Ruling Expected Thursday On Attorney General Probe

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A decision is expected Thursday concerning an effort to launch an ethics investigation of Attorney General Greg Stumbo's office.

Stumbo's lawyers and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission argued at a hearing yesterday that Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate's ruling could have a dramatic impact on future investigations. The dispute revolves around an anonymous, informal complaint sent to the ethics commission and multiple news reporters in late September. It alleged Stumbo and his aides mounted the hiring investigation to advance Stumbo's political career.

Commission attorney John Steffen says if Wingate agrees with Stumbo's office, the ethics commission's ability to investigate alleged misconduct by state employees could be severely limited. Assistant Attorney General Ryan Halloran says if Wingate rules in favor of the ethics commission, a chilling effect will cause the attorney general's office to be less aggressive as it prosecutes government corruption.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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