Governor Andy Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers respond to special examination

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Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) -The Kentucky State Auditor’s Office announced it will conduct a special examination of Governor Andy Beshear’s administration’s handling of disaster relief funds.

The funds were given to the state of Kentucky from around the world.

The money was issued to people who were impacted by the 2022 tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky and the Eastern Kentucky floods that killed 45 people and left many more without a home.

Co-chairs of the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee, Representative Adam Bowling and Brandon Storm, said more than 200 checks from these funds were issued to people who did not request the money.

Questions were raised regarding the transparency of these funds.

State Senate President Robert Stivers said it is important that Beshear’s administration be open to the audit and strive for transparency.

”There’s no finger pointing that there is anything wrong or that anything has gone wrong, but transparency should be the rule of the day,” Stivers said. “What does it hurt to audit and review something? It’s an audit. Welcome people in. Show the books.”

However, Governor Beshear said these funds are “the most transparent disaster relief funds that [he] knows about.”

“We’re fully transparent with these funds but announcing a special examination after we’ve already testified and got it into law three months and a couple weeks before an election everyone can see what that is,” Governor Beshear said. “Let’s stop playing politics with two really important funds that are providing tens of millions of dollars of relief and help to our families.”

Governor Beshear said the error rate of the checks that were sent out was less than one percent, the best error rate his administration has seen in any disaster recovery operation.

He said all of the addresses and names came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Of all the checks that were returned and canceled, Governor Beshear said there were only 15 or 19 they believed to be fraud and were turned over to authorities.

The remaining checks in question were “regular things that can happen like a misspelling.”

Governor Beshear said the small percentage of error indicated the tens of thousands of dollars got into the right hands.