Senator Mitch McConnell appears to have committed two separate felony offenses with his voter intimidation flyers, and that’s just under Kentucky state laws. The Kentucky GOP is beginning to look like a band of lawbreakers.
Per Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the McConnell flyer violates state law KRS 516.030. KRS 516.030 is Forgery in the Second Degree, which is a Class D felony for intent to deceive with falsely designed “official” “public” documents designed to trick voters into thinking they are government documents.
A second felony is possible for violating a KRS 119.155; unlawfully preventing or attempting to prevent a voter from casting their ballot or intimidation or attempts to intimidate any voter so as to prevent them from casting their vote. That’s another Class D felony. There is a reason why it’s a felony crime to interfere with democracy, and any “lawmaker” who is willing to break these laws to win an election is not someone who is suited to their job.
If this isn’t concerning enough, the Republican Party’s statement alone should be of concern to voters, frankly. Republican Party of Kentucky spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper (she of the DUI arrest by Lexington Police – something Texas Republicans say indicates a person must resign immediately, but up in Kentucky, it’s all good) dismissed Grimes’ concerns.
“Alison Lundergan Grimes spent hundreds of thousands of dollars smearing Mitch McConnell and his wife, but she’s upset about a mailer that holds her accountable for her blatant falsehoods.” Realizing she left out her biggest talking point perhaps as a result of her internship at Fox News or as the communications coordinator for the 2012 Romney for President campaign, Cooper added that Grimes is part of the “Obama campaign machine.”
Fearing that associating Grimes with a black President won’t get the job done, Kentucky Republicans have resorted to intimidating Democratic voters. If it walks like GOP Southern Strategy and it talks like GOP Southern Strategy…
Based on their statement, the Kentucky Republican Party would like voters to believe they do not understand the difference between legal and illegal tactics. This isn’t saying much for someone running as an alleged “lawmaker”, other than that Mitch McConnell knows what he can get away with and so he did it, gambling that it would suppress enough of the vote to be worth the bad press.
Perry County Clerk Haven King says you should not worry if you received one of these. “This means nothing; I don’t know what people are trying to do. There’s nothing fraudulent to my knowledge going on and the people in Perry County if you are registered to vote, you will be able to vote and you will be able to vote at your precinct.”
I’m not sure that was clear enough for voters. The facts are the McConnell campaign paid for these flyers, they take credit for it on the flyer and additionally issued a statement akin to sticking their tongue out at Grimes for being upset that they are intimidating voters. The election clerks need to be bold and accurate about who is behind these flyers, otherwise they risk enabling the intended deception. It is not electioneering to be accurate. The clerks need to say that the McConnell campaign put these out and they are wrong, voters need to dismiss them.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t want Kentucky coal country to vote, unless they vote his way. In order to accomplish this, McConnell appears to have committed two felonies with the purpose of intimidating, and suppressing through that intimidation, Democratic voters.
That’s not American; it’s despicable. It’s an act unfitting of a sitting U.S. Senator.
Reading the fearful notes from Kentuckians who received these flyers is heart breaking. Mitch McConnell needs to be held accountable for this, his greatest act of contempt upon the very people he represents.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.