The Kentucky Supreme Court has sided with Gov. Matt Bevin in his bid to rein in outside spending in the office of his rival in the 2019 governor’s race, Attorney General Andy Beshear.
The ruling reverses a lower court decision allowing Beshear to hire outside attorneys to assist in his lawsuits against major opioid makers without the governor’s approval.
Bevin took to Twitter following the ruling, saying the state’s highest court agreed that Beshear “broke the law in awarding outrageous, uncapped state legal contracts to his friends and campaign donors.”
The Republican has been highly critical of Beshear’s efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable, telling NewsRadio 840 WHAS this week that the AG "talks about how many people he has sued. Zippy the monkey can sue somebody. It is easy to sue someone in Kentucky, but the reality is to then win a suit is a very different thing. We have no competence in our attorney general's office."
But Beshear says the high court decision means Bevin “just gave the opioid companies one of their biggest wins nationwide,” adding that the ruling with have “devastating impacts on our cases against companies that have ravaged our state.”
The AG has touted his office’s work and currently has nine opioid-related cases in the pipeline.
"This lawsuit makes Kentucky the most aggressive in pursuing these companies in the nation," Beshear said, announcing the most recent lawsuit against Teva pharmaceuticals. "And it makes the attorney general's office the most aggressive AG's office out there in ensuring that these manufacturers and distributors are ultimately accountable."
Beshear and Bevin have frequently sparred in and out of the courtroom since taking office and will face off at the ballot box in the governor’s race this fall.