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KDP Files Ethics Complaint, Calls for Audit and AG Investigation Into Out-Of-Control Richie Farmer

Equipped with overwhelming evidence that Richie Farmer is running amok wasting taxpayer dollars on personal luxuries, the Kentucky Democratic Party today filed an ethics complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, and further called on both Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen and Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate Farmer’s inappropriate – and perhaps illegal – spending.

“Richie Farmer clearly sees the taxpayer dollars that fund the Department of Agriculture as his own personal slush fund – used to buy cars, Caribbean trips, hotel suites, candy, and now, appliances for his own home,” Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon said. “Commissioner Farmer and his rampant abuse of taxpayer dollars for his personal benefit must be stopped.”

This decision was prompted by the recent revelation, made via an anonymous email and confirmed by Commissioner Farmer’s office to the Louisville Courier-Journal, that Farmer ordered an employee, after regular work hours, to use a taxpayer-funded credit card to purchase a refrigerator and deliver it immediately to Farmer’s home. This refrigerator remained there for 16 months until Farmer moved out, and at some later point it was allegedly relocated to Department of Agriculture offices. It was also reported that in August 2010, another employee made a separate purchase of an identical refrigerator for Farmer’s office. One of these refrigerators is now missing.

Commissioner Farmer’s past abuse of taxpayer dollars are well-documented, including his:

  • Failure to report personal miles on his state vehicle for eight years [Herald Leader, 5/4/11]; Use of $1,600 of taxpayer funds to stay in a hotel suite just 24 miles from his home [Courier Journal, 4/22/11]; Eight-day Caribbean vacation along with three aides and their families, costing taxpayers nearly $10,000 [Herald-Leader, 10/17/10];
  • Purchase of several new vehicles for his Department, including a $35,340 Chevy Suburban for his own use [Herald Leader, 8/26/10];
  • Decision to give close employees raises while the rest of government faced furloughs and pay cuts [Herald Leader, 12/3/10].

“These new allegations are serious, and given Commissioner Farmer’s serial abuse of taxpayer dollars, an audit and investigation are warranted,” Logsdon said. “Richie Farmer ought to be held accountable for his outrageous behavior.”

The complaint to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission can be viewed here; the letters to Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen and Attorney General Jack Conway can be viewed here and here.