Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office will move with the appropriate speed in its handling of new ethics complaints against Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, but Republicans are skeptical.
Beshear confirmed his office received a copy of the letter from State Board of Elections director Jared Dearing, accusing Grimes – a fellow Democrat – of misusing Kentucky’s voter database and directing staff not to follow a federal court order.
Asked about a timeline for action, with the midterm elections fast approaching, Beshear said his office needs to examine the allegations, compare them to the laws on the books, and determine what warrants investigation and who has the proper jurisdiction.
"We move through the process with all due diligence depending on the complexity of... any allegations versus what the law may require or may not require," he told WUKY at a state prosuctors meeting in Lexington. "But my anticipation is that we will move with all due speed."
The comments aren't likely to persuade skeptical GOP leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer called the top law eforcement official's response so far “pathetic” on Twitter, while Attorney General hopeful and former campaign rival Whitney Westerfield tweeted “Imagine his reaction if similar allegations had been made about an elected Republican. Twice.”
Meanwhile, Republican Party of Kentucky chair Mac Brown is calling for a federal investigation into the matter.
"For the second time in less than one year... bipartisan leaders of the State Board of Elections have filed an ethics complaint against Secretary Grimes for abuse of power," Brown said, according to an Associated Press report. "Kentuckians deserve to know their elections are being conducted fairly and without bias."
Responding, Beshear said that Republicans are "welcome, like anybody, to send it to federal authorities that can then perform their own analysis."
Grimes has vigorously denied Dearing’s account, calling the allegations "bizarre" and gesturing toward possible political motives as shec contemplates a run for governor in 2019. Dearing is also a Democrat.
Tuesday, the board overseeing Kentucky elections voted to reaffirm the secretary’s role as the state’s chief election officer.