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Conway, Mongiardo clash on KET

May 03, 2010 | | Comments Comments

Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo clashed Monday night over Conway’s contributions from utility lobbyists and Mongiardo’s use of a $30,000-a-year state housing allowance.

The two frontrunners in the May 18 Democratic primary election for U.S. Senate appeared seated side-by-side on a statewide television show with three other candidates in the race — former U.S. Customs agent Darlene Fitzgerald Price of Whitley City, Louisville businessman Maurice Sweeney and Henderson physician James Buckmaster.

Political sparks flew on Kentucky Educational Television’s Kentucky Tonight when host Bill Goodman asked Conway about Mongiardo’s claim that Conway has pocketed more than $70,000 in campaign cash from utility executives and lobbyists while approving millions in utility rate hikes.

“He’s been stretching the truth,” Conway said.

He said Mongiardo knows that the state Public Service Commission approves utility rates and that former attorneys general Greg Stumbo and Ben Chandler have asked Mongiardo “to knock it off.”

Conway also said he has saved the state more than $100 million in rates paid by Kentucky taxpayers by challenging various rate hikes.

“Jack, if you save us any more money, we’re going to go broke,” Mongiardo said before paraphrasing a Bible verse in Matthew that says no one can serve two masters.

Mongiardo also charged that lobbyists for Kentucky Utilities and LG&E hosted a $4,800-a-person fundraiser last month for Conway as the companies are seeking a $262 million rate hike.

Conway said his office is filing a motion to dismiss the rate hike because the companies have recently been sold.
Conway and Mongiardo also tangled over the $2,500 a month the lieutenant governor receives for a housing allowance. State law does not specify details on how it should be used.

Conway charged that Mongiardo has received the allowance while living with his in-laws in Frankfort and buying a 54-acre farm in Franklin County for potential development.

Mongiardo said he is not developing the property and that he has lived on the property except last winter.

Conway also noted a Lexington Herald-Leader report that Mongiardo has spent more than seven times more than Conway has on state travel expenses.

“He’s attacking me. This is all he has got,” said Mongiardo.

Mongiardo and Conway also disagreed over their positions on federal “cap and trade” legislation designed to control carbon emissions.

Mongiardo said several newspapers have reported that Conway supports the legislation, which could hurt Kentucky’s coal industry.

But Conway said he did not support cap and trade and would never do anything to hurt the coal industry.
All the candidates were asked whether they would have voted for the sweeping health care legislation Congress passed earlier this year.

Price, Sweeney and Conway said they would have voted yes, but Conway added that he would try to improve it.
Buckmaster said he would not have, and Mongiardo said no unless he had assurances that some items in it would have been changed.

The candidates also were asked whether they would want President Obama to campaign for them.
Buckmaster said no, and Price and Sweeney said yes.

Conway said he would be happy to have the president in the state. Mongiardo said he would love to have Obama in Kentucky to talk about issues but that the U.S. Senate campaign should be decided by Kentuckians.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate Trey Grayson, Rand Paul, Gurley Martin, Jon Scribner and John Stephenson are to appear on next Monday night’s Kentucky Tonight.

But Conway said he did not support it and would never do anything to hurt the coal industry.

All the candidates were asked if they would have voted for the sweeping health care legislation Congress passed earlier this year.

Price, Sweeney and Conway said they would have voted yes, but Conway added that he would try to improve it.

Buckmaster said he would have not and Mongiardo said no unless he had assurances some items in it would have been changed.

The candidates also were asked if they would want President Obama to campaign for them.

Buckmaster said no, and Price and Sweeney said yes.

Conway said he would be happy to have the president in the state. Mongiardo said he would love to have Obama in Kentucky to talk about issues but that the U.S. Senate campaign should be decided by Kentuckians.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate Trey Grayson, Rand Paul, Gurley Martin, Jon Scribner and John Stephenson are to appear on next Monday night’s “Kentucky Tonight.”

–Jack Brammer

Filed Under: Daniel MongiardoDemocratic PartyElectionsJack ConwayUS Senate Race

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Comments

  1. Big Jay says:

    Contributions are made willingly (except for union members)and should be hard to criticize. The $30,000 housing stipend is not voluntary but is stolen from the taxpayers.

  2. just thinking says:

    Contributions are made willingly? I think if Conway attended fundraisers hosted by folks with connections to utility companies that wanted rate increases, then, at best, he showed a total lack of respect for the taxpayer and even less judgment. It sure makes him look like a fox guarding the hen house. Does anyone really believe that these utilities would have given him all that money for nothing? Or because he was fighting them tooth and nail on all these unfair rate hikes? Kentucky people ain’t that stupid. Just like Mongiardo said he can’t serve two masters. And if the utilities are so willing to give him thousands of dollars then they know what side he is really on. What else makes sense?

  3. marion county says:

    Mitch McConnell is proud of Mongardio and his political views. He hopes Mongardio wins the primary since all polls show Conway is stronger against Wacky Rand Paul.

  4. we need truth says:

    Conway looked very scared. I don’t think he would stand against his party if he thought they were wrong.

  5. Chris says:

    Rand Paul is the winner no matter who is on the opposing side. Out with the old and in with some new. I can’t wait to see how the primaries in our State as well as the others go. I should be interesting to say the least.

  6. Jim Anderson Stivers says:

    When the General Election comes . . . Rand Paul will be the easiest to defeat. I hope he wins.

    Who is more radical than Rand P and his poppa?

  7. sick of this says:

    Jacky boy would BE DISBARRED if he was a real lawyer representing the state. he might not approve rate hikes but he sure does “represent” the rate payers. how is this legal? sick of all politicians acting the same, let’s get some new blood in dc.

  8. ratepayer says:

    Conway is a rich kid from Louisville living in a big house, $1.6 million according to John David Dyche, whining that Mongiardo is living with his inlaws when he should be in the Lt. Gov’s mansion.
    Conway’s rich friends in the utility industries are buying him a seat in Congress- just like they helped him become AG. They have gotten more than their money’s worth.
    Does anyone believe that he has a clue what pain high utilities rates are causing Kentuckians? Or that he cares?

  9. thatsright says:

    ratepayer – whoa there bub, KY has one of the lowest rates for electricity in the nation

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html

    or are you talking about some other utility rate?