FRANKFORT, Ky. – The State Ethics Commission has officially alleged that Alison Lundergan Grimes, once a rising star of the State’s Democratic Party, abused her office for personal and political gain when she was Secretary of State.
On Thursday, the Executive Ethics Commission sent Grimes and his former Deputy Secretary of State Erica Galyon to “initiate orders,” which officially allege that they both violated the state’s code of ethics. .
Grimes faces two counts of violating the code of ethics. The first claims that she instructed her subordinates to upload information through the state’s voter registration system without going through the appropriate channels for “personal and private” purposes.
The second count claims that Grimes, ahead of the 2016 election, misused his position for the benefit of Democratic candidates.
“Grimes asked an independent contractor from his agency to create lists of newly registered Democratic voters, then had a junior employee email the lists to some Democratic candidates,” the order reads. “The lists were created using the voter registration system and were provided to candidates free of charge in a format that is not prescribed by law.”
Grimes could not immediately be reached for comment.
The commission also alleged that Galyon, who served as Assistant Secretary of State under Grimes in the late 2010s, improperly withheld media files in 2018-19. Galyon had previously given the same files to Grimes’ personal legal counsel and changed the files she ended up giving to the media, as per the order.
Grimes and Galyon have 20 days to respond once the documents are served. After that, the case is transferred to an Administrative Hearing Officer, a private lawyer under contract with the commission, who will hear the merits of the case and render a decision. Katie Gabhart, executive director of the Ethics Commission, compared the injunction function to that of a trial.
It is the first public document opening a case, where the ethics commission accuses a current or former public official of having violated the code of ethics and explains exactly what he is supposed to have done, she said. declared.
The couple could face a fine of up to $ 5,000 and a public reprimand. They also have the right to summon witnesses on their own behalf and to appeal any final order of the commission to the Franklin Circuit Court.
In early 2019, the Herald-Leader and ProPublica published a three-part series on Grimes’ conduct as Secretary of State. He first reported on the inappropriate use of the voter registration system by Grimes; the series also showed how Grimes gained unprecedented authority over the State Electoral Council, which allowed him to enter into an untendered contract with a company owned by a political donor and delay the action on a consent decree requiring him to clean the state voter Rolls.
Grimes was elected twice as Secretary of State, first in 2011 and then in 2015. She stepped down in 2019 due to term limits. She was considered a rising star in the state party when she ran against Mitch McConnell in the Senate in 2014, dropping more than 15 percentage points.
By the end of the month, Grimes ‘father Jerry Lundergan will report to federal prison, following a conviction in 2019 for funneling more than $ 200,000 in illegal contributions to Grimes’ senatorial campaign and conspired to cover it up.
The old Grimes office is now occupied by Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams.
Journalist John Cheves contributed to this report.
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