Thursday, April 25, 2002

Cabinet member resigns under cloud

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Public Protection Secretary Ron McCloud resigned Wednesday amid reports he used state equipment to produce campaign letters promoting two Democrats, including his boss, Gov. Paul Patton.

        Mr. McCloud admitted he printed the letters on state equipment, Mr. Patton said.

        In one letter, Mr. McCloud promoted Mr. Patton's 1999 re-election campaign, the governor said. The other touted Sen. Walter Blevins' re-election in 2000.

        Mr. Patton said he didn't find out about the letters until Tuesday.

        “We don't know that that's illegal, but it is inappropriate for a secretary of our cabinet to do that,” Mr. Patton said. “We mutually agreed that he should resign.”

        Mr. McCloud sent the pro-Patton letter to about 150 friends in October 1999, a month before he won re-election, the governor said.

        A letter soliciting contributions for Mr. Blevins' campaign went to people on the same list, the governor said. Mr. Patton said he didn't think Mr. McCloud sought campaign contributions for his 1999 campaign.

        Mr. McCloud is a longtime Patton friend and a former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Mr. Blevins said Wednesday that Mr. McCloud didn't have an official role in his 2000 campaign. Mr. Blevins said he didn't know anything about the letter.

        Mr. McCloud was appointed to the cabinet in March 1999. He was responsible for 12 regulatory agencies and more than 1,200 employees.

        The Courier-Journal reported that Mr. McCloud is under investigation by state ethics officials for soliciting hundreds of dollars last year from people representing businesses overseen by the cabinet. The money was for a charity golf tournament.


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