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AG asked to look into Fayette election

FRANKFORT — Attorney General Jack Conway has been asked to investigate who was behind campaign flyers critical of Urban County Councilman Jay McChord during his 2006 race for the Urban County Council.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance voted unanimously at its meeting Friday to refer the case to the attorney general's office for investigation and possible criminal charges stemming from possible campaign finance violations.

At issue in the case is who was behind campaign flyers sent to voters in the days leading up to the November 2006 general election. The direct mail advertisements accused McChord of representing developers who donated to his campaign, not Lexington citizens. Another mailer said McChord was a lackey for then-Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon, who had donated to McChord's 2005 campaign. McChord beat Wanda Mattingly for the 9th District seat.

Mattingly could not be reached for comment, but she had said shortly before the 2006 election that she had nothing to do with the flyers or the group behind them, the Citizens for Responsible Government.

An investigation by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance found that the Citizens for Responsible Government might have links to Lexington developer Dennis Anderson, who McChord said was unhappy with his vote in a zoning case involving one of Anderson's developments.

But Anderson said he first heard of the investigation when the Herald-Leader contacted him Sept. 18. Anderson contacted his attorney on Monday to "find out what this is all about."

In the meantime, "The attorney advised me to not say or do anything until we find what in the world is going on," Anderson said.

According to a report by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, there were several unanswered questions about who was behind the Citizens for Responsible Government. In its report, the registry concluded the reports that Citizens for Responsible Government sent the registry regarding its expenses were "false" and appear to "have been purposefully altered to conceal an alternate address and identity of other person(s) or a corporate agent who may have directly funded the association and authorized the association's expenditures."

Citizens for Responsible Government listed a Pikeville post office box as its address, but the box is no longer in service.

The registry asked for billing records from the printer of the mailer — Jordan-Chiles, which is now Meridian-Chiles Communications. The forms Citizens for Responsible Government sent the registry appeared to have been altered "to conceal an alternative address of Citizens for Responsible Government."

The group spent $18,000 in the race, according to election finance reports.

That alternative address was for Anderson Communities, which is a for-profit company whose registered agent is Dennis Anderson, the report found.

McChord said Friday that he hoped Attorney General Jack Conway would further investigate the case and prosecute if campaign finance laws were violated.

McChord said that he voted against the zoning request by Anderson in 2006 because the development in question would have increased traffic in the area.