2 Kentucky governors, past and present, in public feud

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s two most recent governors are feuding, but they can agree on one thing: the FBI is investigating.

While peaceful transitions of power are a longstanding U.S. tradition, the handoff in Kentucky from Democrat Steve Beshear to Republican Matt Bevin has been ugly. The two men have argued loudly over health care, voting rights, pensions and even the appointment of Beshear’s wife to a state commission.

Things were so tense recently that Bevin and Beshear both claimed the FBI was investigating the other. An FBI spokesman would not confirm or deny anything, preferring to stay out of the fight like many in Kentucky’s political circles.

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The spat has intensified so much that Beshear has taken the extraordinary step of starting a nonprofit group that is paying for ads critical of Bevin and his policies. Bevin, in turn, has launched an investigation of the former Beshear administration, using a state law granting him subpoena power and public money to hire a private law firm to determine if the ex-governor violated state ethics and procurement laws.