Grimes calls accusations "baseless" after Beshear appoints outside counsel to lead investigation

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes being interviewed for WKYT's "Kentucky...
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes being interviewed for WKYT's "Kentucky Newsmakers"(WKYT)
Published: Oct. 3, 2018 at 6:47 PM EDT
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Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is responding after Attorney General Andy Beshear’s recent appointment of an independent counsel to investigate allegations that she misused the state’s voter registration data.

Grimes called the claims that initiated this investigation “baseless” and “political” Wednesday.

"I think the 2019 political season, unfortunately, is already upon us…,” Grimes said.

Among other allegations, Grimes has been accused of misusing the voter data that she oversees as the commonwealth’s Chief Elections Officer. The executive director of the State’s Board of Elections Jared Dearing claimed in August that Grimes used the voter registration database to influence hiring decisions for potential state employees.

"I've actually hired more Republicans than Democrats in my administration, so if I was using political party affiliation, I haven't been doing that effectively,” joked Grimes.

Attorney General Beshear appointed Garrard County Attorney Mark Metcalf as the independent counsel in the investigation on Tuesday. Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown said their office appointed an independent counsel "given the nature of the allegations and to ensure a fair process for everyone."

Beshear has already announced he is running for governor next year, and it’s no secret Grimes is considering a run as well.

"Eight years now I've been in this job and ironically only now that we're on the 2019 season do we see such baseless allegations coming forward,” said Grimes. “People are fearful of what might come their way come in 2019, and are seeking to do harm this year."

Right now, Grimes says she’ll cooperate with the investigation and keep working with county elections boards to get ready for November’s elections.