Jones filed paperwork for his exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission earlier this year and subsequently filed disbursement reports. The complaint, filed by Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman J. McCauley Brown, argues that Jones is using the radio show as a platform to promote his candidacy and that funding and spending for his travel around the state for the book should be reported as campaign finances.
“Matt Jones must be held accountable immediately for misusing multiple platforms paid for by his corporate sponsors to unlawfully promote his U.S. Senate candidacy,” Brown said in a statement. “His attempts to conceal these violations from both the FEC and the public only heighten their severity. RPK’s complaint is an important first step in stopping Jones’ flagrant failure to comply with federal regulations and we urge the FEC to deliver a swift and strong penalty.”
In a phone interview Thursday, Jones said, “This is classic bully behavior by Mitch McConnell,” adding that he understood iHeart’s decision to remove him from the air while he deliberates about a Senate run. In regards to a potential Senate run, Jones said he would make a decision “very soon.”
McConnell’s campaign manager Kevin Golden said in a statement, “Team Mitch has absolutely no concern about Matt’s show. It appears that his business relationships are concerned with his ability to comply with federal law.”
Jones, 40, started the blog Kentucky Sports Radio in 2005 and it soon morphed into a radio show of the same name, launching his media career. The show airs each weekday and is carried on more than 150 stations across Kentucky.
In August, Jones announced that he was writing a book entitled, “Mitch, Please,” a critical look at McConnell’s tenure as a senator, for which Jones would travel to all 120 counties in the commonwealth. “Societal changes have led to massive changes in Kentucky’s two biggest economic engines — tobacco and coal,” Jones said at the time. “Not only was Mitch McConnell not able to stop that, but he did little to nothing to replace them while also being maybe the most powerful legislator in the world.”
McConnell’s campaign responded then: “Many people are familiar with Matt’s book report from its original title when they called it Elizabeth Warren’s stump speech.”