Impeachment committee recommends no further action on Beshear, Cameron petitions

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- The General Assembly’s impeachment committee voted Tuesday to recommend no further action be taken on petitions to impeach the Governor and Attorney General.

The Committee met in closed session for about four and a half hours Tuesday, emerging around 10:30 p.m. to vote.

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Committee Chair Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville, says, following the law, petitioners will have to pay costs for the witnesses who spoke for Cameron and Beshear.

The Committee says it found none of the allegations rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

Petitioners wanted Beshear impeached for his coronavirus restrictions and Cameron impeached for how he handled the Breonna Taylor investigation.

The committee has already dismissed a similar petition for Republican Rep. Robert Goforth from East Bernstadt. Petitioners wanted to see him removed after he was indicted for allegedly strangling his wife last year. Tuesday night, the committee adopted that order.

Rep. Nemes explained that petition was dismissed because an expert gave testimony that lawmakers cannot be impeached in the same way the Attorney General and Governor can be.

Nemes also spoke about how often the committee was away from the public in closed executive session.

He said this is the first time the Impeachment Committee has been open to the public, a departure from the past. He said the committee wanted to be mindful of increased transparency while also using closed session to do its important business.

The committee’s recommendations on Beshear and Cameron will go before the General Assembly’s Committee on Committees, which will decide how to proceed.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is reacting to the committee’s recommendations:

The following is a statement from Colmon Elridge, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party:

 

“After weeks of flirting with unhinged elements of their party, Frankfort Republicans finally had a moment of clarity and dismissed all baseless impeachment petitions against Governor Andy Beshear. The fact that they waited weeks to do so shows blatant, disgusting partisanship.

Both Speaker Osborne and Rep. Nemes owe the Governor and the people of Kentucky an apology for wasting our time, our patience, and taxpayer dollars on a partisan made-for-tv show. Maybe they take their cues from celebrities turned politicians, but the people of Kentucky need help, and it’s unfortunate that the Republican majority has chosen to forsake their constituents for toxic partisanship.

We should also not lose sight that one of the reasons they have dismissed these petitions is to provide cover for Attorney General Cameron and Representative Goforth. Aiding a constitutional officer who has broken the public trust and member of the legislature who has been indicted for horrifically abusing his spouse, is a sick power play and we must call it out for what it is. An abuse of power to cover up a destructive agenda that is designed to set Kentucky back and keep the people of Kentucky down.

Kentucky is a leader right now in the fight against COVID-19. Gov. Beshear’s actions have undoubtedly saved lives and kept Kentuckians safe from this devastating virus. Both the Kentucky Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have ruled in favor of these actions.

It’s time Republicans in the legislature focus on things that will help us defeat this virus and that will help Kentuckians until that day comes. A great start would be to stop blocking the Governor’s proposal of $220 million in relief for Kentucky small businesses and nonprofits.”

 

 

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!