527 group created to "support Democratic candidates" in 2011 Ky. elections

06/15/2011 10:57 AM

A new 527 group has been set up to help Kentucky Democratic candidates this fall’s statewide election.

The Bluegrass Committee for Justice and Fairness registered with the IRS on June 6. The filings lists Dana Bykowski, of Hilltop Public Solutions in Washington D.C., as the group’s director. Pam Knight is listed as the only other director of the organization, which includes a Lexington address on Nicholasville Road.

You can see the group’s listing “here”:BluegrassCommitteeFiling.pdf

Independent political groups often are set up under the section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. That gives them tax-exempt status and also allows them to collect unlimited amounts of money from donors, as opposed to candidate and political party committees that are governed by state and federal donation limits.

Reached by phone, Bykowski declined to say much about the group, including how much they intend to raise or if they are targeting any specific races.

She did confirm that the new 527 group would be “supporting Democratic candidates” in the 2011 elections.

She said the group would be releasing more information about its purpose later than month.

Some firms, such as Hilltop Public Solutions, specialize in running 527 organizations. It’s unclear what Hilltop’s ties to Kentucky are.

Bykowski is a former spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an organization in which Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Abramson was heavily involved while serving as Louisville’s mayor.

Bykowski also was director of surrogate media operations in Michigan for the presidential slate of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman in 2000.

The Kentucky 527 group bears a similar name to another 527 group, Committee for Justice and Fairness that ran ads in the Kansas Attorney General’s race for then Democratic Attorney General Steve Six.

In an ad on the Committee for Justice and Fairness website, Bykowski is listed as the chairwoman for that organization as well. The group changed its name in 2010 from Consumers United for Fairness and Safety to the Committee for Justice and Fairness.

And in 2010, the Committee for Justice and Fairness received contributions from the Democratic Attorney General’s association to support Six’s candidacy.

The Committee for Justice and Fairness also lists the economy and consumer protections as issues it plans to advocate on.

Hilltop’s founder is former campaign manager Nicholas Baldick, former national campaign manager for John Edwards’ presidential campaign in 2004.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s campaign manager Bill Hyers also worked for Edwards.

Earlier this spring, the Republican Governors Association filed papers to lay the groundwork for an affiliated group to form and spend money in Kentucky in the governor’s race. So far that organization has not become active.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston with additional reporting by Ryan Alessi

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