October 15, 2018 Blog

KDP Files Ethics Complaints Against Covington Commissioner Huizenga for Use of Government Resources in State Rep. Campaign

On Monday, the Kentucky Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint with the Northern Kentucky Regional Ethics Authority against Covington City Commissioner Jordan Huizenga for misuse of government resources in violation of the City of Covington Code of Ethics.

Specifically, Commissioner Huizenga sent fundraising emails on at least 3 separate occasions in July and August of 2018 to at least 18 different government email addresses.

Emails obtained via Open Records Request from the City of Covington show that Commissioner Huizenga was asked by at least one City employee not to send campaign solicitations to City government email addresses. Commissioner Huizenga sent two additional solicitations including to the City employee who asked not to receive the fundraising emails.

The emails included campaign contribution solicitations for his campaign for state representative as well as electioneering communication advocating the support of a specific candidate in a political campaign.

The Covington Code of Ethics § 36.13(B) prohibits Officers of the City of Covington from using “any City time, funds, personnel, including the City’s email network, or other personal or real property…to support or oppose the political campaigns of any candidate.”

The Covington Code of Ethics § 36.19 states that Officers of the City of Covington “may not knowingly request, or authorize anyone else to request, that any subordinate or potential future subordinate participate, or not participate, in any political activity, including the making of a campaign contribution.”

This is particularly concerning because Commissioner Huizenga was one of three elected officials in Covington accused of receiving help in their political campaigns from City staff during the 2016 election cycle.

In 2017, in the aftermath of the dispute over the use of City resources during the campaign, the City of Covington updated the Code of Ethics to more clearly prohibit the use of City resources for electioneering. Commissioner Huizenga was a member of the committee tasked by the Covington Board of Commissioners to update the Code of Ethics.

“This is an improper use of government resources and a violation of the public trust,” said Nicole Erwin, Communications Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Jordan Huizenga should be fully aware of the prohibitions in the City’s Code of Ethics, he helped write them. For him to break such common sense rules in such a flagrant manner is appalling.”

Huizenga has struggled with basic ethics rules during his time as a Covington City Commissioner, and as a candidate for state representative. Several months ago, after the Kentucky Democratic Party filed a complaint, Huizenga admitted to the Kentucky Registry of Finance that he illegally transferred more than $6000 from his city commission campaign account to his state representative campaign account.