A jury has found the father of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes guilty of illegally funneling contributions to his daughter’s 2014 campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday that Jerry Lundergan, former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, and Democratic consultant Dale Emmons were convicted on 10 and six counts, respectively. Prosecutors said the two had carried out a scheme to direct more than $200,000 in corporate contributions to Grimes’s campaign in violation of federal election laws, the Herald-Leader reported.
Reached by phone, Lundergan referred questions to his legal team.
J. Guthrie True, a lawyer for Lundergan, said his client plans to appeal.
“We are disappointed in the verdict but we understood from the outset that the deck would be stacked against us with prejudicial evidence that we believe was erroneously admitted,” True said in a statement. He added that Lundergan’s team is “confident that the campaign finance laws have been improperly applied in this case and that Mr. Lundergan will ultimately be vindicated.”
Grimes’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
The Lundergans are one of the most prominent families in Kentucky Democratic politics. In addition to serving twice as state Democratic Party chairman, Lundergan also served in the Kentucky state House. He has had a long-standing political rivalry with another Kentucky Democratic stalwart, former governor Steve Beshear.
Thursday’s verdict is the latest political setback for Grimes, who had been viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party even after her 2014 loss to McConnell. She was among the speakers at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and sharply criticized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for running for reelection at the same time that he pursued a presidential bid.
But earlier this year, Grimes began to run into trouble. ProPublica and the Herald-Leader published reports detailing accusations of a power grab by Grimes on the state Board of Elections. Grimes’s office also allegedly used the state’s voter registration system for partisan purposes. Grimes has denied the allegations.
Grimes’s office is under investigation by three state agencies, and in March, the Kentucky legislature passed a measure limiting Grimes’s authority over state elections.