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Prosecutor: Father of Alison Lundergan Grimes made secret donations during her campaign

Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in News & Features

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party and a prominent political consultant flouted federal campaign law to make illegal contributions to the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign of Alison Lundergan Grimes, a federal prosecutor argued Tuesday.

It is illegal for corporations to contribute to campaigns.

However, Grimes' father, Lexington businessman Jerry Lundergan, and strategist Dale Emmons, a close family friend, schemed to make secret donations to Grimes through Lundergan's companies, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate K. Smith said.

"They decided that rule did not apply to them," Smith told jurors as the trial for Lundergan and Emmons got underway in federal court in Frankfort.

But Lundergan's lawyer told jurors that some of the spending by Lundergan at issue in the trial was for activities that were not related to Grimes' campaign.

In other cases, Lundergan paid for some of Grimes' efforts in the early, hectic days before the campaign was fully staffed and unintentionally failed to get reimbursed by the campaign, Lundergan's attorney J. Guthrie True said.


When those oversights came to light later, Lundergan billed Grimes' campaign and it repaid the money, True said.

"The evidence is going to show that some mistakes were made," True told jurors, but Lundergan did not deliberately break any law.

Emmons' attorney, Brandon Wayne Marshall, said Emmons is an accomplished political consultant, but had no experience in the complex financial reporting required in federal campaigns.

Emmons "did not willfully break the law," Marshall told jurors.


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