Commonwealth Policy Center

Controversy is brewing around the Beshear Administration regarding disaster relief funds being sent to people not affected by the 2021 tornados in West Kentucky and the 2022 floods in Eastern Kentucky. In February, several Kentuckians unaffected by the disasters received checks and notified the State Treasurer’s office. As a result, Treasurer Allison Ball cancelled 192 checks valued at $192,000 from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.

The Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee (Rep. Adam Bowling, R-Middlesboro and Sen. Brandon Storm, R-London) wrote a letter to the Auditor of Public Accounts requesting a review that more than 200 checks were “issued from these funds to persons who did not request the monies or who have later stated no objective need.”

Beshear questioned the timing of the audit and asserted the review will not be impartial. “Listen, for somebody who was running for governor that is supporting the other candidate to announce an audit on something like this three months and two weeks before an election, we all have to admit that’s grossly political, and we shouldn’t be doing it,” Beshear said.

However, Auditor Mike Harmon in an interview with CPC has recused himself from the audit. He told CPC Executive Director Richard Nelson that another person in his office is handling the audit. Harmon also stated that for the past two years he’s recused himself from any audits where there might be an appearance of a conflict of interest. This has not stopped Gov. Beshear from accusing the audit of being a political move. Beshear said, “Let’s stop playing politics with two really important funds that are providing tens of millions of dollars of relief and help to our families.” But State Senate President Robert Stivers responded, “What does it hurt to audit and review something? It’s an audit. Welcome people in. Show the books.”