Dec 14, 2019

Lawmakers push for investigation into Matt Bevin's pardons

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

Go deeper

Jim Beam fined $600,000 for fish kill following July warehouse fire

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Jim Beam agreed to pay a $600,000 fine earlier this month and will also reimburse $112,000 to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet after a bourbon spill in July, AP reports.

Context: A massive fire broke out at a Jim Beam warehouse in July, sending whiskey, hose water, barrel residue and charred debris into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. Kentucky officials found dead fish along 62 miles of Glenns Creek and the Kentucky River. Dead fish as a result of the spill were also found in the Ohio River, which a state official described as negligible, per AP.

Go deeper: Jim Beam fire runoff into Kentucky River threatens aquatic life

Keep ReadingArrowDec 28, 2019

Illinois governor pardons 11,000 pot convictions ahead of Jan. 1 legalization

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Dec. 3, 2018. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker granted more than 11,000 pardons on Tuesday for minor, non-violent marijuana offenses, as the state prepares to legalize the drug on Jan. 1, AP reports.

The big picture: Illinois on Wednesday will become the 11th state to allow people 21 or older to buy and consume marijuana. State officials estimate that 116,000 people who were convicted for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana are eligible for pardons.

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019

McConnell backs changing Senate rules over Pelosi impeachment delay

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signed onto a resolution by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) seeking to change the rules of the Senate to dismiss articles of impeachment if they are not transmitted within 25 days of their approval — in this case, Jan. 12.

Why it matters: The constitutionality of such a move, which 12 other co-sponsors have signed onto, is not clear. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated on Thursday that she is waiting to see what the Senate trial will look like before she names impeachment managers and transmits the articles.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020