Following an FBI investigation, Kentucky-based Democratic consultant Dale Emmons was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury in Lexington on charges stemming from work he allegedly did for Alison Lundergan Grimes’ 2014 Senate campaign that wasn’t reported to the FEC.
Emmons, a former president of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), was charged with one count of conspiracy and making corporate campaign contributions, two counts of causing the submission of false statements, and two counts of causing the falsification of documents with the intent to obstruct and impede.
Grimes’ father, Jerry Lundergan, was also charged. He faces one count of conspiracy, one count of making corporate campaign contributions, four counts of causing the submission of false statements to the FEC, and four counts of causing the falsification of documents with the intent to obstruct and impede a matter within the FEC’s jurisdiction.
In the indictment, the feds allege Lundergan used money from a company he owned, S.R. Holding Company Inc., to pay for services like video production, robocalls and consulting work for his daughter’s challenge to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
Lundergan and an executive who worked for him approached vendors to do the work on behalf of Grimes, but bill S.R. Holdings Co. instead, the indictment said. The payments referenced in the indictment allegedly totaled $194,270.39 over time.
According to the indictment, Emmons received $119,145.45 from Lundergan’s company.
“Emmons also used the funds of his corporation, Emmons & Company Inc., to pay other vendors and a campaign worker for services rendered to the campaign,” according to the DOJ release. Emmons and an associate who worked for him “paid $38,603.80 to these vendors for recorded telephone calls, technological support services, and other campaign-related expenses.”
Emmons “sought and received” compensation from Lundergan and S.R. Holding Co. for his services, the feds allege.
The indictment also alleges that Lundergan and Emmons were “aided and abetted by one another,” and concealed these activities from the campaign team.
As a result, the Grimes campaign “unwittingly” filed “false reports with the FEC, in that the reports failed to disclose the source and amount of the corporate contributions.”
Moreover, the indictment states that Lundergan,71, a former chairman of the Kentucky Democrats, didn’t seek reimbursement from the campaign at the time of their work, and only sought “partial reimbursement” from Grimes’ camp “after the issuance of grand jury subpoenas and the execution of search warrants seeking information concerning the conspiracy.”
On his firm’s website, Emmons noted his earlier work for Grimes.
“Most recently Emmons helped guide Alison Lundergan Grimes, a young female attorney, to victory to become Kentucky’s Secretary of State. On the road to victory defeating the Democratic Governor’s endorsed incumbent in the Primary, went on to become Kentucky’s top Democratic vote getter in November becoming Kentucky’s youngest and only female statewide office holder.”
Emmons did not respond to a request for comment from C&E.
Grimes on Friday issued a statement defending her father. “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,” Grimes wrote on Facebook. “I love my father, and I have faith in the judgment and fairness of the people of Kentucky, and believe when all of the facts are in, my father will be vindicated.”
The pair face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
“Dale Emmons is a former president of our Association and a friend to many of us," AAPC President Tom Shepard said in a statement. "There is no room in our politics, or in our profession, for the kind of behavior the government alleges. We believe in due process, and will withhold judgement pending the outcome of the judicial process. We hope the facts are on Dale’s side and he is able to clear himself. If not, the matter will be referred to our ethics committee for a recommendation on further action.”