FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Another Republican made a pay-for-play politics accusation against a Democratic officeholder on Tuesday, this time leveled against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Lindsay Hughes Thurston, senior advisor to Grimes, was asked during a meeting of the General Assembly’s Government Contract Review Committee about a contract with the law firm Kincaid and Stilz for a lawsuit against the office.
Thurston explained they contracted with an outside firm because there was no in-house general counsel in the Secretary of State’s office. Committee co-chair, Sen. Stephen Meredith, R-Leitchfield, asked about Robert C. Stilz III, a partner in the law firm, who Meredith said was listed as a director and current officer for Alison Lundergan Grimes, Inc.
“I don’t know if he has any current involvement and would be happy to look into it and we can come back next month,” Thurston said.
“I think we’ll have to because, obviously, we want as much transparency as possible,” Meredith said. “It bothers me that the number of law firms we have in this state, it boils down to someone who has a relationship with the current Secretary of State. That has all the suspicions of pay to play. We’ve had enough of that in our state over the years.”
The contract was deferred until next month for action.
After the meeting, the committee released information stating that Robert C. “Coley” Stiltz III was a registered agent for SR Holdings Company, Inc., owned by Grimes father, Jerry Lundergan, and that Stilz was treasurer for Grimes’ two campaigns for secretary of state.
Grimes’ spokesman Bradford Queen released a statement on the situation: “As the Secretary has said, and as demonstrated today, Republicans appear eager to use taxpayer resources to try to generate salacious and fake news headlines against her. Now, for two months in a row, another Republican-led panel has been on an expedition in search of a problem with contracts that they know were appropriately awarded and approved by their Governor’s Finance and Administration Cabinet.
“Additionally, as all public court filings show, Mr. Stilz doesn’t represent the Secretary of State’s office and has never represented the office during Secretary Grimes’ tenure. The contract with Kinkead & Stilz was awarded pursuant to the requirements set forth in the request for proposals.”