TEXAS
Federal judge refuses to halt DACA program

A federal judge in Texas has declined to order the U.S. government to stop an Obama-era program shielding young immigrants from deportation.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling Friday is a blow to opponents of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Hanen has questioned the legality of DACA in the past. But on Friday, he said opponents couldn’t prove that allowing the program to continue was causing irreparable harm. He said more harm would be done if the program ended.

Texas led a group of states in filing the lawsuit in hopes Hanen would rule DACA unconstitutional. That would have triggered a conflict with three other federal orders and likely drawn the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court. Texas was joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.

— Associated Press

ARKANSAS
Governor's nephew faces fraud charges

A nephew of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) resigned from the state Senate on Friday after being charged with spending thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal expenses, including a Caribbean cruise, tuition payments and groceries.

State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, a Republican who wasn’t seeking reelection, is charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. Federal prosecutors allege that from 2010 through 2017, he used campaign money to pay for personal expenses that also included Netflix fees, jewelry, a gym membership and his utility bills. They say he tried to hide it by falsifying campaign finance reports and tax filings.

Hutchinson, who is due in court Sept. 18, issued a statement saying he will fight the charges. His attorneys called the allegations “inaccurate.” Hutchinson resigned his Senate seat, effective immediately, in a letter the governor’s office received late Friday afternoon.

The governor issued a statement saying he supports his nephew’s decision to step down in the face of the charges.

“As an uncle, my heart aches for Jeremy’s children and expanded family. This is a tough time, and it will not get any easier in the coming months,” the governor said. “As a political leader, I know the United States Attorney always reminds the public that these charges are only allegations and he is presumed innocent, but the reality is that the charges alone undermine public confidence in our system of government.”

— Associated Press

KENTUCKY
Jury indicts father of state politician

A federal grand jury on Friday indicted the father of former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on charges that he used his company to fund her 2014 campaign and then lied about it.

Jerry Lundergan faces 10 counts that include unlawful campaign contributions, false statements and falsifying records. Dale Emmons, a veteran Democratic political consultant, was also indicted.

Lundergan is a former state lawmaker and chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. He has close ties to former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, both of whom came to campaign for Grimes during her failed 2014 bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell (R). Lundergan’s attorney denied the allegations, saying they were “wrong on the facts and wrong on the law.” He noted Grimes’s campaign and other committees together raised more than $25 million for her 2014 campaign.

Grimes is finishing up her second term as Kentucky’s secretary of state and is considering a run for governor in 2019. In a news release, Grimes said the charges were the result of “a politically motivated complaint filed against my campaign nearly five years ago.”

Grimes’ run against McConnell in 2014 was one of the country’s most expensive Senate campaigns that year.

— Associated Press