- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2019

Matt Bevin, the former Republican governor of Kentucky, has reportedly attracted scrutiny from the FBI over pardons he granted before leaving office.

“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,” said state Rep. Chris Harris, a Democrat, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Monday. “The impression I got is that there was an investigation ramping up.”

Mr. Harris declined to specify which law enforcement agency had contacted him, but the Courier-Journal reported that two sources familiar with the inquiry said it involved the FBI.

The FBI could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of said investigation,” said a spokesperson for the agency, the Courier-Journal reported.

Mr. Bevin, 52, pardoned or commuted the sentences of more than 650 people during his last days in office prior to being succeeded this month by Democrat Andy Beshear.

Most of the people whose sentences were recently pardoned or commuted by Mr. Bevin had been convicted of low-level drug offenses, but some had been jailed for violent crimes such as murder and rape.

Among those pardoned by Mr. Bevin was Patrick Baker, a convicted killer whose brother held a fundraiser for the governor in 2018 that raised $21,500.

Mr. Bevin has welcomed an investigation and denied any of his pardons or commutations were the result of any political favors, the Courier-Journal reported.

“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. And some of them are the loudest people right now, and for good reason,” he told the newspaper.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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