Grimes says she's disappointed in ethics decision, stays mum on donations

04/09/2014 12:19 PM

While Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes expressed disappointment in the Legislative Ethics Commission for not pursuing charges against a disgraced former lawmaker, she remained silent Wednesday on whether she will return the donation from that legislator.

Grimes, in a statement to Pure Politics, said she was “disappointed” that the Legislative Ethics Commission failed to get five votes necessary to find former Democratic Rep. John Arnold guilty of violating the ethics code. Three legislative staffers have accused Arnold of sexual harassment, including an incident witnessed by another lawmaker. Arnold resigned in September — nearly a month after the allegations became public.

Grimes once again condemned workplace harassment but didn’t address in her statement whether her campaign will give back the $250 Arnold contributed to her Senate campaign last year.

Grimes’ campaign spokeswoman did not immediately return messages from Pure Politics regarding the donation.

In addition, Elmer George, who cast the decisive vote Tuesday that ultimately let Arnold off the hook, gave $5,200 to Grimes’ Senate campaign on Dec. 31. He also gave the $1,000 maximum to Grimes’ secretary of state campaign in the both the primary and general elections in 2011.

Grimes said Wednesday in her statement:

“As I have always said, I will never tolerate discrimination or workplace harassment. Though I am disappointed in yesterday’s decision, I am glad that the Representative resigned. Protecting women from violence and harassment is personal to me. As Secretary of State, I led the effort to shield domestic violence victims, and my support for Kentucky women is unmatched in this race. I am the only candidate for U.S. Senate who supports the Violence Against Women Act, equal pay for equal work, and raising the minimum wage.”

Grimes declined to take questions from Pure Politics and the Lexington Herald-Leader about it Tuesday evening after speaking at a Fayette County Democratic event.

During her speech to the more than 200 Democrats, she once again made women’s issues and workplace fairness issues a major theme:

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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