Farmer Donates Furlough Salary, Apologizes
Caving to political pressure, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has apologized for not participating in furlough days ordered by Gov. Steve Beshear and has donated portions of his salary to charity.Earlier this month, Farmer, who is running for lieutenant governor, rejected the plan because he disagreed with unpaid days for state employees.The former Mr. Basketball earns over $100,000 annually in the position, but refused to join other statewide elected officials who wrote personal checks for a day’s pay as part of the cost-cutting measure.In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, however, Farmer reversed his position and said he gave $1,000 to Capitol City Christian Church and another $1,000 to the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund that will cover five furlough days. For the sixth unpaid day, Farmer indicated he will make another donation to a charitable organization next month.The reimbursement woes aren't over, however. The Kentucky Democratic Party has asked that Farmer pay back taxpayers for spending over $1,500 for a four-night stay at a luxury hotel during a basketball tournament held in Lexington last month.Farmer has defended the expenditures—for now.