Kentucky Attorney General Backs Away from First Amendment Suit

Related to an earlier post about columnist John Rosemond, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway today released the following:

Here’s the text:

Attorney General Jack Conway today clarified some misinformation that has been reported recently by some media outlets and in some editorials regarding the John Rosemond case.

“Mr. Rosemond, a nationally syndicated advice columnist, was sent a cease and desist letter by the Kentucky Board of Psychology. I did not write that letter, I did not authorize that letter and the letter was not sent on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General,” General Conway said.

In Kentucky, state boards and agencies may hire attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General to serve on an hourly basis as board or agency attorneys. In this capacity, as counsel to the board, an attorney from the Office of the Attorney General sent this letter. The attorney sent the letter at the direction of the board and sent the letter as the board’s attorney. The action had nothing to do with the Office of the Attorney General.

The attorney inadvertently printed the letter on Office of the Attorney General letterhead. This is not proper procedure, and all attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General have been reminded that if they are doing business of (sic) behalf of a board, they should use the letterhead of that board.

Interesting. The question now is this: How often has this kind of threat been used where an individual believes he’s actually being threatened by the top law enforcement officer in the commonwealth? Do other states engage in this kind of “delegation” of law enforcement authority?

Interesting also that this is in no way an apology for the actions of an attorney in an office under his direction.

Kentucky Attorney General v. Free Advice

In a parallel universe, U.S. Senator Jack Conway is presently writing legislation to license all newspaper columnists who purport to provide free (and worth it!) advice. In this universe, he’s just trying to shut down one columnist for advising without a license.

From the video description:

In May 2013, John Rosemond—America’s longest running newspaper columnist—received an astonishing order from the Kentucky attorney general: Stop publishing your advice column in the Bluegrass State or face fines and jail. The attorney general and Kentucky’s psychologist licensing board believe that John’s column, which is syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide, constitutes the “unlicensed practice of psychology” in Kentucky when it appears in a Kentucky newspaper. Kentucky’s crackdown is part of a national surge in the abuse of occupational licensing laws to censor advice.

Kentucky’s already got a poor track record with occupational licensing.

An additional note to Jack Conway: The Institute for Justice has both the capacity and will to make your office look foolish, unprincipled, shortsighted and craven on a very public stage should you choose to dig in for the long fight.

Fancy Farm 2010

For any politico, there may be nothing more refreshing and raw than the Fancy Farm picnic held each year in Western Kentucky. I’ve tried to describe it to people before, but experience it during an intense election cycle and you’ll see that the event defies clear explanation.

C-SPAN thankfully was able to attend this year. Have a taste.

Update: Via a commenter, I learn that C-SPAN used the KET feed.