Of course, they didn’t listen, and the results of that election are history. Steve Beshear was not a popular governor and was a weak candidate, and his running mate Jerry Abramson wasn’t popular across the state. But the Williams/Farmer ticket managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the general election. They flamed out in grand style, losing by a whopping 21 percent, largely because some of Richie Farmer’s misdeeds as our Commissioner of Agriculture started coming to light during the election. The 150 page audit results have now been announced, and there is much shame for Richie Farmer, and one would think, for the establishment Republican party members who kept insisting that Richie Farmer was a great guy who was worthy of our political support.
The audit describes an over-the-top culture of elitist abuse and self appointed privilege, and a mountain of malfeasance with our tax dollars. We had already heard about the fleet of SUVs, lavish junkets, disappearing refrigerators and laptop PCs and high end big screen TVs. Now we’re hearing some of the details. The TVs were purchased and parts were expedited so Richie Farmer could watch the NCAA championships. Farmer’s ex-wife was using one of the refrigerators at her place of business. The auditor recovered that fridge. Farmer had several laptop PCs for his own personal use, and didn’t return all of them. Farmer had state employees build a basketball court in his back yard and the state paid them to do it. State employees were used to chauffeur Richie’s dog.
Farmer spent $96,000 on a conference that was to have about 200 attendees, including the purchase of some fairly lavish gifts such as mall shopping cards, cigar boxes, watches, rifles, and rifle cases. Farmer took most of those redneck shopping spree gifts home after the conference, including 13 rifles! Transferring a new rifle requires a federal BATFE form 4473 to verify that the recipient can legally own the firearm. Stealing rifles purchased with tax dollars is different from stealing dorm fridges or PCs. It’s uncertain how the firearms were transferred and whether the federal paperwork was completed as required. Farmer has since returned seven of the 13 rifles. Where are the other six rifles? Did any of these firearms transfers constitute a straw purchase?
Farmer had a state employee drive him, in his state provided SUV, to go hunting. Farmer shot a deer from the vehicle, which is illegal in Kentucky. Farmer had the employee field dress the deer for him while the employee was on the clock.
The audit took longer than expected because of the large number of improprieties and illegalities. All in all, there is a very long string of abuses, excesses and violations of state laws and possibly federal laws.
I’m not holding my breath for anyone from the RPK establishment to admit that Phil Moffett and Mike Harmon would have been much better candidates than David Williams and the running mate that he chose, Richie Farmer.