A long-overdue legislative proposal in the Kentucky State Senate would shine the light on the Kentucky Attorney General’s use of private law firms to harass businesses and individuals.
Current law allows the Kentucky Attorney General to hire private attorneys to engage in legal battles. This practice not only wrongly gives private law firms the powers of the state and creates grotesque disincentives for benefiting financially because they get paid only by forcing businesses and individuals — who, unlike the state that hires these firms, do not have virtually unlimited time and resources to wage such legal battles — to ante up. The incentive here for law firms is payment, not justice.
At the very least, more transparency is needed when the Attorney General hires a law firm as one of its agents. The policy proposed by Senate Bill 189 requires a bidding process and an annual report in which the Attorney General’s office would be forced to justify the use of private firms by reporting on what they did, how many hours they spent on cases and how their involvement benefited the public.
The proposed policy, which likely will be heard on Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would force the same kind of transparency requirements upon Kentucky’s Attorney General that we find in many other states. Even more important, this approach would help mitigate the risk of the Attorney General’s office abusing his power through the use of these all-too-willing law firms.