In 1986 Calvert Bratton, then the president of the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association, was caught on an FBI videotape delivering a $500 bribe to Don Blandford, speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives at the time. Earlier this month Bratton was named chief administrative officer of the Kentucky Racing Commission (KRC), a $55,000-a-year government position that includes supervising the collecting of licensing fees from racetracks and coordinating the collection of pari-mutuel taxes with the Revenue Cabinet, roughly Kentucky's equivalent of the IRS.
Bratton was never charged with a crime; he testified in 1992 before a grand jury that he had made the payment at the request of the chairman of the Kentucky Harness Racing Commission and that he did not take part in a scheme to pay lawmakers for support of legislation favorable to horse racing. Still, after testifying, he was fired from the Department of Revenue, where he was employed as a commissioner in—get this—the Revenue Cabinet.
Logic says an organization that asks for public trust would not hire someone tainted by an investigation that led to the conviction of 14 legislators for accepting illegal payments. But logic isn't running the KRC. Says Richard (Smitty) Taylor, the commission's recently appointed chairman, "We have the right to hire whom we please."