Voters can be forgiven for tuning out the tit-for-tat between camps in the governor's race. But a few questions have been raised that deserve better explanations and official investigations:
■ Are members of the Beshear administration pressuring state employees to give to the governor's campaign?
State employees are allowed to donate to campaigns, and have given generously to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's.
But it's a violation of state and federal laws to threaten a public employee's job while seeking a political contribution.
An employee who's alleging that Deputy Justice Secretary Charles Gevedon did just that would have more credibility if he hadn't channeled his complaint through the Republican Party.
But he also notified Attorney General Jack Conway and included the names of 13 non-merit employees he claims were pressured by Geveden, including with threats to their jobs.
Conway and the Registry of Election Finance should treat is investigation seriously and with dispatch.
Beshear's campaign issued outraged denials, but if anything of this sort is going on, the governor should shut it down now.
■ Why did Republican David Williams fail to report gambling income on financial disclosure statements required by a state ethics law?
Williams, the state Senate's president, reported income of $5,313 and losses of $36,147 from gambling to the IRS in 2002. We know this because his 2002 tax return was part of his divorce file which was unsealed earlier this year.
Williams, who has refused to release his tax returns, says the disclosure requirements pertain to regular streams of income from a business or profession. In fact, disclosure laws pertain to one-time sources of income as well.
Income from out-of-state casinos, to an elected official who has blocked casino legislation in Kentucky, would be of obvious public interest and is exactly the sort of thing disclosure laws are supposed to reveal.
The Legislative Ethics Commission should clear up any uncertainty that might persist about this in lawmakers' minds.
■ Finally, we know the bright lines in campaign finance law have been blurred, if not obliterated, by Supreme Court decisions and an erosion in enforcement.
But it's pretty obvious a $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association by Williams' father-in-law was a way to evade the state limits on how much an individual may contribute to a campaign other than his own.
Terry Stephens, owner of Stephens Pipe and Steel in Russell Springs, told The Kentucky Gazette that he usually does not make hefty campaign contributions and had never given to the RGA but "David is family."
Eighteen days after Stephens' contribution, the RGA began running commercials for Williams in Kentucky.
Whether this contribution violates the prohibition on coordination between campaigns and independent political committees is a question for the Registry of Election Finance, which should try to provide a speedy answer, rather than dragging out a ruling months or years after the election, as the Registry has been wont to do.