Home » Kentucky Dems Ask Feds to Probe Daniel Cameron Donations

Kentucky Dems Ask Feds to Probe Daniel Cameron Donations

The Kentucky Democratic Party has asked the FBI and Justice Department to investigate a series of campaign contributions to Republican attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron from officials at a company that his office was investigating, citing possible “serious violations” of ethics laws.

“Kentucky law prohibits the Attorney General from using or attempting to use ‘his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself or others in derogation of the public interest at large,’” the letter, which was sent out Friday afternoon and obtained by The Daily Beast, said. The request cites Kentucky laws that prohibit the attorney general from using “his influence in any matter which involves a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest.”

“If an Attorney General solicits or knowingly accepts contributions from entities he is actively investigating, then he has likely committed serious violations” of those laws, the letter alleges.

The KDP also sent the request to Daniels’ deputy attorney general, Vic Maddox, asking him to refer the matter to federal investigators in light of conflict-of-interest rules. The requests were made through the party’s legal counsel at Elias Law Group.

A Cameron campaign spokesperson referred The Daily Beast to the attorney general’s office for comment.

A Cameron campaign spokesperson referred The Daily Beast to the attorney general’s office for comment.

The AG’s office provided The Daily Beast with a copy of Maddox’s reply. The letter ignores the referral request, but offers gratitude for the KDP’s “concerns” and calls attention to one inaccurate claim—that Cameron hadn’t recused in response to a records request asking specifically about Edgewater Recovery. (In reality, had Cameron privately recused himself two days after a records request asked his office to provide a list of all cases he’d recused from.)

The AG’s reply claims that Cameron removed himself “[i]mmediately after learning of the contributions, on May 19,” adding that Cameron “has the highest regard for ethics laws and opinions, and will continue to do so.”

The donations in question, first reported on Thursday by The Daily Beast, were made in March and April, and totaled $6,900. They came from top officials at Kentucky-based addiction treatment center Edgewater Recovery, including the company’s owner and general counsel. At the time, Edgewater was involved in an ongoing, publicly undisclosed investigation that Daniels’ office had opened sometime in 2022, through its Medicare fraud division.

It took two months for Daniels to recuse himself from the matter. By that time, he had already won the GOP primary election, which the donations were designated to fund. The campaign then took another month to refund the donations, which only came after a second open records request asked for more details about the Edgewater probe. His office responded to that second request after the contributions had been returned, but they would not disclose the case file, citing a pending decision about penalties or potential criminal charges.

“Specifically, an investigation must ask and answer how the contributions came about, whether Attorney General Cameron was personally involved, and who from the Attorney General’s office or his campaign communicated with Edgewater,” the letter reads.

This week, Cameron asked the FBI to investigate the “circumstances surrounding” a combined $200,000 in political donations to the KDP and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s campaign. The contributions were made in the names of multiple people but tied to one credit card, the fruits of a previously reported bundling effort by a Republican mayor supporting Beshear. The Beshear campaign and the party refunded the excess amounts before Cameron made the referral.

One week before Cameron recused from the Edgewater matter, he demanded a state judge remove himself from a trial, pointing in part to a $250 contribution from an attorney representing the opposing party. Earlier this year, Cameron recused himself from a lawsuit involving gaming company Pace-O-Matic, which had contributed $100,000 to his election effort days before filing the suit.