The Democratic contest for the U.S. Senate is very close, and, predictably, it’s getting nasty. But some of the mud that Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo is throwing at Attorney General Jack Conway is over the top.
Chief among these is the allegation that Conway behaved unethically by accepting campaign contributions from utility company executives and their lobbyists. Mongiardo declares that Conway personally approved saddling Kentucky rate-payers with more than $120 million in increases.
The fact is this: The attorney general of Kentucky doesn’t approve rate increases. That is the role of the state’s Public Service Commission. The attorney general’s office can intervene, when it feels that increases are out of line, and Conway has done precisely that. Indeed, he contends that he has saved rate-payers more than $100 million.
Two former attorneys general — U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler and House Speaker Greg Stumbo — have come to Conway’s defense, calling Mongiardo’s attacks “baseless.”
Undeterred, the lieutenant governor has filed a complaint with the state Executive Branch Ethics Commission, which meets for the next time just four days before the primary. That means his campaign can keep throwing this slop at Conway before there is any resolution.
This is outrageous, and voters should see through the ploy. They also should pay attention to some of the legitimate issues Conway has raised about the lieutenant governor. For instance, Mongiardo has taken more than four times as much money for travel from state coff ers than Conway has. He’s taken the $30,000-a-year living allowance that the state provides for the lieutenant governor and used it to help buy a $700,000 “farmhouse” and property in Franklin County that was intended to be developed.
But what voters really should be paying attention to are the candidates’ positions on the issues. We found Conway to be clearly superior on this score and better suited to serve Kentucky in the Senate.
Mongiardo has strengths, too, but at the moment they are camoufl aged by his deceitful campaign attacks.
— The Courier-Journal, Louisville