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Issue Position: Leading an Ethical and Open State Government

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

As a former state representative, attorney general and lieutenant governor, Steve Beshear served each office with integrity. He left politics to spend more time with his children and work in the private sector, but a widespread corruption scandal called him back to public service. In his 2007 run for governor, he offered Kentuckians a break from "politics as usual,' promising fresh leadership and a more open government.

Since he has been elected governor, Steve Beshear has upheld his pledge to govern with honesty and integrity by running one of the most accessible administrations in the state's history.

Governor Beshear instituted a range of efforts designed to hold the Executive Branch to a higher standard of accountability. His work has laid a critical foundation for a culture of integrity in Frankfort and in regaining the public's trust in government.

 Here are some of his initiatives:

Issued an executive order instituting one of the nation's toughest ethics codes for employees. Steps taken include the following:

Closed loopholes in current ethics policies making the ethical behavior of those under the executive branch more consistent.

Required all major management personnel, including himself and his entire staff, to undergo mandatory ethics training.

Changed the process for appointing members to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Attached the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to the Finance and Administration Cabinet, rather than the Governor's Office, in order to remove the appearance of undue influence by the Governor.

Established the eTransparency Task Force to assist in creating and implementing a "one-stop" information access tool for Kentuckians providing, among other things, information about state expenditures and state programs.

Launched a comprehensive website called "Kentucky Open Door" that shows the public where and how their tax dollars are being spent. This site was recognized by a national group as one of the best transparency websites in the nation. The website includes the following:

Your Money: A section with dozens of helpful charts, graphs and descriptions that summarize state revenues, expenditures and budget priorities.

Cabinet/Agency Search: A search engine that provides agency-by-agency data on state expenditures.

Budget Basics: A tutorial that allows the average citizen to log on and find out basic information on state expenditures, revenues and how budgets are developed.

Budgeting for Kids: A fully interactive children's section that offers games, cartoons and interactive lessons on budgets and government finance.

Various links providing taxpayers easy access to state audits, investments, tax incentives, election finances and more.

Stays connected to Kentuckians across the state through the use of Twitter and regularly updated blog posts.

Launched the "Kentucky at Work" website so Kentuckians could track how the state utilized funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A national report ranked the website second in the nation in terms of fiscal openness and accountability.

Expanded already strict ethics measures beyond what the law requires to promote greater transparency and openness to the taxpayers of the commonwealth. Additional actions include:

Directing his General Counsel to conduct an annual review of all financial disclosure forms from the governor's senior staff, cabinet secretaries and the heads of agencies administratively attached to the governor's office for any potential conflicts of interest.

Requiring his senior staff, cabinet secretaries and the heads of agencies administratively attached to his office to list not only outside businesses in which they have an ownership stake, but also indentify all individuals who have any ownership in those interests as well.

Cleaned up the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which had historical issues regarding ethics and corruption.

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