A Warren County supporter of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes said the candidate is play "a lying game," when it comes to her support for the coal industry in a hidden-camera video recording distributed by an organization called Project Veritas.
But the Grimes campaign is calling the video itself "blatantly false," and said none of the people featured in the video are on Grimes' staff.
Juanita Rodriguez, who in the video was identified as a Warren County Democrat operative, speaks about Grimes' coal support in a hidden camera recording, saying that she doesn't think Grimes' "heart is 100 percent in backing coal" after being prompted by an undercover member of the Project Veritas team to discuss Grimes' support of coal.
“You know she has to say that because in Kentucky if you don't support the coal industry you're dead politically, and I know that that's true and I know that's why she has to say that," Rodriguez says in the video. "But, you know what, politics is a game. You do what you have to do to get to point B ... I mean, it's a lying game, unfortunately.”
Calls to Rodriguez were not immediately returned. She is one of several Grimes supporters featured in the video, including former Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen.
Shannon Morgan, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Party, deferred comment to Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton.
"These blatantly false videos from discredited con artist James O'Keefe are nothing more than desperate distortions from Mitch McConnell and his billionaire backers," Norton said in an email statement. "The fact that McConnell's campaign relies on a convicted criminal with a known history of absurd and deceptive projects is telling as McConnell attempts to make this race about anything but the loss of 25,000 coal jobs on his watch.
"The individuals in the video aren't on our staff. The United Mine Workers of America endorsed Alison because of her unwavering commitment to Kentucky coal miners. She is the only candidate with a plan to save Kentucky coal jobs and protect the health and safety of our miners."
O'Keefe is the founder of Project Veritas and has made a name for himself creating other similar undercover videos.
In 2010, he pleaded guilty along with three other men to a misdemeanor charge of entering federal property under false pretenses, according to a New York Times story.
The charge stemmed from an incident where two of the men entered the office of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans pretending to be telephone repairmen, one of them wearing a hidden video camera. O'Keefe was also in the office pretending to be waiting for a friend but secretly recording the interaction, according to the story.
O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine, according to the story.
Team Mitch spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a news release that Grimes can no longer claim she is pro-coal.
"The reality is that Alison Lundergan Grimes' 'lying game,' as her supporters refer to it, has caught up to her and she can no longer claim she's pro-coal when everyone around her privately admits she isn't," she said in the news release.
– See more in Wednesday's Daily News.