Watchdog

Campaign Watchdog: Andy Barr's ties to Fletcher scandal 'mostly true'

The Herald-Leader will fact-check statements made by candidates and their surrogates in the campaigns for Lexington mayor, the 6th Congressional District and U.S. Senate.

Bluegrass Politics: Read previous Campaign Watchdog stories at Bit.ly/campaignwatchdog

The ruling: Mostly true.

The facts: Barr was a lawyer in the Fletcher administration when Fletcher and many of his aides were indicted during the state hiring investigation led by Attorney General Greg Stumbo. Specifically, right before the case broke, Barr was general counsel to Local Initiatives for a New Kentucky, a controversial agency attached to the governor's office that promoted Fletcher politically across the state.

LINK's director was indicted — the indictment later was dismissed — and LINK representatives were named as unindicted co-conspirators. Fletcher disbanded LINK, saying, "Some appeared to have been overzealous and too eager to please."

In September 2005, Barr refused to release records revealing LINK activities to the Herald-Leader under the Kentucky Open Records Act. LINK employees should be allowed to offer "recommendations and opinions" to supervisors without the "chilling effect" of knowing their words could be made public, Barr said at the time. After LINK was closed, Barr was promoted to deputy general counsel to Fletcher.

This commercial is factually correct but gets a "mostly true" rating because it fails to note that Barr himself was not charged or accused of criminal wrongdoing. However, unlike some Fletcher officials who distanced themselves as facts emerged, such as Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, Barr stayed with Fletcher until the end and draws support from his former Fletcher colleagues.

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