Pence has been quiet lately, despite over the summer attacking Attorney General Greg Stumbo's investigation as being politically motivated. Pence, a former federal prosecutor, would not say whether he stood by Fletcher's decision to pardon nine current or former members of his administration who had been charged with misdemeanors stemming from the investigation.Shame on you, Lt. Governor Steve Pence. As Yoda would say, "A spine, you have not."
"I'm lieutenant governor," Pence said. "I'm not the co-governor, and I stand behind the governor."
Unlike other members of Fletcher's executive cabinet, Pence did not attend the Capitol rally in August in which Fletcher announced he was giving a blanket pardon to anyone who could be charged in Stumbo's investigation.
Fletcher pardoned nine people specifically who had been charged with various misdemeanors in the investigation. He subsequently fired nine people - four of whom received pardons - for their role in the administration's personnel practices.
Pence would not say whether he agreed with the governor's recent handling of the situation. The former U.S. Attorney made his name a decade ago prosecuting a group of state legislators in an influence peddling scheme code-named Operation Boptrot.
In June, Pence criticized the investigation and the Franklin County special grand jury's decision to indict members of the administration on misdemeanor charges. At the time, Pence said, "As a New York Court of Appeals judge once said, 'You could get a ham sandwich indicted.'"
And, during the 2003 governor's race, Pence had said pardons would not happen during a Fletcher administration.
"I'm not going to address the pardons any further. That's the governor's decision and his authority, given to him by the constitution, is to give pardons," Pence told reporters outside his Capitol office today. "I'm sure that the governor did what he believes is the right thing - not just for those individuals, but I believe he believes he did the right thing for the commonwealth. That's behind us now, so I've really got nothing else to add."
Pence said he would focus on helping promote Fletcher's initiatives, and help on Medicaid and education. He said he would also continue work as head of the state's Justice Cabinet by pushing for tougher penalties for child sexual assaulters, Pence said.
"The thing is I think the governor has said everything that needs to be said and probably can be said about that," Pence said. "I mean as I say, I think there are things that are far more important to the people of the commonwealth than the hiring investigation."
I expected better from you. I hold you to your word from 2003 about pardons. What do we see? Nothing, a spineless politician who hides behind the governor. Vice President Al Gore distanced himself from President Clinton. Your remarks tonight do not help. I move for a vote of no confidence in the Fletcher-Pence administration and encourage the state legislature to do the same and start filing articles of impeachment. This is the last straw. Democrats do it better. We know how to govern. Put Jerry Abramson in the governor's office. Or Ben Chandler. Or Jonathan Miller. Crit Luallen. Jody Richards. The list goes on and on. Democrats know how to govern and we do it honestly. We don't lie.