Ky. Gov. Aides, Teamsters Plead
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Two aides to Gov. Paul Patton and two Teamsters officials pleaded innocent Thursday to charges of breaking campaign finance laws during the 1995 governor’s race.
``I’ve done nothing wrong and I expect to be completely exonerated when this is all over,″ Andrew Martin, Patton’s chief of staff, said after his arraignment.
Also arraigned were Patton labor liaison Danny Ross and two officials of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville _ President Lon Fields Sr. and Secretary-Treasurer Robert Winstead.
All are charged with circumventing restrictions on campaign contributions and donors in Patton’s 1995 campaign. Patton has denied knowledge of any wrongdoing and has not been charged.
At issue is a state law that provides public funds for candidates who agree to limit spending on their campaigns. Prosecutors charge that the Teamsters and other labor groups helped Patton’s campaign get around the spending limit by picking up certain expenses.
Much of expenses involved a get-out-the-vote effort among black voters in Jefferson County. Patton and Lt. Gov. Steve Henry carried the county by about 25,000 votes _ the margin of victory over the Republican slate.
The defendants’ attorneys have indicated they will attack the constitutionality of the law, in addition to arguing that their clients did not violate it. Lawyer William E. Johnson has said parts of the law violate rights of free speech and free association guaranteed by the Constitution.