KY Democrats allege coordination in complaint against Terry Stephens, David Williams

10/28/2011 12:26 PM

*UPDATED:*The Kentucky Democratic Party formally alleged illegal campaign coordination in this year’s gubernatorial race official by filing a complaint with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance today.

Kentucky Democratic leaders first raised the issue in public statements after it was revealed that Terry Stephens, a Kentucky businessman and father-in-law to Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams, was solely funding an outside Republican group called Restoring America.

Stephens and Williams’ campaign chairman denied any coordination in separate statements earlier this month. And in response to the KREF complaint, Williams’ campaign chair Donald Storm again denied any coordination.

“I have been assured that these charges are unfounded and untrue, and that the false, defamatory statements made by Daniel Logsdon in his individual capacity will be dealt with in due time,” Storm said in a statement. “…We expect the Registry to dismiss this complaint just as they did a nearly identical one in 2008.”

The case Storm is referring to is one made by the Republican Party of Kentucky against Beshear’s 2007 campaign governor and the Bluegrass Freedom Fund. KREF dismissed that case, which was based on the fact that the outside group and Beshear’s campaign shared the same donors.

Republicans argue that’s the same case the KDP is making now.

Restoring America has blanketed their TV ads across Kentucky, focusing mainly on attacks against Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat seeking re-election.

In the complaint, Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Dan Logsdon lists two reasons as evidence of coordination. First, that the group wasn’t set up before September 2011 and secondly, it didn’t focus on national issues, only the defeat of Beshear or support of Williams.

The complaint lists Restoring America Inc., the campaign group Restoring America, Stephens, Williams and Williams’ 2011 campaign as those involved in coordination.

Logsdon also points to Stephens’ funding of Restoring America as well as a Sept. 13 fundraiser Stephens held at his home for Williams as evidence of coordination.

You can read the entire complaint here: stephens_kref_complaint.pdf

The issue of coordination arose after Stephens disclosed he was Restoring America’s sole donor in order to get the group’s TV ads back on the air after Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued a restraining order taking them down.

Wingate ruled the ads were to be taken off the air because Restoring America did not list it’s contributors in it’s 32 day pre-election report.

After a failure of appeal to Kentucky’s Court of Appeals, Stephens then revealed himself as the donor and Wingate ended the restraining order.

Beshear’s campaign released its second ad about the issue today .

-Reporting by Kenny Colston

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