A state employee in Kentucky was fired for appearing in a campaign video for secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY), the likely Democratic nominee to face Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the state’s general election.
The employee, Charles Booker, worked for the Legislative Research Commission in Kentucky. The acting director of the LRC, Marcia Seiler, confirmed to the Louisville Courier-Journal that Booker does not work for the agency anymore.
Booker said he was fired on Monday for appearing in the campaign video that was released a week ago. It’s prohibited for employees of the LRC to be involved in partisan activities like appearing in a campaign video supporting one political candidate. The web video features Booker, his wife Tanesha and their daughter describing their life story. Booker appears multiple times in the ad with Tanesha and their daughter.
Booker said he was asked to be in the ad at the last minute.
“I expected there to be a response, but I didn’t think it would rise to the level of me losing my job. But that’s okay,” Booker told the Courier-Journal.
In an interview with The Huffington Post Booker said that he had been informed “multiple times” that Republicans “in Senate leadership” had flagged that Booker was violating LRC rules by appearing in the web video.
“I can confirm that LRC leadership informed me multiple times that it was Republicans in Senate leadership that complained and caused my termination, because I was in a video supporting my wife and child and saying nice things about Alison Lundergan Grimes,” Booker told The Huffington Post. “It is disappointing that people would use my support for my family and the community as a political game of whack-a-mole. I refuse to be bullied, and if I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would.”
The Grimes campaign strongly criticized McConnell in response to Booker’s firing.
“The bullying tactics of Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the State Senate are disgusting,” Grimes senior adviser Jonathan Hurst said in a statement. “Charles exercised his First Amendment rights and spoke out in support of his community and family in West Louisville, and the GOP’s retaliatory behavior is appalling.”
Correction: This post originally described Booker as a federal employee. He is a state employee.
This post was updated.