Ky. Family Values brings up ethics, taxes in new attack ad against Matt Bevin

09/18/2015 01:43 PM

UPDATED: The Democratic super PAC Kentucky Family Values unveiled a new television ad against Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin on Friday, focusing on a questionable filing with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and a past tax issue involving a lien against his family’s bell-making business.

KFV said in a news release that the spot, titled “Trailer” and played out inside a faux empty movie theater, “details the record of Bevin, who was called the ‘East Coast Con Man’ by the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” That’s a strategy that’s been followed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway, the Kentucky Democratic Party and other groups opposed to Bevin’s candidacy.

“It’s Bevin who failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest on an official state ethics form, and now we learn Bevin failed to tell the truth about having a federal tax lien when he filled out an application for his company and received a $100,000 taxpayer bailout,” a male narrator says in the 30-second ad, which can be viewed here. “Why should Kentucky trust Matt Bevin?”

Bevin campaign spokeswoman Jessica Ditto dismissed the ad as an act of desperation.

“It is laughable that the Democrats are so desperate that they would say that Matt has tried to hide his association with Bevin Bells,” she said in a statement. “This just shows that they have nothing of substance to offer and will do anything to mislead voters.”

Dave Contarino with KFV said in a statement that Bevin “clearly has a lot to hide, because otherwise he would have released his taxes and told the truth about his numerous out-of-state financial problems.”

“Our new ad on Matt Bevin’s East Coast Con Job started today in Louisville and Lexington and we plan to air it statewide,” he said.

The spot relies on a report by The Associated Press in June, which raised questions of Bevin’s financial disclosure statement that omitted positions held with East Hampton, Conn.-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing and Boston-based AcademicMerit.

Bevin’s campaign said at the time that reporting his position with the holding company of both businesses, Integrity Holdings, satisfied ethics requirements while the head of the ethics commission, Kathryn Gabhart, expressed her belief that all of Bevin’s business positions should be listed on the form.

Gabhart told Pure Politics Friday that Bevin had not filed an amended financial disclosure statement. She could neither confirm nor deny whether the commission has requested additional information from the candidate.

The KFV spot also included a previous knock against Bevin, saying he failed to disclose tax liens totaling more than $74,000 against Bevin Brothers Manufacturing when the company sought a $100,000 grant from the state of Connecticut to rebuild after it was destroyed in a fire.

While the ad makes it seem that the issue is new, the claim actually relies on a 2013 BuzzFeed News article during Bevin’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. Bevin said in the report that because the company was on a payment plan to settle the liens, that satisfied the requirements of the grant application.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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