FRANKFORT — A Lexington attorney has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler's re-election campaign illegally coordinated ads with an independent expenditure group.
The complaint filed by Mark A. Wohlander deals with an ad launched last week by Patriot Majority USA that touts Chandler and his role in Medicare.
Wohlander has contributed to the campaign of Chandler's rival, Republican Andy Barr, but said he was not asked by Barr or anyone in the Barr campaign to file the complaint. Chandler and Barr are in a rematch this year for Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District seat. Chandler narrowly beat Barr in 2010.
The 30-second ad uses footage of Chandler that also appeared in Chandler's 2010 campaign ads. The spot is scheduled to run about two weeks on local television, at a cost of about $45,000.
As an independent expenditure group, Patriot Majority USA may run ads involving candidates but may not coordinate with them.
Patriot Majority USA was founded by Craig Varoga, a national Democratic consultant who worked with Bluegrass Freedom Fund, a group that backed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in his two bids for governor.
Varoga said Tuesday in an email that Patriot Majority USA used footage of Chandler that is publicly available on YouTube. He said he had "zero contact" with the candidates involved.
Eric Nagy, Chandler's campaign manager, called Wohlander's complaint "utterly baseless" and said the campaign "has not coordinated with this or any other super PAC in any capacity."