Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was indicted yesterday on three misdemeanor counts alleging that he directed an illegal conspiracy to place his political allies in state jobs at the expense of those who might oppose him, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. He is the first Republican governor since 1971 and the first of either party in Kentucky to be indicted. He entered office in 2003 on a pledge to cut “waste, fraud and abuse” in state government. An official misconduct charge carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a $500 fine. Two counts allege violations of the state merit system law and carry a penalty of 30 days to six months in jail, forfeiture of state office, and a ban on holding any state job for five years.
Fletcher is the 14th person indicted by a grand jury that has been investigating allegations of political patronage in his administration. All but Fletcher are covered by a pardon order he issued Aug. 29. Fletcher said he had “no intention” of pardoning himself. He repeated his charge that the inquiry was conducted “in a very politically charged way.”