United States v. Emmons, No. 20-5869 (6th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Based on activity related to former Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell in 2014, Emmons and Lundergan (Grimes’s father) were convicted for knowingly and willfully making unlawful corporate contributions aggregating $25,000 or more, Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. 30109(d)(1)(A)(i), 30118, and 18 U.S.C. 2; conspiracy to defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. 371; willfully causing the submission of materially false statements, 18 U.S.C 1001(a)(2) and 2; and the falsification of records or documents, 18 U.S.C. 1519 and 2.
The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the constitutionality of the ban on corporate contributions as applied to intrafamilial contributions from a closely-held, family-run corporation. Such contributions present a risk of quid pro quo corruption. The district court adequately distinguished between independent expenditures and contributions in the jury instructions. The district court properly admitted evidence of Lundergan’s uncharged acts in connection with Grimes’ campaigns for Kentucky Secretary of State as res gestae evidence and under 404(b). The government presented sufficient evidence for a rational juror to find that Emmons had the requisite intent to cause unlawful corporate contributions and the Grimes campaign to submit false campaign-finance reports.