Former state Rep. Forrest “Ben” Waide pleaded guilty Friday in Franklin Circuit Court to attempting to accept illegal campaign contributions and misspending campaign money.
Waide, a Republican from Madisonville, was indicted last summer related to his misuse of $10,000 in campaign contributions from Liberty Rehabilitation, a physical therapy clinic where he serves as president.
Another lawsuit, filed in January 2014, accused Waide of using over $30,000 in company money to fund campaign expenses. The complaint also alleged Waide billed the company for travel expenses while pocketing travel reimbursements from the legislature.
That lawsuit is still pending in Hopkins County Circuit Court.
In a statement, John C. Whitfield, the attorney for Liberty Rehabilitation, said “our position all along has been that Mr. Waide needs to accept responsibility for his actions and make amends. That process formally began today in Franklin Circuit Court.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, Waide received a suspended 12-month jail sentence, which he will have to serve only if he violates his two-year probation.
Waide will also pay an additional $7,754.12 in restitution to Liberty Rehabilitation and others. He has already reimbursed the company $7,566.24.
Waide was a major critic of EPA restrictions on carbon emissions and was a vocal member of the Friends of Coal organization.
He served as a state representative from 2010 to 2014, but didn’t run for reelection after his district was redrawn, pitting him against another Republican incumbent.
He ran for Hopkins County judge executive in 2014, but lost to incumbent Donald Carroll, a Democrat.