"BluegrassReport.org" is a dormant Democratic Party-oriented
political blogmostly covering Kentucky politics, especially with regards to former Governor Ernie Fletcher(R), as well as state governmentin general and federal government officeholders representing the state. The blog, which further covers ongoing intra-party operations, political issues and scandals, was started in June 2005 by Democratic consultant Mark Nickolas, former campaign manager for both Speaker of the Kentucky House Jody Richardsand U.S. House Rep. Ben Chandler's 2003 gubernatorial campaign. The blog, edited solely by Nickolas for most of its active period, described itself as "An Unfiltered and Candid Look at Politics, Politicians and the Media in Kentucky".
The chief recipient of the blog's criticism was Governor Fletcher. Fletcher and many of his subordinates were indicted as part of the state's 2005-2006 merit system investigation, and this, in addition to other controversies surrounding the Fletcher administration, had become the focus of a large number of posts. Other major targets have been
Kentucky Supreme CourtChief Justice Joseph Lambert, Republican Senate President David L. Williamsand former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan. [cite news|first=Joe|last=Biesk| url=http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/15106064.htm|title=Blogger looking to add viewpoints to Kentucky's political scene|publisher= Associated Press|accessdate=2006-07-23]
May 24, 2007, Nickolas announced on "BluegrassReport.org" that he would be moving with his girlfriend to Montana, her home state, at the end of the month. [ [http://www.bluegrassreport.org/bluegrass_politics/2007/05/thanks.html BluegrassReport.org entry: Thanks] ] Nickolas continued blogging up until a week before he closed the blog permanently on July 2. [ [http://www.bluegrassreport.org/bluegrass_politics/2007/07/bluegrassreport.html BluegrassReport.org entry: BluegrassReport.org (Jun 13, 2005 -- Jul 2, 2007)] ] In Montana, Nickolas started a new blog called "Rocky Mountain Report".
After an infusion of financial support, "BluegrassReport.org" was revived on
August 6, 2007to continue running at least through the 2007 Fall statewide campaigns in Kentucky.
Controversy and legal issues
In June 2006, the blog became the focus of a controversy involving a state government clampdown on the access of particular genres of
websites, including political blogs, where "BluegrassReport.org" amongst a range of blogs was blocked, while some blogs remained accessible, leaving a widely reported impression that the blocks were selective and perhaps political in nature. [cite news|first=Ian|last=Urbina|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/us/23kentucky.html| title=Besieged Kentucky Governor Draws Fire From a New Quarter|publisher= The New York Times|accessdate=2006-06-23] [cite news|first=Ryan|last=Alessi| url=http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/14888658.htm|title=State lifts blog ban on one Web site, but publisher of another mulls lawsuit|publisher= Lexington Herald-Leader|accessdate=2006-06-23] [cite news|first=Tom|last=Loftus| url=http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060624/NEWS01/606240385| title=State treasurer fights blockage of Internet sites; Miller criticizes Fletcher's action|publisher= The Courier-Journal|accessdate=2006-06-24] On July 10, 2006, Public Citizenfiled a lawsuit on behalf of Nickolas challenging the constitutionalityof the state government's blocking actions. [cite news|first=Roger|last=Alford| url=http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/15008157.htm|title=Washington group files suit on behalf on political commentator|publisher= Associated Press|accessdate=2006-07-23]
January 17, 2007, Nickolas was indicted on charges of willfully failing to file any state income tax returns for 2003, 2004 or 2005.cite news |first=Tom |last=Loftus |url=http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070117/NEWS0104/70117024 |title=BluegrassReport.org founder indicted |publisher= The Courier-Journal|date=2007-01-17 |accessdate=2007-01-17] "The Courier-Journal" reported that Nickolas told the paper he paid his state income taxes in full for those years in December 2006, after the state Revenue Cabinet informed him that he was under investigation. The " Lexington Herald-Leader" reported that Nickolas paid those taxes with checks from an account in the name of the nonprofit foundation through which he runs his blog. [cite news |first=John |last=Stamper |url=http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/16486147.htm |title=Blogger critical of Fletcher indicted on tax return charges |publisher= Lexington Herald-Leader|date=2007-01-18 |accessdate=2007-01-20] The case against Nickolas was dropped on May 18, 2007. [cite news |first=Tom |last=Loftus |url=http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070517/NEWS01/705170453/1008/NEWS01 |title=Tax case against Fletcher critic is dropped |publisher= The Courier-Journal|date=2007-05-18 |accessdate=2007-05-19]
"BluegrassReport.org" tied with "
Tennessee Guerilla Women" to win the 2005 Koufax Award for "Best State or Local Blog". [cite web| url=http://wampum.wabanaki.net/vault/2006/04/002603.html|title=2005 Koufax Awards --The Winners|accessdate=2006-06-23|first=Dwight|last=Meredith|date= 2006-04-03| publisher=Wampum]
* [http://www.bluegrassreport.org "BluegrassReport.org" blog]
* [http://www.rockymountainreport.com/ "Rocky Mountain Report" blog]
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