The Kentucky Senate race has devolved into a contest of dueling ethics and legal complaints.
The Kentucky Democratic Party said Friday it was filing a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, asking for an investigation into Sen. Mitch McConnell treating the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the Senate Dining Room and then receiving $10,000 from him and his wife a week later. In a press release, the party alleged McConnell "has abused his public office for political gain by selling access to the Senate dining room in return for campaign contributions."
Almost simultaneously, the Kentucky Republican Party said it had lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against McConnell's Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The complaint alleges that the bus she has rented from her father's company for below-market rates amounts to an illegal gift.
Both campaigns quickly dismissed the other side's complaints. McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore called the one against her boss "frivolous." Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton called the one against her boss a "stunt."
More from Moore: "It's beyond insulting to Kentuckians for the Grimes camp to try to divert attention away from an extremely serious campaign finance violation with a frivolous complaint. Whether it's her allegiance to Barack Obama or using corporate family assets to aid her campaign, Alison Grimes spends all of her time attempting to hide the truth from Kentuckians."
And from Norton: "Our compliance experts have done their due diligence and stand by the facts presented on this matter. This is yet another political stunt from the McConnell campaign and his allies to distract Kentuckians away from Mitch McConnell skipping work, selling access to the Senate Dining Room and profiting off of coal miners losing their jobs."
It's unlikely either complaint will be resolved quickly. Instead, both parties are likely hoping to generate negative headlines about the other. The Senate Ethics Committee rarely issues any public statements and the gridlocked FEC is generally not fast to act on complaints it receives.
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