FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Three days after Treasurer Allison Ball discussed her plans, Governor Andy Beshear finally responded on Monday, saying Ball’s “antics” were just electoral politics.
A column by Ball posted on its official state website on Friday sparked political fouls in some corners after Ball suggested that some of the measures taken by Governor Andy Beshear to combat the coronavirus outbreak were inappropriate, if not illegal were.
“That is politics in the worst case. Governor Beshear has worked hard every day to save lives and lead the state through the pandemic. Now Treasurer Ball is abusing government tax dollars and abusing their position by trying to score political points with religion in their official capacity. This is shameful and should be denounced by all Kentuckians, “Kentucky Democratic Party leader Ben Self said in a statement.
The Democrats plan to publish their own report on Ball’s “Conflicts of Interest and Oversight Failure,” and “provide several examples of Ball not being a” watchdog “for Kentucky taxpayers during the Matt Bevin administration.”
“We look forward to providing an important context for Treasurer Ball’s sudden interest in serving as the state’s ‘watchdog’ after years of ignoring corruption, benefiting from conflicts of interest and allowing former Governor Matt Bevin to make tax money like to spend a drunken sailor seeking his own re-election, “said Democratic Party spokeswoman Marisa McNee. “It is time someone blamed her for not protecting the public purse.”
When asked about the subject during his briefing on Monday Beshear said, We have seen this kind of stupid political gimmick before … we are two weeks away from an election, we saw this.
“We were completely transparent to the public from day one … those were difficult decisions, every decision was difficult,” he continued, emphasizing how he was guided by his own beliefs and can hardly be accused of targeting churches.
“We can win this fight if we just love our neighbor,” he concluded.
In a column entitled “Opinion: Crisis of Conscience: Government Suppression of First Amendment During COVID Pandemic,” Ball wrote:
“Every nationally elected official takes an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As your elected Treasurer-Elect, I have the additional responsibility of overseeing all government spending, billions of dollars a year, and ensuring that your tax dollars are not used in ways that are contrary to the constitution.
“In the past few weeks there have been nationwide reports of the Archbishop of San Francisco’s efforts to lift the penalties imposed on churches by the Mayor of San Francisco. In the past few days, the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and other places of worship have increased again by setting a ceiling of 10 and 25 people per service regardless of the size of the church or synagogue. As efforts to protect civil liberties continue in these areas, we must remember that the targeted practice of religious exercises by state and local officials is not limited to the “blue” coastal states.
“Kentucky, whose policies will never be confused with New York or California, has seen several federal courts for its part crush executive ordinances issued by Governor Andy Beshear on the grounds that orders restricting worship, travel, or protest are against the Rules have violated. Kentuckians’ constitutional rights. At any other time in our history, a series of defeats of this magnitude would have met with much greater attention and accountability.
“Because of my role as the public spending watchdog, I have directed my office to review the manner in which taxpayers’ money is being spent in order to enforce the administration’s questionable executive orders related to First Amendment activities. Protecting our Commonwealth and its great citizens need not come at the expense of the first change. It is possible to protect the Commonwealth while respecting and upholding a principle on which this country was founded. My office requested information from a number of health departments in the Commonwealth and received replies from several departments as well as the Kentucky State Police.
“Our investigation found that numerous law enforcement cases have been used to monitor or discontinue faith-based services. derogatory or confrontational comments on religious exercises by executives; and selective, targeted enforcement of bans on mass gatherings in violation of the First Amendment. The actions taken at the local level appear to be directly related to the decisions and tone made by the governor’s government in Frankfurt, which too often has used daily briefings and press releases as an opportunity to belittle or threaten a person or institution the legality and appropriateness of the administrative instructions in question.
“On October 22nd, I will present the results of my office to the Interim Mixed Justice Committee in Frankfurt. This will be an opportunity for lawmakers to reflect on what we’ve uncovered in relation to executive action in the past few months, and for the public to learn more about how taxpayers’ money has been spent on enforcing arbitrary government orders.
“The Kentuckians have established a constitution and laws that require the respect of the first adjustment rights of all citizens regardless of their religious or political beliefs. In the 1930s, as our nation was caught in the economic disaster of the Great Depression and exposed to the rise of dangerous forces around the world, Attorney General Charles Evans Hughes reminded the country that “[t]The constitution was passed at a time of great need. “He remarked astutely that”[e]Mergency does not create power “and the”[e]Mergency does not increase the power granted. “The extraordinary challenges in 2020 do not justify extending the governor’s powers or ignoring the fundamental principles that separate our democracy from failed and oppressive autocratic states around the world.
“The first change must be vigorously defended by all elected officials, especially in emergencies where it is easiest for the government to justify unconstitutional restrictions. I encourage every Kentuckian to continue to demand that our government comply with the Commonwealth Constitution and Laws, and I look forward to continuing to serve the Commonwealth as your Treasurer of State, ”she concluded.
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