Politics

Attorney General Andy Beshear says he got an unsolicited text message from Gov. Matt Bevin Tuesday evening calling his office an “embarrassment to the Commonwealth.”

In a screenshot of the text released by Beshear, the message reads:

beshear-bevin-textAttorney General Andy Beshear’s office

Bevin’s office confirmed that the governor sent Beshear a text but accused the attorney general of manipulating the message to exclude a link Bevin included. The link was to a Herald-Leader article that detailed allegations of misconduct by an investigator in the attorney general’s office.

Amanda Stamper, Bevin’s press secretary, accused Beshear of attempting to mislead reporters.

“Is it any wonder that multiple employees who work for the AG’s office have so little regard for the truth and the rule of law,” Stamper said in an emailed statement. “The governor was correct. The deceitful behavior of the AG and a number of his staff are an increasing embarrassment to Kentucky. We all deserve better.”

Beshear’s spokesman, Terry Sebastian, said the attorney general received the link and the text in two separate messages.

“The fact remains that instead of working with our office, the governor chose to spend his time sending an attacking text to the attorney general instead of governing the Commonwealth,” Sebastian said.

The text is the latest spat in an ongoing feud between the Republican governor and Democratic attorney general.

Bevin has approved a $500,000 contract for a law firm to investigate alleged corruption in the administration of his predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear, Andy Beshear’s father.

Weeks after taking office, Bevin removed former first lady Jane Beshear’s name from the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. He also removed her name from an education center next to the state Capitol building.

For his part, Andy Beshear has sued Bevin three times — over Bevin’s mid-year budget cuts to public colleges and universities, Bevin’s reorganization of the University of Louisville board of trustees and reorganization of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board.

Former Gov. Beshear has also been a vocal opponent of Bevin’s overhaul of healthcare in Kentucky by scrapping the state health exchange and applying to change the Medicaid expansion.

Beshear said the text message was the first he had received from Bevin.

“Being the adult in the room, I did not respond,” he said.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.