U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky Had Decade-Long Financial Tie To a Lobbyist
For more than a decade, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky, owned a $200,000-piece of West Virginia property with a lobbyist whose clients and employers had business before him in Congress, writes R.G. Dunlop, a reporter from WFPL's Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.Dunlop spent three months delving into Whitfield's relationship with a well-known, national lobbyist and discovered the pair had a longstanding financial partnership. You can read the full story published today by KyCIR here. The co-ownership of a property in the Greenbrier luxury resort raises questions about possible conflicts between Whitfield's role as a lawmaker and the business interests of the lobbyist, Juanita Duggan. Whitfield's wife is also a lobbyist and a partner in the property deal.Whitfield, who has represented western Kentucky's 1st District since 1994, would not comment for the story. Duggan acknowledged that she owned Lot 26 with Whitfield and his wife, but denied the arrangement was improper.
Six experts on ethics disagreed and said the partnership raises questions of propriety and potentially, legality. Jack Abramoff, a scandal-plagued lobbyist turned reform advocate, said Whitfield and Duggan's business relationship is troublesome."It doesn’t look right and it actually is a major reason why Americans are losing faith in their institutions.”
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reportingalso reports that the third owner of Lot 26 was Connie Harriman-Whitfield, the congressman's wife.