Kentucky GOP accuses AG Beshear of pay-to-play; Firm awarded contingency contract hosting fundraiser

By Record News | Sep 28, 2018

FRANKFORT- The Republican Party of Kentucky is accusing Democrat Attorney General Andy Beshear of engaging in "pay-to-play" politics in his campaign for governor due to his close ties to a law firm the AG hired on a contingency fee basis to pursue opioid litigation.

Lawyers for that firm - Morgan and Morgan, a national personal injury firm with offices in Lexington - is hosting a fundraiser for Beshear Friday night in Versailles with admission ranging from $250 up to $2,000.

The event is taking place at the home of partner of Jonathan Rabinowitz. Other Morgan and Morgan attorneys, Mike Morgan and former Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, are co-hosts.

According to a release from the state GOP, the law firm is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit between Beshear and current Gov. Matt Bevin, Republican. 

In 2017, Beshear awarded Morgan and Morgan a contingency contract to go after opioid manufacturers and distributors. However, by a bi-partisan vote of 7-1, the General Assembly’s Contract Review Committee recommended nullifying the contract, the release states.

State Sen. Steve Meredith (R-Leitchfield), had called the contract “potentially one of the largest payouts to a law firm in the history of this state.”  

The state’s Finance Cabinet followed the committee’s recommendation and cancelled the contract. 

In response, Beshear sued the General Assembly and Governor’s office, claiming neither have the power to regulate the contracts he awards, the release states.    

The suit is scheduled to go before the State Supreme Court next month where Beshear will be fighting for his right to grant lucrative contracts to campaign donors with no Legislative or Executive Branch oversight. 

“For an Attorney General’s office that has already had a pay-to-play bribery scheme exposed and prosecuted in Federal court to so openly flaunt its corruption in this manner is insane,” stated Republican Party of Kentuck communications Director Tres Watson. 

In response to the terms of the contract, Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville) sponsored and helped pass HB 198, which sets a cap of $20 million in contingency-fees for any state legal contract.  The Morgan and Morgan contract has no cap on fees.  

“Andy Beshear is being rewarded with campaign donations for protecting a ludicrous contract against standard State oversight,” Watson stated.  “Kentucky deserves better in an Attorney General and better in a Governor than someone like Andy Beshear who routinely participates in these sorts of corrupt practices.” 

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Kentucky Attorney General's Office Morgan&Morgan

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