Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Richie Farmer's waste detailed

Right about now, Kentucky's Republican machine has got to be so over.

Richie Farmer - a Republican who served as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and ran for lieutenant governor last year - had already come under fire for stealing a refrigerator. He improperly used a state account to buy the fridge for his own home. That's called stealing from the taxpayers.

Now a state audit has unearthed more details of Farmer's waste. It turns out Farmer took items purchased by the agriculture department on the taxpayers' dime and gave them to his family for Christmas. Farmer also improperly used state employees on state time to build a basketball court at his house. He even had a state worker remove the organs of a deer that he illegally shot from a state vehicle.

Farmer's office reserved hotel rooms at the Kentucky State Fair in the names of state employees - even though the rooms were for Farmer's family and friends. Then - because the inn didn't allow dogs - he had state workers schlep his dog back and forth between his home and the fair. And Farmer wasted over $70,000 in taxpayer funds paying a personal friend to do almost nothing. Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen called it a "toxic culture of entitlement" and a "real culture of fear and a hostile work environment."

It also turns out that tens of thousands of tax dollars meant for wildlife conservation were squandered on buying 8 gas-guzzling SUV's.

The revelations of this damning audit have been turned over to the Kentucky Attorney General, the IRS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies for possible prosecution.

Meanwhile, some of the items Farmer lost while he was in office are finally resurfacing. One of the items is a refrigerator purchased with taxpayer funds - though it doesn't appear to be the same fridge Farmer stole. Three laptops have also finally been returned. However, 6 rifles purchased by Farmer's staff still have not reappeared, and one laptop is still missing.

This pattern of unchecked wastage exhibited by the Kentucky GOP has gotten real old. It isn't only Republicans who have let hard-working taxpayers like you and me down like this, but the GOP stands alone in their amount of graft and waste. No other party in modern America has produced such a seamless culture of self-enrichment.


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