.
A maximum of 16 rifles were needed as gifts if all commissioners attended, yet Farmer ordered 25 rifles in a variety of popular hunting calibers. Only 12 commissioners attended the event, each received a rifle, and Farmer kept the other 13 rifles, which he later picked up at the gun store, where he completed the federal forms to transfer the rifles into his name. That can’t be an accident. Richie Farmer knew the Kentucky taxpayers bought these 13 rifles, scopes and cases. There is federal paperwork proving that Farmer deliberately took possession of them. His signature is on the transfer forms. He couldn’t order a state employee to steal firearms for him by proxy. He’s since returned 6 rifles, leaving 7 rifles still missing and unaccounted.
Farmer also spent $4,678 of our tax money on Case knives. 17 of them were engraved “SASDA” and were apparently distributed at the conference. The other 35 knives were engraved “Compliments of Richie Farmer” and were delivered to Richie Farmer’s house.
There is an unbelievably long string of similar abuses detailed in the audit, with the Kentucky taxpayer buying stuff that Farmer wanted, and the theft from Kentuckians was clearly premeditated.
There is at least $53,000 in state employee salaries that could be directly traced to personal errands and personal work done for Richie Farmer, and probably a lot more that can’t be accounted years afterward.
If you voted for the basketball player and you think you might do something like that again, I urge you to please read as much of the actual audit as you can tolerate before the bile starts backing up in your throat. If this doesn’t offend you, then you are one of the few sociopaths who has what it takes to be a weasel career politician.
If you campaigned for Richie Farmer as late as his doomed 2011 lieutenant governor’s race… please stop. You’re killing our country and making our state the butt of a lot of stupid corrupt hillbilly jokes.
Please think about this audit the next time you go into a voting booth and are reaching for the straight party lever. Don’t you dare pretend you did your civic duty when you are the problem. Mindless voting is more harmful to our society than drunk driving.