December 24, 2008
As 2008 comes to a close, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as Kentucky’s Attorney General. It has truly been an honor and a privilege. These have been trying times for many Kentucky families, but it is also a time to count our blessings and to be thankful for all that we do have.
Elizabeth and I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays and a blessed New Year!
December 19, 2008
It has been another busy week here in Frankfort. On Monday, I was pleased to join with the attorneys general of 38 other states in announcing a $12 million settlement with Mattel, Inc. and its subsidiary Fisher-Price over lead paint-tainted toys. This agreement is the result of a 16-month long investigation. As one of the lead states, Kentucky’s portion of the settlement is $475,000.
It’s also important to note that the agreement includes more stringent lead-paint standards for toys manufactured after November 30, 2008. I will continue to press the federal government and toy manufacturers on this issue to keep tainted toys out of the hands of our children. I also encourage parents to consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the latest recalled toys.
I was also happy to be a guest once again on WKYT TV’s Kentucky Newsmakers with Bill Bryant. You can watch the interview at http://ag.ky.gov/multimedia/video.htm .
December 12, 2008
With job losses, budget reductions and pay cuts, this is a difficult time for many Americans. Kentucky is not immune. We are one of many states struggling to cope with massive budget shortfalls. Although it will be challenging, we are prepared to implement the 4 percent budget reduction plan that we submitted to Governor Beshear. I am anxious to review the details of the budget reduction plan the Governor announced on Thursday and completely understand the implications of these additional proposals for the Office of the Attorney General.
As I near the end of my first year as Attorney General, I’ve begun to take note of our accomplishments. Despite budget cuts totaling 18.5% in this office, I believe we have been able to accomplish some wonderful things for the Commonwealth, its families and consumers. I’ll have much more on our achievements and areas of focus for 2009 in our December newsletter.
December 5, 2008
In Lexington this week, turnout was strong for our Regional DUI Training. The three-day seminar provided training for police officers and prosecutors on how to effectively prosecute DUI cases. I believe seminars like this, which create more of a team approach, are imperative when it comes to effectively enforcing our DUI laws and protecting our citizens.
I certainly appreciate the hard work of Bob Stokes, the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor in my office, who conducted the training with the assistance of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky State Police and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
So often, at this time of year, we talk about counting our blessings and helping those in need. This year, the Office of the Attorney General put words into action. Rather than exchanging gifts at the Capitol office, we adopted four children from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. I’m pleased to report that we've collected enough money to purchase every item on their wish list and then some. The bible says, "To whom much is given, much is expected." I hope that we each take time to recognize the gifts we've received, and that we share those gifts with others in need this holiday season.
November 26, 2008
For many Kentucky families, this has been a challenging year. The ailing economy has taken a toll on both our pocket books and our spirits. On this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope that you join me in counting the blessings that we do have. Let us also not forget to take care of those who are less fortunate. Working together, we can build a better and stronger Kentucky for our families and most importantly for our children.
Happy Thanksgiving, from our family here at the Attorney General’s Office to yours.
November 21, 2008
The good work of our Cybercrimes investigators and the Williamsburg Police Department has resulted in the arrest of a student at the University of the Cumberlands for allegedly hacking into a fellow students’ email account and then trying to blackmail them with personal information. We should know exactly how sophisticated this operation was after our investigators finish examining the digital forensics in our cybercrimes lab. According to investigators, the student allegedly installed spyware on college library computers to capture logon IDs and passwords and pirated another person’s wireless router to send threatening emails. For more information, please see our press release.
Speaking of good work, an investigator in our Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Division has been recognized for the significant contributions she has made in helping victims of elder abuse and neglect. Nikki Henderson, who joined this office in 2006, received the “Kentucky Women’s Law Enforcement Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” at a ceremony in Lexington on Thursday. Nikki has been a tireless crusader against elder abuse and I am thrilled that she is the recipient of this prestigious award. For more information on Nikki’s accomplishments, please see our press release.
November 14, 2008
As required by law, I held a public drawing on Thursday, November 13 to select the six Kentucky counties that will undergo post-election audits. The counties selected were Pendleton, Edmonson, Monroe, Cumberland, Montgomery and Union counties. Again, this was a random drawing and the selection of these counties does not imply that irregularities are suspected. The post-election audits supplement the work already done by our investigators and are another step in ensuring that the election process is free of any irregularities.
What we’ll be doing now is checking voting machines, election forms and interviewing officials in these counties to make certain the elections were free and fair.
On another issue, I’d like to remind parents about our upcoming I-Jam Internet Safety Conference, November 24-25 in Lexington. Social networking sites, like Facebook or MySpace, are the new malls for Kentucky kids and parents must know who their children are socializing with online. It’s very tough to parent and protect your children in this virtual world. That is why we have partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Child Now to launch our statewide Cybersafety initiative to teach adults to be online mentors and monitors. I hope you can join us at our I-Jam Conference. Additional information, including how to register, is available on our I-Jam registration page.
