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Moore says there is too much disparity for a debate

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore told reporters that there is too much disparity between he and his opponent and between the two parties for there to be a debate.

Moore said, “There’s a great disparity between the two parties’ positions, between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  Not only on social issues, such as the acknowledgment of God, we need to have God back in our platforms, but also because there’s a great disparity in fiscal issues, Obamacare for example. I’m for repealing Obamacare, but also repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act to allow the free enterprise system to take the place of the government-controlled health care system. My opponent is for increase of Obamacare and increase of government control. There’s great disparity.”

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“Right now, my opponent favors transgender rights in the military, transgender bathrooms under title nine. I oppose these issues. I oppose them very strongly. I think transgenderism has no place in the military. I’ve been in the military. My opponent hasn’t. So, there’s a great disparity. We don’t need to debate.”

WHNT TV Channel 19 had asked both candidates to participate in a televised debate hosted by WHNT.

Moore said that there had already been a candidate’s forum in Huntsville where both Republican and Democratic candidates were invited.  He attended, several Democratic candidates attended; but that his opponent (Doug Jones) chose not to attend.

Moore said that his campaign is set to increase its visibility leading into the special election for U.S. Senate on December 12.

“We’re going to be increasing our views on television, the media,” Moore said. “We’re going to be getting around in mailers. We’re going to do all the things to get out the vote.”

Moore has returned from Washington where he met with the other Senators.  Moore said that he has had to fight the mischaracterization about him that has been perpetuated by the media.

When asked how that he had been mischaracterized Judge Moore said, “I’ve been mischaracterized in the press saying that I hate people because of their beliefs. I don’t hate anybody. I’m a Christian. That’s why I’m speaking at the American Christian Academy here. Christians don’t hate people. We don’t hate gays, we don’t hate people — we hate sin. That’s something biblical. I stand for principles, but I don’t hate people, and I don’t hate them because of their religion or anything else.”

Moore stressed that he was for repealing Obamacare; but that Medicare and Medicaid would still be in place after the repeal.  On the Child Health Insurance Program Moore said, “That is before the Congress. I better restrain myself on speaking about that issue until I consult with my colleagues.”

“I will not compromise on principle, but there are things you can compromise on, besides principle and that’s procedures, and the manner of going about stuff and things like that,”  Judge Moore said.  “Of course, you work with Democrats. We all have the same love for our country, or are supposed to. I realize that this party difference is going on in Washington and it’s unfortunate.”

Moore’s opponent, Clinton era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones is running a statewide television ad campaign entitled, ‘There is honor in compromise’ featuring Colonels Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (20th Maine) and William C Oates (leading both the 15th and 47th Alabama) who clashed on the hill, ‘Little Round Top’ in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Chamberlain was elevated to general and later became a Republican Governor of Maine.  Even though Oates lost his right arm in the war he went on to represent Alabama in the Democratic National Convention and in 1880 the U.S. Congress.  In 1894 he was elected as Alabama’s 29th Governor.  Oates would resign his governorship in 1896 to accept an appointment by President William C McKinley (R) to became a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army General during the Spanish American War.  For the rest of his life Oates said that if just one more Confederate regiment had supported him against Chamberlain that day on Little Round Top that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia could have turned General Meade’s left flank and crushed the Union Army of the Potomac, taken Washington D.C. and the South would have won the War Between the States.

Jones says that we fight too much and he wants to go to Washington and work with the Senators from Maine and other places on the country’s problems.

Moore’s comments to the press were made at American Christian Academy where Moore was the keynote speaker at the school’s annual Veterans memorial program.

Since the September 26 special Republican primary runoff, Moore has made two trips to Washington for fundraisers and to meet with Senators.  This was the third press event that Moore has held.

The special election will be on Dec. 12, 2017.

 

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Elections

Ethics Commission clears Luther Strange

Josh Moon

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Luther Strange is off the hook.

The executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission told APR on Wednesday that the commission determined a few sessions ago that allegations that Strange violated campaign finance laws were unfounded.

The two allegations, which were filed by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office during Strange’s special election campaign for U.S. Senate last year, were considered potential felonies and centered around Strange’s federal Senate campaign transferring funds to his state-level attorney general’s campaign account.

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Ethics Commission executive director Tom Albritton said several factors went into determining that Strange had not violated the law. Most importantly: “The statute controlling the transfer from a federal campaign account to a state campaign account requires the candidate to be a state or local candidate. Luther Strange was not,” Albritton said.

Merrill disagreed with the commission’s decision, saying his staff’s understanding of the applicable laws forbids Strange from making the campaign account transfers in question.

“We understand that the Ethics Commission can do whatever they want with the things we send them,” Merrill said. “We do not agree with their finding, but it’s not our job to rule. It’s our job to pass along the violations. We did our job.”

