FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andy Beshear endorsed term limits and a lifetime lobbying ban for Kentucky lawmakers in releasing an ethics plan for state government Tuesday.
Beshear’s proposal includes financial disclosure provisions and pay restrictions that take a dig at incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
Republicans responded that Beshear, the state’s attorney general, lacks credibility in promoting tougher ethics standards, noting that his former top deputy in the AG’s office went to prison for a kickback and bribery scheme, which never directly implicated Beshear.
Beshear’s term-limits proposal calls for restricting state representatives to four consecutive terms and state senators to two terms — equaling eight years for members of both chambers.
Beshear supports amending the state’s Constitution — through a ballot measure voted on by Kentuckians — to impose legislative term limits. Fifteen states have legislative term limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kentucky’s statewide elected officials are limited to two consecutive four-year terms.
A lifetime lobbying ban, he said, would end a “revolving door” in which ex-legislators lobby former colleagues on behalf of special interests. Under state law, lawmakers now have to wait two years after leaving office before registering as legislative lobbyists, unless it’s for a public agency.
Beshear’s ethics plan also calls for strengthening financial disclosures — including requiring governors and candidates seeking the office to release their tax returns. Bevin, his opponent in November, has declined to reveal his tax returns.
“Kentuckians deserve to have confidence in our elected leaders,” Beshear said in a release. “Our people should know that Frankfort is working to solve the challenges they’re facing — not furthering the self-interests of lobbyists and insiders.”
State GOP spokesman Mike Lonergan responded that Beshear’s ethics plan has “zero credibility,” slamming Beshear for the scandal involving his former top deputy in the AG’s office — Tim Longmeyer.
“Kentuckians can’t trust a word Andy Beshear says,” Lonergan said in a statement. “If he wants real ethics reform, he should start with his own office.”
Longmeyer was sent to prison in 2016 for a kickback scheme that netted him more than $200,000. He previously worked in the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear, who is Andy Beshear’s father.