McConnell Will Testify in Lawsuit Against Ex-Aide

Posted March 14, 2003 at 6:01pm

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) has been asked to testify in a lawsuit that could determine whether his former campaign manager and one time chief of staff is eligible to run for lieutenant governor in the Bluegrass State.

The Senate passed a resolution last week authorizing the Majority Whip to provide an affidavit in a Kentucky court case involving his former aide, Hunter Bates.

Curtis Shain, a University of Louisville student, filed suit in Kentucky’s 12th Judicial Circuit last week challenging Bates’ eligibility to run for the post.

Shain contends that Bates has not been a Kentucky resident for at least six years preceding the election, a requirement for office under the state Constitution. He’s asked the Oldham County Circuit Court to remove Bates’ name from the May 20 primary ballot.

According to S. Res. 86 passed Thursday, McConnell was asked for an affidavit in the case and will provide testimony “except concerning matters for which a privilege should be asserted and when his attendance at the Senate is necessary for the performance of legislative duties.”

Shain’s Louisville lawyer, Samuel Manley, told The Associated Press last week that he has no doubt Bates qualifies as a Kentucky citizen, but he argued that “he has to be both a citizen and a durational resident” for six years and questioned whether Bates meets that standard.

Bates, a native of Whitley County, Ky., spent several years working as a top aide in his Washington office. He moved to Oldham County last year when he managed McConnell’s 2002 re-election campaign.

But Shain contends that Bates was a resident of Alexandria, Va., from 1995 to 1997, when he worked for a D.C. law firm.

Bates’ attorney, James Milliman, told the AP he would prove “beyond any shadow of a doubt” that Bates meets the requirements to run on the ticket with GOP gubernatorial candidate and Rep. Ernie Fletcher.