Former Ethics Official Says Politics Led To Dismissal Of Compaint

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A decision to end an ethics investigation of Gov. Ernie Fletcher was based on politics, a former member of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission said.

"From my position there have been numerous decisions within the past year which have been partisan action, or inaction," said Cynthia Stone, a Louisville attorney whose term expired last month.

Stone, a Democrat, said that included the investigation into whether Fletcher violated ethical rules in his handling of personnel decisions. Fletcher, a Republican, is seeking re-election in November against Democratic challenger Steve Beshear.

John Webb, the commission's chairman, said the panel has been fair and impartial.

"Cindy served honorably on the commission for many years and she's entitled to her opinion," Webb said.

Fletcher spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker declined to comment on Stone's allegation.

The commission's investigation began in 2005. It looked into whether Fletcher and members of his administration had violated the ethics code relating to the alleged hiring and firing of civil service workers for political reasons.

Though the commission did not file charges against Fletcher, it did charge five former members of his administration. Those charges are pending.

At the time the commission voted to end its investigation of Fletcher, it had four members, all Republicans appointed by Fletcher. The fifth member, Stone, was the last remaining appointee of former Gov. Paul Patton, a Democrat.

Information from: The Courier-Journal,

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

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