Hampton aide says she was investigating boss’s firing

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An aide to Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton who was dismissed by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration says she was investigating the firing of her own supervisor earlier this year.

Adrienne Southworth told the Courier Journal on Thursday she “needed answers to what was going on” after her boss, the lieutenant governor’s chief of staff, Steve Knipper, was let go in January. Southworth was then dismissed last month, and Hampton complained publicly, saying “dark forces” were at work in the administration.

Southworth says she wanted to know who Bevin had designated as the person who could fire the lieutenant governor’s staff. Southworth had asked the Finance and Administration Cabinet for documents that granted the governor’s hiring and firing authority to another state official.

She turned to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office when she says the administration delayed turning over the records.

“Transparent and operational government for the people is huge for me,” she told the newspaper. “I don’t really care whose office or where the records are, it needs to happen.”

In a May 2 opinion, the attorney general’s office scolded the Finance Cabinet in a ruling for failing to give her a timely response or for explaining the delay. The AG’s office was also critical of the Bevin administration for requiring she inspect the records on-site within a three-hour window.

Bevin’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request from the newspaper for comment. But the governor has said on numerous occasions that he doesn’t know the circumstances behind Southworth’s firing.

Bevin dropped Hampton from his ticket in January as he launched his reelection campaign. Bevin chose state Sen. Ralph Alvarado as his running mate this year. Beshear is the Democratic nominee.