Democratic Attorneys General Association sets up independent group to influence AG race

07/14/2011 01:10 PM

The Democratic Attorneys General Association is launching an independent expenditure group to help influence this year’s election, due to the high profile and importance of this year’s attorney general race.

The Bluegrass Democratic Attorneys General Association was registered in early July with the Kentucky Registry of Election finance. Its chair, Travis Berry, declined to go into specifics about the group’s strategy. But he said they will be ready to compete in Kentucky.

“I think we’ve established a committee that will support the Democratic candidate in your state,” Berry said in a phone interview.

Barry said the DAGA has a gentleman’s agreement with its sister organization, the Republican Attorney Generals Association, that they will not attack each others’ incumbents. Berry said he understand that to mean the RAGA would not be getting involved in Kentucky.

Adam Temple, a spokesman for the RAGA, confirmed that such an agreement was in place and that his organization would not be involving in Kentucky’s race. But he added that he wasn’t sure P’Pool needed the RAGA’s help anyway.

“Conway’s record will allow him to lose with our involvement,” Temple said.

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway is running for re-election against Republican Hopkins County Attorney Todd P’Pool. Neither candidate had a primary and P’Pool has been fund-raising frequently since announcing his candidacy in January.

Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have thrown multiple fund-raisers for P’Pool, who has been able to raise his profile inside his own party during his time campaigning.

Conway has been a little bit slower to campaign, saying he wanted to focus on his job as attorney general after losing the 201 U.S. Senate race and recently having a second child with his wife, Elizabeth.

Kentucky is one of three states with an attorney general race on the ballot this year and Democratic candidates are the incumbents in Kentucky and Mississippi. Louisiana is the third state with an attorney general race this year.

The Kentucky-affiliated group already sent a July quarterly IRS report to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance with its registration papers. But it will have to file another 32-day pre-general election report with KREF when the deadline comes.

Because the DAGA sent a finance report to the KREF, it was released after Pure Politics requested the information under Kentucky’s open records laws. The report does not count as the group’s 32-day report, but is public record.

According to the finance report, the DAGA raised $232,650 between April 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011 and did not spend anything. The largest contributor to the DAGA was the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with donated $100,000 on May 18.

The Texas law firm of Nix, Patterson and Roach gave the DAGA $50,000. The National Rifle Association gave $2,500 and telephone provider AT&T gave $10,000.

In response to the DAGA forming its group, P’Pool’s campaign manager David Ray said the group’s spending won’t be enough to overcome P’Pool’s challenge to Conway.

“It’s not surprising that liberal out-of-state groups are once again trying to come to Jack Conway’s rescue,” Ray said in an e-mail. “Fortunately, there’s no amount of money that can rescue Jack from his liberal record of supporting Obamacare, an out-of-control EPA and runaway government spending.”

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


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