The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the pardons Matt Bevin issued during his last weeks as Kentucky governor, The Courier-Journal reports.
According to the publication, State Rep. Chris Harris was contacted by criminal investigators who asked him what he knew about Bevin’s pardons.
Harris, a Democrat, did not elaborate on what questions were asked, and he declined to say which law enforcement agency contacted him.
“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,” he said. “The impression I got is that there was an investigation ramping up.”
However, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told The Courier-Journal reported that an FBI agent had spoken with Harris.
Bevin has received national criticism for pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 650 people following his failed reelection bid in November.
“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,” Harris said.
At that press conference, Harris and state Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, called for state and federal investigators to look into Bevin’s pardons.
McGarvey, the Senate’s Democratic floor leader, said he has not been contacted by investigators. But he said an investigation is needed.
“It’s clear there was political favoritism involved in these pardons,” McGarvey said Monday. “We have got to find out if the pardon power was abused and possibly sold to restore the public’s trust in the system.”
Bevin has defended his controversial pardons. He went into explicit detail during a radio interview Dec. 19 about the pardon of Micah Schoettle, 41, who was convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of said investigation.”