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Edelen, Coldiron Partners with Top Lobbyist
1/6/09 UPDATE: Bluegrass Politics reports that Bob Babbage has ended the partnership with the Governor’s chief of staff. Babbage failed to disclose his connection in his July disclosure report required under ethics laws. According to John Cheves’ story, all’s well that ends well if no one files an ethics complaint.


The Lexington Herald’s John Chever reported today that Chief of Staff Edelen, Homeland Security boss Ralph Coldiron and top lobbyist Bob Babbage are partners in Chartwell Land Company, a real estate development firm.

Edelen and Babbage say no problem. Coldiron couldn't be reached for comment. Richard Beliles of Common Cause of Kentucky disagrees. 

Here’s the story:  
Lexington Herald Story . Draw your own conclusion.  

The obvious conclusion for us is that the partnership may not be bad as in illegal, but it smells.  It's the sort of insider dealing that makes the rest of the state wonder what the heck is going on in Frankfort.

Edelen didn't get an opinion from the Executive Ethics Board on the relationship. And he should have. So should Ralph Coldiron who's been around long enough to have seen politicians get nailed to realize that private intentions don't always match public perceptions.

Bob Babbage is one of the highest paid lobbyists in Frankfort - if not the highest.  He told the Lexington Herald he made no secret of the partnership. Fine for him. Making no secret of the partnership is good for his business. He can tell his corporate clients that he is in partnership with the Governor's chief of staff and the Kentucky boss of homeland security. That looks pretty sweet on his resume. For out of state firms looking for a lobbyist with access, this is an attractive selling point. (Sorry, Bob - but that's the truth).

Dissolving the relationship or seeking an opinion is locking the barn with the horses galloping down the road. That's a shame because Governor Beshear ran on a platform of cleaning up Frankfort politics after the dismal years of Ernie Fletcher and his tone deaf aides and appointees who got in state newspapers for all the wrong reasons.  For Edelen, the guy with the keys to his office, to be in business with a lobbyist is an echo of the bad old days.

If it looks like scat and smells like scat, it's scat. And being dried doesn't make it into cookie dough.

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