Gov. Matt Bevin today filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court to disqualify Attorney General Andy Beshear and his office from the political lawsuit filed last week against Kentucky’s recently enacted pension reform law (Senate Bill 151).
Today’s filing lays out significant evidence that Beshear provided legal advice to the Commonwealth (his client) regarding SB 151, thereby violating the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern all attorneys.
“Conflicts of interest do not disappear simply because the Attorney General says they do,” said Steve Pitt, general counsel for Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky has adopted strict rules regarding conflicts for its attorneys. The Attorney General’s suit violates these rules, and this Court must disqualify him and his office from this action to protect the integrity of the judicial system.”
Acting in his capacity as Kentucky’s “chief law enforcement officer,” AG Beshear provided legal advice to the duly elected representatives of the people of the Commonwealth — i.e., members of the General Assembly. Conflicts of interest created by AG Beshear include the following:
- drafting and sending a legal memorandum to the General Assembly (his clients) eight days after the original pension proposal (SB 1) was filed,
- drafting and sending another legal memorandum to the General Assembly (his clients) a short time later, and
- meeting with House and Senate Democratic leaders (a subset of his clients) “to discuss legal options” one day following passage of SB 151.
State legislators followed some of AG Beshear’s legal advice in arriving at their final pension bill, passed as SB 151 on March 29.
Gov. Bevin’s motion argues that the Office of the Attorney General must be disqualified from prosecuting its case because of these conflicts. The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit AG Beshear from suing the Commonwealth and its legislative leaders regarding SB 151 because he has already provided legal advice to them regarding these exact issues.
To download a copy of today’s filing, please click here.