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No mention of coal, EPA in secret recording of Grimes fundraiser

No mention of coal, EPA in secret recording of Grimes fundraiser

by Joe Arnold


Posted on June 10, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 10 at 2:29 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes did not mention coal or her concerns about changes to EPA carbon emissions regulations during secretly recorded remarks at a campaign fundraiser last week, yet her campaign says Grimes discussed the issues with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to a report by Politico on Monday.

Last week, her campaign said Grimes was "livid" about the new rule and pledged she would use the Washington, D.C. fundraiser with Reid "to share the stories of how Kentuckians are hurting and demand that the Senate take action to invest in clean coal technology.”

After the Thursday morning fundraiser, the Grimes campaign declined to respond to WHAS11's questions about her comments at the event. When an audio recording of both Reid's and Grimes' remarks at the fundraiser surfaced in Politico on Monday, Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst and a Reid spokesman each confirmed with Politico that Grimes had, indeed, addressed the issues with Reid in discussions separate from the fundraiser.

The campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell forwarded the link to Politico's article under the headline, "Alison Lundergan Grimes Caught Lying To Kentuckians."

Politico reported it had obtained the recording from a "source at the event," but did not report the source's identity or how the recording was procured.  The Grimes campaign did not dispute its authenticity, according to Politico.

The Grimes recording comes 15 months after a secretly obtained recording of a McConnell campaign strategy session was released by Mother Jones magazine.  On that recording, McConnell is heard comparing the targeting of potential challengers to the "Whac-a-mole" carnival game.  Aides are heard sharing opposition research about actress Ashley Judd's previous mental health issues. At the time, Judd was considering entering the race.

McConnell complained that his office had been bugged.  A federal investigation into that recording has, to date, not resulted in any indictments.

The Grimes recording underscores the importance of the Kentucky contest to national Democrats.

“Alison, I’m not only depending on you, and my 54 Democratic senators are depending on you, but our country is depending on you,” Reid is heard saying. “I say that as unequivocally as I can.”

During her remarks, Grimes indicates that she and Reid are in regular contact about her campaign, a potentially troublesome admission as the McConnell camp attempts to nationalize the race and link Grimes to Reid and President Barack Obama.

“The leader always tells me that when we talk as you all know, there are a lot of friends in this room who have been with this campaign before it was cool to be with this campaign,” she said. “And he always says when we talk on the phone, ‘Alison, it is quality not quantity.’”

Grimes also refers to Obama as "our president" during her remarks.

"You know Mitch McConnell's number one priority, as he said several years ago, was to make sure that our president didn't see another term," Grimes said.