McConnell campaign seeks to frame Bevin as untrustworthy over tax lien claims

10/24/2013 05:34 PM

The campaign for five-term incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is questioning GOP primary challenger Matt Bevin’s credibility after a report surfaced this week showing Bevin failed to disclose tax liens when applying for a grant for his family’s bell business in Connecticut.

Buzzfeed first reported that Bevin checked a box stating the company did not owe any outstanding taxes on the property on the application for a $100,000 grant to rebuild Bevin’s family bell business after a fire.

As Buzzfeed reports Bevin Brothers Manufacturing did have a $74,243.89 federal tax lien. That should be cause for concern to voters, McConnell campaign advisors say.

The grant and its paperwork already provided fodder for McConnell.

As Bevin’s campaign argues the timing for this attack is convenient for McConnell as Bevin was endorsed Thursday by Gun Owners of America and last week the Senate Conservative Fund , which backs Tea Party candidates, offered their support.

In August, after Bevin entered the race, PolitiFact labeled the tax claims as “Mostly False.”

In a telephone conference call organized by Team Mitch and hosted by McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton – - with former Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northup, state Sen. President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and Pikeville attorney Allison Ball, who is a “Women for Team Mitch supporter” took turns vilifying Bevin for a “pattern” of “playing it fast and loose with the facts,” as Stivers said.

“I went to Harvard – I went there several times to visit my mothers Alma mater but I’m not gonna claim I went to school there,” Stivers said – referencing another foil for McConnell’s camp an M.I.T. resume blunder.

Ball, who works for Vanover, Hall and Bartley law firm which specializes in Personal Injury Law, Products Liability, Social Security Law and Negligence, told reporters on the call that Bevin “lied to get the money” for his business, and said that might be a crime.

“Making a false claim on a government application a lot of times that’s a crime,” Ball said.

In Connecticut making a false claim is a class A misdemeanor: (a) A person is guilty of false statement in the second degree when he intentionally makes a false written statement under oath or pursuant to a form bearing notice, authorized by law, to the effect that false statements made therein are punishable, which he does not believe to be true and which statement is intended to mislead a public servant in the performance of his official function.

The Connecticut Chief Attorney’s Office which handles criminal prosecution, and would receive a complaint if an instance of fraud occurred, told Pure Politics it is their policy not to speak on or make opinions on matters which may or may-not be up for investigation.

If an instance of fraud were to be investigated the complaint would likely have to come from the agency which believes fraud took place – in this instance that would be the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. The agency which gave Bevin’s company the $100,000 grant.

The Department did not immediately return a phone call from Pure Politics.

Bevin’s campaign released a statement shortly after the McConnell campaign held their press briefing calling the statements a “shameful display.”

“While Americans are suffering from his lack of leadership, Mitch McConnell is rehashing months old stories already thoroughly covered and vetted by the press – and found to be untrue by fact checkers. Quite frankly this is a shameful display unbecoming of the senior senator from Kentucky, and his attempts to distract voters from his liberal record are beyond desperate.”

Bevin’s campaign pointed to vetting on the issue by the Louisville Courier Journal and Fact Check which refuted ads run by McConnell and his supporters on the tax claims from August.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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