Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Guilty Plea and Sentencing of Former State Representative Ben Waide
Attorney General Jack Conway today announced the plea of guilty and sentencing of former Kentucky State Representative Forrest “Ben” Waide, of Madisonville, Ky., for violations of Kentucky campaign finance laws.
This morning, in Franklin Circuit Court, Waide pleaded guilty to Attempting to Accept Illegal Campaign Contributions and Attempted Unlawful Campaign Expenditures. Waide received a 12 month jail sentence, which will be probated and supervised for two years. Waide, who served as a state representative from 2010 to 2014, has agreed to pay restitution to Liberty Rehabilitation and others in the amount of $7,754.12. After being indicted, Waide reimbursed Liberty Rehabilitation $7,566.24 bringing the total restitution amount to $15,320.36.
Waide’s crimes relate to his 2010 campaign for state representative and the results of an investigation conducted by Attorney General Conway’s Department of Criminal Investigations. The investigation was conducted in response to a January 2014 complaint filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF) by shareholders of Liberty Rehabilitation, PSC. Waide illegally accepted campaign contributions from Liberty Rehabilitation, a company in Madisonville where he was a partner. Waide also used campaign funds for illegal expenditures. Waide sought personal reimbursements for campaign advertising expenses that were either nonexistent or paid for by Liberty Rehabilitation.
“I appreciate the hard work of my Department of Criminal Investigations and my Office of Special Prosecutions for holding public officials accountable for violating campaign finance laws,” General Conway said. “These laws are in place to protect the voters in Kentucky from illegal and mismanaged elections and to ensure that there is accounting transparency in the record keeping of campaign finances and contributions.”
John C. Whitfield, counsel for Liberty Rehabilitation, stated "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. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Office of the Attorney General."
Attorney General Conway’s Department of Criminal Investigations investigated this case. The case was prosecuted by General Conway’s Office of Special Prosecutions. The Office of the Attorney General worked closely with KREF throughout the investigation, prosecution and ultimate resolution in this case.
Since 2008, investigations by General Conway’s Department of Criminal Investigations have led to public corruption related charges against over 120 individuals. Anyone aware of such illegal activity on the part of an elected or appointed official is encouraged to contact the DCI toll-free hotline at 866-524-3672 or email information to DCIFORCE@ag.ky.gov