Operation Boptrot

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Operation Boptrot, also referred to as Boptrot, was an investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into corruption among the Kentucky General Assembly, the Commonwealth's legislature. The operation was highly successful, with the investigation culminating in several indictments in 1992, leading to the conviction of more than a dozen legislators between 1992 and 1995. The investigation also led to reform legislation being passed in 1993.

Operation Boptrot[edit]

The sting, dubbed Operation Boptrot, involved legislators who accepted bribes and other illegal inducements to support horse-racing legislation in Kentucky. The FBI's original targets were the Business, Organization, and Professions Committees (the "BOP" in BOPTROT) in the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky Senate. Those two committees oversaw state laws regulating horse racing (the "trot" in BOPTROT). The exposé was especially notable for revealing how cheaply the legislators were willing to sell their votes.

Convictions as a result of Boptrot[edit]

Legislators convicted as a result of Operation Boptrot included:

  • House Speaker Don Blandford (D) pleaded guilty after 1992 indictment on charges of extortion, racketeering and lying. He was sentenced to 64 months in prison and was fined $10,000.
  • Rep. Jerry Bronger (D) was indicted in 1992 and later pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted $2,000 in exchange for blocking legislation that would hurt harness race tracks. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
  • Rep. Clay Crupper (D) pleaded guilty after 1992 indictment and was fined $10,000 on charges of interstate travel in aide of racketeering.
  • Sen. Helen Garrett (D) was charged in 1992 with taking a $2,000 bribe from a track in exchange for helping pass legislation. She pleaded guilty and received four years probation.
  • Sen. John Hall pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges stemming from 1992 indictment in Operation BopTrot.
  • Rep. Ronny Layman (R) was indicted in 1992 on charges of conspiracy to commit extortion and making false statements to the FBI. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months of home detention and community service.
  • Sen. David LeMaster (D) was indicted in 1993, and acquitted of extortion and racketeering, but convicted of lying. He was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $30,000, but served just one day after resigning from the legislature.
  • Rep. Bill McBee was sentenced to a 15-month prison term for his role in Operation BopTrot.
  • Sen. Virgil Pearman pleaded guilty after 1993 indictment charging that he took an illegal $3,000 campaign contribution. He was sentenced to three months in a halfway house, probation and was fined $5,000.
  • Sen. John Rogers (R), then the Minority Leader in the Kentucky Senate, was sentenced in 1994 to 42 months in prison after conviction on charges of extortion, conspiracy, attempted extortion, mail fraud and lying to the FBI.
  • Sen. Art Schmidt (R) pleaded guilty to a 1993 indictment for withholding the fact that he took a $20 cash payment from another senator tied to Operation BopTrot. He was sentenced to probation and fined $2,500.
  • Sen. Landon Sexton (R) pleaded guilty after 1994 indictment charging that he took an illegal $5,000 cash campaign contribution. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive weekends in jail, home detention for two months and probation for two years. In addition he was fined $5,000.
  • Rep. Bill Strong pleaded guilty after 1993 indictment charges that he took an illegal $3,000 campaign contribution and did not deposit the money into his campaign fund. He was sentenced to three months in a halfway house, probation and was fined $3,000.
  • Rep. Richard Turner (R) plead guilty to a 1993 charge that he filed a false campaign finance report. Charges that he took an illegal $3,000 cash campaign contribution were dropped.
  • Sen. Patti Weaver (D) pleaded guilty after 1993 indictment charging that she was promised help finding a job in exchange for support of legislation. She was sentenced to weekend incarceration, probation and community service and was fined $10,000.

Others convicted included:

  • Lobbyist John W. "Jay" Spurrier, the "dean of the Frankfort lobbyist corps"[1]
  • Buel Guy, a former legislator serving as the top aide to the House Speaker, Don Blandford[2]
  • Bruce Wilkinson, the nephew of then-Governor Wallace Wilkinson, who was serving as the governor's appointments secretary; Wilkinson was convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion and sentenced to three years prison and a fine of $20,000, the amount of a bribe he was convicted of taking[3]

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