The Herald-Leader will fact-check claims made by the candidates for governor and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
The statement: Gov. Steve "Beshear has mastered the art of the payoff, pocketing hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from energy and utility companies. Yet Beshear appoints public service commissioners who set our utility rates."
— Restoring America, a group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams, in a television ad this week attacking Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.
The ruling: False
The facts: Restoring America, an independent political expenditure group based in Ohio, is accusing Beshear of breaking the law in its latest ad, but there's no proof to substantiate the claim.
The Kentucky Constitution prohibits any candidate for public office from accepting direct contributions from corporations, says Sarah Jackson, executive director of the state Registry of Election Finance. State law does allow individuals to give up to $1,000 per election to a campaign, she said.
While it's true that Beshear's campaign has accepted many donations from people who work for energy and utility companies — as has David Williams' campaign — there's no evidence that he has taken money from any of the companies that employ those workers.
The Beshear campaign called the ad's claim "false and defamatory."
An attorney for the Beshear campaign sent a letter Tuesday to Wayne Martin, general manager of Lexington's WKYT-TV, demanding that the station not run the ad.
The campaign released an email Wednesday from Martin, who said WKYT is not running the ad. Martin added in his email that Restoring American may revise the ad.
Repeated phone calls by the Herald-Leader to Martin over the last two days were not returned.
Jim Rutledge, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney who is chairman of Restoring America, declined to comment on the ads or say who is funding them.
The Williams' campaign said it is not involved with Restoring America.