Dec 14, 2019

Lawmakers push for investigation into Matt Bevin's pardons

In this image, Matt Bevin wears a suit and tie

Former Gov. Matt Bevin in Lexington, Kentucky on Nov. 4. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Lawmakers are calling for an investigation into more than 400 pardons issued by former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in the final days of his term, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: Bevin pardoned convicted murderers, rapists and drug offenders, NPR reports. Robert Stivers, GOP president of the State Senate, also asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to examine the pardons late Friday, per the Times.

  • Democratic lawmakers have called on Kentucky's Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron to look into the issue, per AP — but Cameron had not publicly addressed the pardons as of Friday.

What they're saying: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who also hails from Kentucky — told reporters he didn't approve of the pardons and said the action seemed "completely inappropriate," the AP reports.

The former Kentucky governor responded in a Friday Twitter thread:

"Contrary to that which has been falsely stated by many, not a single person was released who had not already been scheduled for a specific release date or who was sentenced with the eligibility to be considered for early release. The vast majority of those who were pardoned, have actually been out of prison for years and had fully paid their debt to society...
"At the end of the day, the responsibility for making pardon and commutation decisions falls on the Governor alone..."

Background: Bevin conceded the tight Kentucky governor's race after requesting a vote recanvass, claiming there were unsubstantiated "voting irregularities."

Go deeper: Behind the scenes of Matt Bevin's loss in Kentucky's governor's race

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