Kentucky Dem Renting Campaign Bus on the Cheap From Her Dad

Grimes using fathers company to help campaign
Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) relaxes on her campaign bus / AP

Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) relaxes on her campaign bus / AP

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Alison Lundergan Grimes’ 45-foot-long campaign bus was purchased by her father’s company and is being rented to the campaign at a discount in apparent violation of campaign finance laws, according to Politico Pro.

Left unmentioned amid the hubbub is this: Her father’s company acquired the bus just as the campaign got under way last year — and is renting it to his daughter for a fraction of what other companies would typically charge, according to a POLITICO analysis. Federal campaign finance law bars a campaign from receiving goods and services below the fair market value from a corporation, regardless of whether it is owned by a family member.

A review of Federal Election Commission records shows Grimes paid less than $11,000 through June to rent the bus for at least 24 days, amounting to about $456 per day. Officials at four bus companies said they typically charge $1,500 to $2,000 a day to rent a similarly sized bus, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign said it spent at least $2,200 per day to rent essentially the same bus during a swing earlier this month. That would amount to a savings of tens of thousands of dollars for the Democrat’s campaign.

The spending highlights the central role that Jerry Lundergan, a gregarious former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman and state lawmaker, is playing in his daughter’s bid to unseat McConnell. Polls show the GOP leader maintaining a very small lead in the race, one of the most closely watched in the country this year.

Her dad isn’t the only family member that is giving Grimes a helping hand.

Grimes has paid at least $67,000 to family members for goods and services provided to the campaign, including office space from her mother.

If the campaign is found guilty, the FEC “could ultimately force the Democrat to pay a civil penalty for accepting an illegal corporate contribution and failing to report an in-kind donation,” according to Politico Pro.