“Convicted former top KY Democrat makes a case for U.S. Supreme Court consideration”


A month after he reported to prison, prominent Kentucky businessman and former Kentucky Democratic Party chief Jerry Lundergan has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning his conviction for illegally funneling $200,000 to his daughter’s political campaign in 2014.

Lundergan petitioned the nation’s top court to review records from the criminal case that he lost in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The petition states that the federal ban on corporate contributions is unconstitutional when applied to contributions from a close family member, as Lundergan gave the money to his daughter Alison Lundergan Grimes in her 2014 challenge against Sen. Mitch McConnell. Grimes, a Democrat, was a two-term secretary of state serving from 2012 to 2020…

Rick Hasen, professor and Co-Director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the University of California, Irvine, wrote that it could justify an erosion of the federal ban on corporate contributions.

He added that Supreme Court justices with a distaste for regulation could jump at the opportunity. “It presents a specific set of sympathetic facts (here, the corporation is closely held, and the money went from the corporation controlled by the father to the candidate daughter) to make a much larger hole in campaign finance laws (to blow up the contribution limits applicable to corporations generally),” Hasen wrote.

“This is catnip for some of the more anti-regulatory justices.” He also compared elements of the case to that of the landmark Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision that greatly weakened federal limits on campaign spending.

Josh Douglas, an election law professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, said that he thought there was a “pretty good chance” the court would take it up. “While predicting what the Court will do is never an exact science, I think there’s a pretty good chance the Court takes the case,” Douglas wrote. “And if they do and overturn the conviction, it could be a narrow opinion that only applies to closely held corporations or a broader one that guts contribution limitations. Either way it would be a further step in deregulating campaign finance.”

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