Plans advance for corporate-funded expansion of Kentucky Republican Party headquarters Skip to content

Plans advance for corporate-funded expansion of Kentucky Republican Party headquarters

Pfizer biggest donor to project that will more than double size of Mitch McConnell Building

2 min read
Rendering of the planned addition to the Republican Party of Kentucky headquarters in Frankfort. Architects said they strove for consistency with “the unique and eclectic mix of buildings” in the historic residential neighborhood near the state Capitol. (City of Frankfort)

FRANKFORT — The Republican Party of Kentucky plans to expand its headquarters in Frankfort by adding a 6,800 square foot building designed to look like a “separate residential structure.”

The new building will be built on a vacant lot adjacent to the current headquarters at Third Street and Capital Avenue. In addition to new office and meeting space, it will include an auditorium that will seat 160 people. A one-story enclosed corridor will connect it with the rear of the current headquarters.

Frankfort’s Architectural Review Board approved the design plans on Tuesday, clearing the way for the RPK to seek a building permit and begin construction.

RPK spokesman Andy Westberry said no target date has been set for a groundbreaking, but he said he expected construction to begin later this year.

Kentucky Lantern first reported in January of 2023 that the RPK was planning a major addition to what is known as the Mitch McConnell Building, and that it was being paid for with large donations from big corporations.

McConnell, Kentucky’s longest-serving U.S. senator and the Senate’s longest-serving party leader, is known for his opposition to legal limits on political money and his fundraising prowess. He’s also credited with building Kentucky’s Republican Party.

Reports filed by the party with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance show that through the end of March the fund drive had raised $2.9 million. The largest donor was the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., which gave $1 million. The second largest was NWO Resources, a small Ohio gas distribution utility, which gave $500,000. The president and director of NWO Resources is James Neal Blue, who is also chief executive and chairman of the General Atomics Corp., a defense contractor.

State law caps how much a person can give to a political party in Kentucky, and corporation contributions to candidates and most political committees are illegal. But a 2017 state law allowed Kentucky’s two political parties to establish building funds which could accept corporation donations of unlimited amounts.

Design plans for the project by Stengel-Hill Architecture, of Louisville, were sent to city planning officials last month. The project will more than double the headquarters’ size.

“The current design reflects our efforts to focus on the appearance of the addition from West Third Street in a manner that is consistent with the unique and eclectic mix of buildings” in the historic residential neighborhood near the state Capitol, the architect explained in a cover letter.

The city notified owners of property adjacent to or near the project of the plans. None of the neighbors responded with objections and no one spoke against the project at the board meeting Tuesday.

Besides the two top donors listed above, other corporations that are paying for the RPK’s expanded headquarters are: Metropolitan Life Insurance, New York, $300,000; Verizon, Washington, D.C., $300,000; AT&T, St. Louis, $200,000; Boeing Company PAC, Arlington, Virginia, $100,000; Churchill Downs, Louisville, $100,000; Altria (parent company of Philip Morris USA), Richmond, Virginia, $100,000; Microsoft Corporation, Reno, $100,000; Comcast Corporation, Philadelphia, $100,000; Delta Air Lines Inc., Atlanta, $50,000; The Jockey Club, New York, N.Y., $50,000.


Written by Tom Loftus. Cross-posted from the Kentucky Lantern.

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Kentucky Lantern

The Kentucky Lantern is an independent, nonpartisan, free news service. We’re based in Frankfort a short walk from the Capitol, but all of Kentucky is our beat.