In the weeks before the Republican governor left office after his failed reelection bid, Bevin pardoned or reduced the sentences of at least 650 people. He pardoned a child rapist who was sentenced to 23 years in prison just last year. He also pardoned Patrick Baker, who served just two years of a 19-year sentence for reckless homicide and robbery in the slaying of a victim as his family watched. Baker’s brother hosted an event last year that raised $21,500 for Bevin.
Democratic State Rep. Chris Harris told Courier Journal reporters for an article published Monday that a criminal investigator contacted him last week and asked what he knew about Bevin’s pardons. The newspaper, citing sources, reported the investigator was an FBI agent.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin
Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin speaks at 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (L) talk at a meeting during the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin speak, during a prison reform roundtable in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on January 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. State and local leaders joined Trump to discuss programs intended to help prisoners re-enter the workforce among other policy initiatives. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin addresses the crowd as they wait for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for a campaign stop in Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017. REUTERS/John Sommers II
GEORGETOWN, KY - OCTOBER 30: Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin speaks at the unveiling of a new $80 million Toyota engineering headquarters October 30, 2017 in Georgetown, Kentucky. The 235,000 square foot state-of-the-art Product Engineering and Manufacturing Center (PEMC) is the final building constructed under the 'One Toyota' project. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FOUNTAIN RUN, KY - MAY 17: Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Matt Bevin greets voters at the Fountain Run BBQ Festival while campaigning for the Republican primary May 17, 2014 in Fountain Run, Kentucky. Bevin and Senate Minoriry Leader Mitch McConnell are campaigning heavily throughout the state during the final weekend before the Republican primary to be held May 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
FOUNTAIN RUN, KY - MAY 17: Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Matt Bevin holds newsborn Mary Halston Brandon at the Fountain Run BBQ Festival while campaigning for the Republican primary May 17, 2014 in Fountain Run, Kentucky. Bevin and Senate Minoriry Leader Mitch McConnell are campaigning heavily throughout the state during the final weekend before the Republican primary to be held May 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senate Republican primary candidate Matt Bevin (L) campaigns in a restaurant in Sligo, Kentucky, on April 23, 2014. Bevin, an unknown businessman, opposes Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader , with 30 years in the US Senate. Bevin launched an incendiary campaign on behalf of the Tea Party, to eject the McConnell, 72, in the Republican Senate primary to be held in May. AFP PHOTO / Ivan COURONNE (Photo credit should read Ivan COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 14: Matt Bevin, republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, talks with diners at the Village Restaurant in Liberty, Ky., April 14, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Matt Bevin, republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, high fives Isabelle Sester, right, and Katelyn Hall, both 10, during the Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot Out in West Point, Ky. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Matt Bevin, republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, talks with an attendee of the Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot Out in West Point, Ky. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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Harris said he doesn’t know if the investigation is formal or informal. “I can tell you, at least, there are questions being asked.” he said.
Bevin has said he welcomes an investigation, and denied that campaign contributions affected his decisions.
Politicians in both parties have expressed outrage at Bevin’s actions. The Democratic leader in the state Senate has called for an investigation.
“It’s clear there was political favoritism involved in these pardons,” Sen. Morgan McGarvey said Monday. “We have got to find out if the pardon power was abused and possibly sold to restore the public’s trust in the system.”
Baker has claimed he was framed. As for the child rapist, Bevin has apparently determined on his own that the rapist was innocent because the ex-governor said the 9-year-old victim’s hymen was intact — which does not prove rape did not occur, according to experts.