Kentucky lawmakers seek oversight over funds solicited by Beshear, government officials
Charitable funds created by Kentucky government officials — including the well-known Team Eastern and Western Kentucky Funds initiated by the Beshear administration — would come under General Assembly oversight if a bill hits the books.
In the wake of Kentucky's recent historic weather-related disasters on both ends of the state, Gov. Andy Beshear has regularly solicited donations for funds meant to aid those affected.
But GOP Rep. Jason Petrie tells lawmakers those dollars aren't dealt with like regular general fund monies.
"Without this bill, those funds are kept off-budget. There is no direct process oversight as we normally do."Rep. Jason Petrie
Petrie said House Bill 257 would change that.
"This would create a type of trust fund into which those type of solicited funds would go into, brings them on budget, so the General Assembly can appropriate," the representative explains.
The bill comes on the heels of reports that some checks from the now $52 million Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund ended up in the hands of those not affected by the disaster.
A separate bill that's been filed would audit both of the Team Kentucky funds, a process Gov. Beshear said he is fine with — adding, however, that he believes it's unnecessary.
"There is full transparency because we can provide a flash drive to anybody who files an open record request, showing where every single payment went, every single dollar, all the rules that we put into place," Beshear told reporters last Thursday. "That is more transparency than any nonprofit even before the bill."
Nearly 200,000 individuals and organizations have donated to the Team Kentucky funds.