FBI looking into former Kentucky governor's controversial pardons: report

FBI looking into former Kentucky governor's controversial pardons: report
© Greg Nash

The FBI is looking into former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) controversial pardons during his last weeks in office, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Monday.

State Rep. Chris Harris (D) told reporters that a criminal investigator contacted him regarding Bevin’s last-minute pardons but declined to say what branch of law enforcement it was.   

"I can confirm that I have been contacted by someone looking into the pardons that were issued by Gov. Bevin on his way out the door," he said, according to the newspaper. "The impression I got is that there was an investigation ramping up."

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Two sources with knowledge of the contact to Harris told the Journal that the state senator spoke with an FBI agent. 

The Hill reached out for comment to the FBI, which told the Journal that it could "neither confirm nor deny the existence of said investigation.” 

Bevin stirred up controversy when he pardoned more than 650 people after finding out he did not win reelection in the state, including a man serving a sentence for reckless homicide and robbery whose brother ran a fundraiser for Bevin, the newspaper previously reported.

But the former governor has welcomed an investigation, saying the pardons had nothing to do with political influence. 

"If the truth comes out, there will be people involved in this process on the other side of the equation that have very good reason to be very concerned right now,” he said, according to the newspaper. “And some of them are the loudest people right now, and for good reason."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.) has called the pardons “completely inappropriate” and said he did not approve of the former governor’s actions.

Democrat Andy Beshear won the Kentucky governorship and was inaugurated earlier this month.