Kentucky paid $600K for probe but not known what it produced

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An Indiana law firm has been paid at least $600,000 by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration for an investigation of former Gov. Steve Beshear's administration.

The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained the information through an Open Records Act request to the state Finance and Administration Cabinet. The Bevin administration refuses to release what it received from the Indianapolis law firm Taft Stettinius and Hollister.

The newspaper asked for any reports from the firm but only received a 16-page report from January 2017. The report said state employees in the Steve Beshear administration were pressured to donate to the 2015 campaigns of Jack Conway for governor, Andy Beshear for attorney general, the Kentucky Democratic Party and the Capitol Club with the threat of losing their jobs. The Capitol Club raised money for Democrats from state employees in the Frankfort area.

Gov.-elect Andy Beshear, who has served as attorney general for four years and is the son of Steve Beshear, "will be reviewing this and other issues" when he takes office Dec. 10, said Crystal Staley, a spokeswoman for Andy Beshear.

Pamela Trautner, a spokeswoman for the Finance Cabinet, told the newspaper in May that a draft report from the law firm "with additional findings is in progress but its release has been impeded by the refusal of former Beshear employees to comply with subpoenas from the firm."

In November, Trautner told the newspaper that any documents concerning the firm's work for the state were preliminary but wouldn't say whether any report from the firm has been turned over to any investigative agency.

Steve and Andy Beshear have both criticized the contract. Marisa McNee, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, said this week it had no comment.

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