November 7, 2008
I very much appreciate the voters and concerned citizens who took time during the General Election to be our eyes and ears at polling places across Kentucky. Given the enormous interest in this election at both the state and national level, it was no surprise to me that our Election Fraud Hotline received a record number of calls during the General Election. From 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EST) on Election Day, we received 271 calls from 50 counties. The majority of the calls were from county officials or voters with procedural questions.
Our investigators did a tremendous job conducting on-site surveys of polling places in each of Kentucky’s six congressional districts. They were also able to provide immediate response to any allegations of voting irregularities and I’m pleased to say that they did not observe any election violations in the counties they surveyed. We did receive four complaints of vote-buying and none was substantiated.
Also this week, I joined with 42 other state attorneys general and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in reaching agreement with Craigslist to improve public safety on the online classified ad website. This is a historic agreement that I believe will add another layer of protection for children utilizing this website. For more information, please see our press release. For more information, please see our press release .
October 31, 2008
I’d like to thank the investigators in my Office of Consumer Protection who have successfully shut down a website that appeared to be preying on citizens struggling through these tough economic times. My office received more than two dozen complaints about Rothwellfinancial.com which was attempting to scam Kentuckians by promising a guaranteed loan in exchange for a payment of several thousand dollars. The company claimed to be operating on Linn Station Road in Louisville; however, it appears the site was actually based in Singapore. With the help of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) we were able to shut down the site on Thursday. Keep in mind, no legitimate financial institution will require money up front as a condition of securing a loan. If you have been a victim of this scam, please contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-432-9257.
Earlier this week, I visited with the Kentucky Jailers Association on the Eastern Kentucky University campus. I was able to talk to attendees about issues relating to public safety. As the state’s chief law enforcement official, I’d like to thank the Jailers Association for its commitment to the training, legislative and support needs of jailers across the Commonwealth.
Finally, please join with my office to ensure that all Kentuckians have a chance to make their vote count on Election Day. We will have investigators patrolling precincts and polling places throughout the state. The Election Fraud Hotline is also available. If you see any irregularities, large or small, call the hotline at (800)328-VOTE (800-328-8683). For more information, please see our press release .
October 24, 2008
With the election nearly upon us, I want to remind everyone to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 4. I also ask that you report any election irregularities to our Election Fraud Hotline at 1-800-328-VOTE (800-328-8683). Earlier this week, I joined Secretary of State Trey Grayson in announcing a special task force to investigate and prevent voter fraud. About a dozen investigators from my office will be patrolling precincts throughout the Commonwealth; however, we also need Kentucky voters to be our eyes and ears on election day. For more information, please see our press release.
Also this week, I had the pleasure of speaking to seventh-graders at Murray’s Calloway County Middle School about cybersafety. Approximately 75% of the students indicated they had accounts on Facebook and MySpace. When I asked how many of the students were 14-years-old, which is the minimum age MySpace requires, only a few hands were raised. I reminded the students to think before they post and never meet someone in person that you’ve met online. For more information on cybersafety, click here.
I also enjoyed meeting with the folks at Froggy FM and Murray Public Radio.
October 17, 2008
I was pleased to learn this week that the Federal Trade Commission, at our request, will review the data we have gathered regarding the merger of Ashland and Marathon that took place in the mid 1990s. We believe that merger may have created a potentially illegal monopoly in Kentucky’s petroleum market. Because of Marathon’s dominant position in Jefferson County, we believe residents there have been paying about 20 cents more per gallon of gas than the rest of the state.
Also this week, I visited with hundreds of senior citizens at Louisville’s Senior Day Out at the Kentucky International Convention Center. I reminded them about the importance of protecting themselves against scams and scam artists. Also, seniors need to know that help is available for victims of elder abuse. If you, or someone you know, is a victim of elder abuse, please contact our elder abuse tip line at 877-228-7384.
October 10, 2008
It has been another busy week in the Attorney General’s Office. The first part of the week, I met with constituents in Eastern Kentucky to discuss the progress my office has made over the past ten months in curbing prescription drug abuse.
Also this week, I joined with 46 other attorneys general in announcing an agreement with Shell Oil Products U.S. to curb tobacco sales to minors. For more information, please see our press release.
I’m also very excited about the new three-year partnership we announced this week with Kentucky Child Now and Kentucky Department of Education that will expand statewide cybersafety education efforts. Through this partnership, we can enhance our efforts to teach adults to be online models, mentors and monitors to ensure our children are safe both online and off. Additional information, including how to register, is available in our press release.