While the laws governing the issue are complicated, the transfers at the center of the debate are fairly easy to understand. In December of 2016, Strange’s federal campaign account, in a series of transfers, sent a little over $1,400 to his state-level campaign account. The money was being used to pay for an already-purchased website domain.

The problem was the $1,400 exceeded the $1,000 threshold allowable for the transfers and also fell outside of the 120-day window. Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley was forced to resign after accepting a donation outside of the 120-day window.

But according to Albritton, that’s where the mixing of federal and state laws make things murky. Because in addition to Strange, who was running for U.S. Senate, not being a state-level candidate, the law also requires the transfer to be a campaign contribution before it can be considered illegal.

“The transfer was made in order to reimburse the state campaign for an unintentional payment by the state campaign for the domain maintenance fee for the domain that the federal campaign had already purchased,” Albritton said. “It was not intended to influence the election of a state or local candidate.

“Federal law preempts state law in this circumstance. Federal campaign finance laws required the reimbursement for the state campaign. If they had not repaid it, it would have been a violation of federal campaign laws.”

Albritton said that Merrill and his office can forward their findings directly to the Alabama AG’s office if they feel a mistake has been made.

The Ethics Commission decision on the matter will likely add fuel to what is becoming a fiery feud between it and Merrill’s office. Just last week, Merrill was particularly critical of the Commission’s decision to pass on issuing fines to candidates, businesses and PACs that failed to file campaign finance reports on time.

During an interview with APR last week, Merrill was asked whether his allegations against Strange had been resolved by the Ethics Commission. At that time, he said he wasn’t sure, prompting APR to raise the question with Albritton. It doesn’t appear as if the decision on the Strange allegations has been previously reported in the media.

 

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Elections

A quick snapshot of campaign cash after primaries

Bill Britt

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Since the June 5 primary, candidates have only been required to file major contribution reports of $25,000 and over, so understanding the financial health of any campaign is difficult to ascertain.

In the Lt. Governor’s race, Rep. Will Ainsworth has loaned his campaign $500,000, while his opponent, PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh, hasn’t reported any new contributions. In their last reports, Cavanaugh had $165,439.56 on hand, and Ainsworth had $670,233.34, which includes the $500,000 loan.

The last filings in the Attorney General’s contest show Steve Marshall with $48,794.15 to Troy King’s $36,127.04. The two will face each other in the July 17 Republican Party runoff.

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Democrat attorney general contender Joe Siegelman last reported having $113,450.44 in his account. He will compete with either King or Marshall in the November general election.

The Republican runoff for Agriculture Commissioner finds BCA backed candidate Lowdnesboro Mayor Rick Pate with $4,107.44 in cash, with his challenger, State Senator Gerald Dial, reporting $107,634.45.

Gov. Kay Ivey received one major contribution of $25,000 from Cullman resident Roy Drinkard, while her Democrat rival Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hasn’t reported any similar fundraising efforts.

These cash totals are a snapshot of fundraising, with approximately two weeks before the next FCPA reports are required.

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PowerSouth CEO explains why companies are leaving BCA

Bill Britt

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PowerSouth President and CEO Gary L. Smith may have made the most transparent case for why the state’s marquee corporations are in a steady exodus from the Business Council of Alabama.

“Our problem with BCA is simply Billy Canary and his leadership,” wrote Smith in the company’s withdrawal letter to BCA Chairman Perry Hand. “Billy has been effective in the past, but in our opinion, Billy is now a severe liability and must be replaced for BCA to again be effective.”

In April, Alabama Political Reporter broke the news that seven of the state’s leading companies were parting ways with BCA if Canary was not replaced by June.

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Billy Canary out at BCA, sort of 

After APR‘s story broke that the BCA Executive Committee had agreed to replace Canary, it was Hand who took to an internet newsletter to claim our story was false. However, Smith’s letter obtained by APR proves Hand lied. “You indicated the BCA Executive Committee agrees a leadership change is needed, but we have serious disagreements about the timing of the replacement,” wrote Smith.

In fact, the Executive Committee agreed it was time for Canary to go, but Hand and a few Canary loyalists invented a reason to keep Canary around until 2019. As Smith points out, not only is Canary staying in place, he is also included in selecting his replacement.

Smith states, “Billy’s continuing involvement in the search for his replacement,” as well as, “his involvement in the leadership transition,” is a severe problem.

Smith further writes, “We have no interest in participating in or supporting an organization that Billy heads, influence through his choice of successor, or can manipulate through a transitional plan. It is simply time to completely sever the relationship before further damage is done to the organization.”

To date, Alabama Power Company, PowerSouth, Regions Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield and BCA legal counsel Boots Gale have fled BCA due to Canary’s failed leadership and Hand’s obstinate refusal to see the wisdom of his immediate replacement.

 

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Moore says there is too much disparity for a debate

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 4 min
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