McConnell: Bevin may have broken law

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign on Friday ramped up their attacks on his Republican primary opponent's business record, accusing Matt Bevin of possibly committing a misdemeanor.

The allegations arose after a BuzzFeed report contained documents showing Bevin failed to report a tax lien on a $100,000 application for a state grant in Connecticut to reopen his business which had burned down in a fire. 

The McConnell camp brought in a Connecticut attorney to point out Bevin might have broken the law.

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“Now, I am not a prosecutor; I am not a judge, and I am not a jury, but if I was Mr. Bevin’s attorney, I would be very concerned," said Peter Martin, who the McConnell campaign brought onto a conference call to speak about the allegations. 

McConnell's attacks come after Bevin received the endorsement last week of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a prominent conservative group. The Senate minority leader is in a tough contest: facing a primary challenge from the Tea Party-supported Bevin on the right and from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election.

The allegations stem from a grant Bevin applied for in June 2012 to reopen Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Co. after a fire. Bevin signed an application, saying “there are no federal tax claims or liens assessed or filed against” the company he owned. However, Bevin had a $74,000 IRS tax lien at the time, according to reports. 

McConnell’s campaign released a summary of the events Friday, alleging that “under Connecticut law, Mr. Bevin may be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.” 

Bevin told BuzzFeed, which first reported the news, that he paid off the lien in September 2012, more than two months after he signed the application. 

“At the time Mr. Bevin signed the Certificate under oath, a tax lien in fact was filed against his company contrary to the representations made in the Certificate,” said Martin. 

Bevin had initially come to an agreement with the IRS to pay off the lien in installments, he told BuzzFeed, but the IRS agreed to suspend payments after the fire.

In a statement, Bevin said "Quite frankly this is a shameful display unbecoming of the senior senator from Kentucky, and his attempts to distract voters from his liberal record are beyond desperate."

— This story was updated at 11:38 a.m.