FRANKFORT, Ky. (CN) – A former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman and a party strategist were indicted Friday on claims that they made illegal corporate contributions to the failed U.S. Senate campaign of the chairman’s daughter, who now serves as Kentucky’s secretary of state.
On Friday, a federal grand jury in Lexington indicted former state party chairman Gerald Lundergan and veteran Democratic strategist Dale Emmons based on prosecutors’ accusations that they “willingly and knowingly” made corporate contributions totaling $194,270 to the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign of Lundergan’s daughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Companies are barred under federal law from making donations to U.S. Senate campaigns.
Grimes failed to unseat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in the 2014 election but is now Kentucky’s secretary of state.
Both men are charged with making illegal corporate campaign contributions, causing the campaign to file false statements with the Federal Election Committee, and falsifying documents to impede the FEC’s investigation.
The 31-page federal indictment was filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky by U.S. attorney Robert Duncan Jr.
According to the charging document, 71-year-old Lundergan and an employee of his emergency disaster services company, S.R. Holding Company Inc., advised Grimes’ campaign consultants and vendors to bill his company for work they did on his daughter’s campaign.
The company allegedly footed the bills and did not seek reimbursement, which qualified the financial help as campaign donations.
Prosecutors claim Emmons, 66, performed political consulting services for the campaign but billed Lundergan and his company, which paid him over $119,000.
Vendors also allegedly billed Emmons’ political consulting business, Emmons & Co., for over $38,000 worth of campaign services which were reimbursed by Lundergan.
The services provided by the campaign consultants and vendors included audio-video production, lighting, recorded telephone calls, campaign consulting, technological support services and other campaign-related expenses.
The Grimes campaign allegedly was not aware of the payments, which caused it to file false reports with the FEC.
Grimes responded to the indictment in a Facebook statement Friday.
“These allegations started as a result of a politically motivated complaint filed against my campaign nearly five years ago. That complaint was already investigated and completely dismissed by the bipartisan Federal Election Commission… when all of the facts are in, my father will be vindicated,” she said.
Grimes is currently serving her second term as secretary of state and may run for governor next year.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond Friday to an email request for comment.