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Winning candidate Jim Glenn, a democrat, wants records on use of House lawyers by his opponent

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The attorney representing Jim Glenn, the Democrat involved in an Election Contest in the Kentucky House of Representatives, has filed an open records appeal with Attorney General Andy Beshear, claiming House Republicans have been unresponsive in requests for information.

Attorney Anna Whites said in a statement issued on Wednesday that lawyers who appear to be employed by the House of Representatives abruptly withdrew from the case when Glenn questioned the use of taxpayer funds to pay lawyers for DJ Johnson, the Republican incumbent for the seat who lost by a single vote. They have since hired Paul Salamanca, a University of Kentucky law professor, to oversee the contest.

Glenn was not offered taxpayer subsidized assistance and faces a bill for expenses if House Republicans overturn his certified election win. Glenn alleges staff attorneys are still working at public expense for the Republicans seeking to deny him his seat.

Jim Glenn

”Public records will quickly show any wrongdoing but, unfortunately, the House has failed to turn over those documents,” said Whites. “Jim Glenn will ask Attorney General Andy Beshear to review this violation of the Open Records Act. This is a public election being undercut, and we need answers immediately.”

Whites alleges that Professor Salamanca is failing to address basic fairness issues, while meeting and working closely with Republican House Leadership, whose staff wrote and filed the Election Contest.

”You can’t use public money for personal political ends, that’s illegal” Whites said. “This whole Election Contest was brought improperly, and the Constitutional Law Professor overseeing the process must correct that.  We have a duty to the taxpayers and cannot let that go unchallenged.”

According to Whites, the records sought will help establish whether staff attorneys worked on the case on state time and whether the Speaker has interfered in the process and biased the required impartiality. Salamanca has not said whether he will advise the House to turn over the records or fight to keep them secret.

The House Majority Leadership issued a response, quoting Salamanca as saying, “The Legislative Research Commission has responded to Ms. Whites’ open records request in a timely manner. We have every intention of complying with the law in connection with the contest for House District 13.”

Glenn defeated Johnson by one vote, 6,319-6,318, in numbers released by the State Board of Elections for the 13th District House seat in Daviess County the night of the November General Election.

Johnson requested a recanvass of the vote, which was performed by the Daviess County Clerk’s office, and resulted in no change to the totals. The bipartisan State Board of Elections certified the results Nov. 20, declaring Glenn the winner.

While most races in Kentucky can take the further step of a court-ordered recount, under the state Constitution, legislative races require an election contest by the chamber involved, and Johnson filed for one with the House Clerk.

The Attorney General’s office says they are reviewing the appeal and are unable to comment.

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