- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The committee formed by Democrats to investigate whether Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin delayed a road project as a political vendetta will meet Friday, but a Bevin administration lawyer won’t let two state employees testify.

Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo appointed the commission to look at whether Bevin stalled a road project in state Rep. Russ Meyer’s district as punishment when Meyer refused abandon the Democratic Party and join the GOP.

Bevin’s transportation officials said the project was delayed because the state did not own the property needed to begin construction.

The committee, chaired by Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne, invited two state transportation cabinet employees to testify at Friday’s meeting.

But Stephen Pitt, an attorney for the Bevin administration, sent Wayne a letter Thursday declaring that the committee has no authority to investigate the governor or compel staffers to testify. He offered to answer questions submitted in writing and criticized the panel as amounting “to no more than the kind of ‘politics as usual’ in Kentucky that our citizens voted against” when they elected Bevin last fall.

The committee is comprised of three Democratic legislators and one Republican.

Wayne said he is reviewing Bevin’s letter and has hired Nashville-based attorney Eli Richardson to independently review documentation related to the road project.

Richardson said he will make a presentation to the committee on Friday. He said he has not yet taken a position on whether Stumbo’s panel has the authority to issue subpoenas or otherwise compel state employees to testify under oath.

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