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Kentucky Democratic Party Files Ethics Complaint Against Muhlenberg County Lawmaker

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The Kentucky Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint on Monday against a state lawmaker from Muhlenberg County.  Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty is accused of misusing government resources in violation of state law.

The complaint alleges that Rep. Prunty used her government email account on September 25 to send a newsletter in response to an advertising campaign that highlighted her support of a worker’s compensation bill. 

The ad from the Kentucky Democratic Party highlighted how it thinks the bill has negatively impacted coal miners. 

The complaint says Prunty sent the newsletter less than two weeks after the advertising campaign began and within 60 days of the November election.  State lawmakers are prohibited from using public funds, time, or personnel for partisan political activity. 

In response, Prunty made the following statement to WKU Public Radio:

“Since I was elected, I have made it a priority to carefully listen to the concerns of my constituents and honestly provide them with information about legislative issues. I communicate with my constituents in this manner on a regular basis, and my legislative update does not violate the statute referenced in this frivolous, desperate, and partisan complaint. I look forward to a quick review and having this matter dismissed.” 

The Republican from Belton voted for House Bill 2 this year, which reformed Kentucky’s worker's compensation laws.  Prunty’s newsletter states many of the changes have been positive, such as an increase in what a worker receives in weekly benefits.  Some advocates for coal miners say the law has created obstacles in getting diagnosed with black lung disease.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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