In any normal political environment, a newly elected governor should be basking in the glow of victory and prioritizing how best to spend their political capital to help the residents of his state. For Republican Matt Bevin, the man who has been Kentucky governor for roughly a month, besides spending whatever political capital he has to repay the extremist religious right, he is facing a petition for impeachment. It is not an auspicious start for any elected official.
If Kentucky had a provision on the books for a recall election, Bevin would certainly be facing one, but the only available redress for Kentucky residents is appealing to the Kentucky State Senate to remove Bevin from office; thus the petition based on a 1991 Kentucky Legislative Research Commission regarding the impeachment, removal from office, process.
Kentucky voters have a slew of issues with Bevin, and besides revealing his fealty to the extremist religious right by immediately attacking Planned Parenthood as his first official act as governor there are serious allegations regarding Bevin’s ethics. The initiation of the impeachment process is actually not as much about Planned Parenthood as it is Bevin “taking a sledgehammer to several cabinets and laws” under the guise of “the budget.”
Bevin had already irked middle class and poor Kentucky residents for promising to first end, and then “just overhaul,” Medicaid that was “expanded” under the previous administration. The citizens of Kentucky want to keep the Medicaid expansion they claim is a lifesaving provision for the poor and least advantaged Kentuckians. As an ardent Southern Baptist, Bevin is seeking any possible way to restrict access to Medicaid because he opposes healthcare for the poor even when the federal government picks up the tab. One of his plans is forcing people in poverty to pay for Medicaid services.
Among the Kentuckians’ complaints against Governor Bevin is that he is desperately attempting to change laws that will allow him to be legally unethical and corrupt. One of the petition’s charges is,
“Kentucky State Governor Matt Bevin has introduced cuts to the committees for ethics investigations and elections oversight. These budget cuts disallow the committees to oversee the ethics of the Governor’s office.”
According to WKYT reporting, the committees Bevin is, for all intents and purposes, ending are all watch dog agencies.
“The executive director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission said the 4.5 percent cuts this year by Matt Bevin, and 9 percent the next two years devastate the agency. It would force the director to lay off the agency’s sole investigator and auditor, two employees who already work part time.”
The petition also cites the pressing need for an investigation, and formal recount, in the election in which Bevin trailed badly, but won handily. Bevin was accused of election fraud after the suspicious results were in and cutting the Executive Branch Ethics Commission puts an end to any investigation or recount before they can be initiated. It is good to be governor in a state where not only is there no recall provision, but now there is no commission to investigate ethics or election violations by the Executive Branch. The petition calls for Bevin’s removal if any corruption is found; something that will never happen without an agency to launch an investigation.
The petition’s citing election fraud is likely referring to a November 3, 2015 account in the Kentucky Magazine stating the following about Bevin’s stunning 15-point turnaround in one day to easily win an election he trailed badly in.
“By 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, the Kentucky Attorney General’s vote fraud hotline had received 52 complaints from 27 different counties. The Office of the Attorney General, by law, cannot provide details of specific complaints or possible pending investigations.” With a governor shutting down investigative agencies, the idea of “providing details about the complaints” is just as dead as are any hopes of “possible pending investigations.”
In addition to attacking women’s health care due to his religion, according to Louisville Insider “Bevin has been ruthlessly closing down other programs that improve the state of Kentucky; already well-known for being one of the hardest states to live in the entire United States according to the New York Times.”
Besides “taking an ax to several key Kentucky offices” in the past couple of weeks, Kentucky residents are enraged about changes Bevin is making in the education budget. According to Democratic Representative Kelly Flood,
“The amount of cuts that have been proposed are not sustainable and definitely will impact the classroom experience — and that’s something that the House will ensure doesn’t happen.”
Petitions are slow, and it would not be surprising if one of the laws Bevin will abolish is one allowing a citizen’s petition to the state senate for his removal from office. However, Kentucky voters may discover that they have an “unlikely Republican ally to get Matt Bevin out of office.”
It appears that Kentucky resident and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still angry at Bevin from McConnell’s re-election campaign in 2014. Bevin, a tea party purist and Senate Conservative Fund favorite attacked McConnell mercilessly for supporting the 2008 financial sector bailout and for requesting stimulus funds from President Obama to help Kentucky residents. Bevin is as much a nasty conservative purist as he is an extremist evangelical teabagger.
The likelihood of Bevin being removed from office is nearly non-existent; he saw to that in less than a month in office. However, one could hope that Kentucky residents would wake up and comprehend that just because a Republican uses their religion, and the vaunted fetus, to win an election they badly trailed in, there are serious repercussions the minute they are sworn in office. In Bevin’s case, after attacking women’s healthcare, his first act was eliminating the agencies tasked with making sure Kentucky’s governor is not unethical; voters should have known Bevin was unethical according to his party affiliation