Politics & Government

Grand jury subpoenas records from Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaigns

Jerry Lundergan showed some fatherly pride after Alison Lundergan Grimes won the Democratic primary in her first race for secretary of state in 2011.
Jerry Lundergan showed some fatherly pride after Alison Lundergan Grimes won the Democratic primary in her first race for secretary of state in 2011. Staff File Photo

Records from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaigns for U.S. Senate and Kentucky secretary of state have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Lexington, as were records from her father, Jerry Lundergan.

Grimes is “not the target of any inquiry,” and the documents were sought “because she was the candidate in those campaigns,” according to a news release issued Monday evening by her attorneys, David Guarnieri and Jaron Blandford.

Guarnieri declined to comment on the nature of the documents that were subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, saying it is “just too premature in the process.”

His statement said that “ Grimes is proud of the races she has run, she is grateful to those who contributed time and money to her campaigns, and she has great confidence in the integrity and the skill of the members of her campaigns who worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with all campaign rules and regulations.”

Jerry Lundergan also was served with subpoenas last week for records and information both as an individual and from two companies he runs, according to a news release from his attorney, Guthrie True.

“Although Mr. Lundergan has not been informed concerning the existence of or the nature of any investigation, the subpoenas indicate that the inquiry relates to the political campaigns of his daughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes. There is no indication that Mr. Lundergan is the subject of any inquiry,” according to the release.

Lundergan, a former state representative and state Democratic Party chairman, “intends to cooperate and will respond to the subpoenas in a timely fashion,” the release stated.

Guarnieri also said Grimes was cooperating with the request, which involves only records, not testimony.

“That tells me this is very preliminary,” he said.

Grimes, a Democrat from Lexington, won a second term as secretary of state last year after losing a bid for the Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell in 2014.

During the 2014 campaign, questions arose about her use of a campaign bus owned by one of her father’s companies, Signature Special Event Services.

The Courier-Journal reported that SR Holdings and GCL Properties were the Lundergan companies from which records were subpoenaed.

Signature Special Events is the assumed name of SR Holding Co., as it is listed on the secretary of state’s website, while Carrick House, where Grimes held some campaign functions, is the assumed name of GCL, according to the website.

The Republican Party of Kentucky complained to the Federal Election Commission in 2014 that Grimes was using the bus at a discounted rate that amounted to an illegal in-kind contribution from a corporation. Concerns also were raised about whether the company held the proper permits from transportation authorities.

“Mr. Lundergan and his businesses made every effort to properly account for any contributions or services provided to Alison’s campaigns. We are confident that any investigation would confirm as much,” True’s statement said.

Lundergan resigned from his seat as a state representative in 1989, after he was convicted of using unlawful influence as a legislator to get a state catering contract. The conviction was overturned in 1993 on grounds that it should have been prosecuted as a misdemeanor, not a felony. By then, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor had expired.