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Troy King accuses Marshall of taking $700,000 in illegal, out-of-state campaign contributions

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, former Alabama Attorney General Troy King (R) said that his opponent, sitting Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) has taken illegal PAC to PAC transfers totaling $700,000. King was addressing the influential Alabama Republican Assembly at their meeting at Bill’s Family Dining in Northport.

King said that he has filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission charging that Marshall has accepted $400,000 in campaign contributions from the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) which King claims is an illegal PAC to PAC transfer. King said that the first thing the Republicans did was to outlaw PAC to PAC transfers. “The Attorney General says that it does not apply to out of state PACs. It does. Luther Strange did the same thing in 2014; but when called on it he returned the money, Marshall doubled down and took another $300,000.”

“I am glad to be here with the real Republicans,” King told the group. “When I left this office in 2011 I thought I would never be back in politics.”

“I did not have to read the Birmingham News,” King said. “I did not have to read what they say about me. Donald Trump called out fake news. Alabama is full of fake reporting. They are not even real reporters what they write as news is really opinion.”

“I watched what happened in Montgomery,” King added. “The people we sent to Montgomery to clean up the mess, became part of the mess.” Then there was Bentley. What an embarrassment. When I was growing up in Elba, watching television, my dad used to point to the Governor on TV and say if you work hard you can be that man. How long has it been since parents in Alabama held the Governor of Alabama out as an example for your children? Steve Marshall, “Sent him home to Tuscaloosa without any real consequences for what he did.”

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“We have failed to end the corruption,” King continued. “We watched as legislator after legislator has been removed. There are rules. We call them laws. They need to be enforced. We need to take this state back from corruption. We need to take the state back from crime. When I was attorney general, crime was at a 30-year low. Now we have a 20-year high.”

King criticized Marshall for making a secret agreement with defense attorneys of a man the state had attempted to execute by lethal injection, but efforts to get a needle into his blood veins failed. Referring to a new state law allowing execution by gas, King said, “I don’t know if we can find his veins, but I bet we can find his nose.”

“Politicians should not go to Montgomery and be beholden to somebody who gave them $500,000,” King said referring to the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). “Alabama may not be for sale, but Steve Marshall has been bought and sold.”

“I am a lifelong Republican,” King said. “He was appointed by Don Siegelman. He was a Democrat. He had an Obama bumper sticker. I don’t know any Obama bumper sticker wearing Democrat in 2008 who is Trump Republican in 2018. Barack Obama in Illinois wrote the law that you can kill a baby who survives an abortion. I wrote the law that you can prosecute a doctor for murder who does that. Life begins at conception. I am proud of my Pro-Life record.”

“If we don’t want a Don Siegelman appointee versus Don Siegelman’s son the thing to do is to elect a Republican and vote for me on election day,” King said.

Don Wallace, a GOP candidate for state school board in the general election, asked how do we convince Doug Jones to support Brett Kavanaugh for U.S. Supreme Court.

King said that we have prayed for the day that there could be a conservative majority on the Supreme Court who can overturn Roe versus Wade. I used to work for Governors and if we got five handwritten letters, not pre-printed postcards but actual handwritten letters we said that there was strong support for a position. If ever there was a day to write a letter to Doug Jones and tell him there are some issues in Alabama that are a red line and you don’t cross them it is now.

Ann Eubank, the President of the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs, asked King if he would leave Matt Hart and the Special Prosecutions unit in place.

King said that he couldn’t make personnel decisions before he gets in the office. “I have a problem with something called the special prosecutions unit going after corrupt politicians; because I do not think that prosecution is more special than the prosecution of a child rapist.”

“It is wrong to keep a special grand jury open for years and years,” King said. “I will not commit to you that I will do that.” My daddy told me that if you did something the wrong way it is still wrong even if you do it the wrong way. By the time they get to trial they have been robbed of all their money and their reputation.

On corrupt politicians, King said, “We will pursue them relentlessly, but we will do it the right way.”

King was critical of Jim Sumner, who used to be the director of the Alabama Ethics Commission for past criticism of his tenure as AG.

King favors changing the ethics law to, “A simple, straightforward law that is easily understood. The guy that wrote it did not understand it. The law is not clear, so lawyers get hired to created confusion. We need an ethics law that is easy to understand and elect persons who are committed to enforcing it.”

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Governor Bob Riley (R) and then elected to his own term as AG in 2006.  He was defeated in the GOP primary by Luther Strange in 2010.  King is running against Steve Marshall who was appointed AG by Robert Bentley after Bentley appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate.

The Republican primary runoff is on Tuesday, July 17. Polls will open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Joseph Siegelman (D) on November 5.

The Republican Assembly was founded in California during the 1930s and calls themselves the Conscience of the Republican Party and strives to elect nominees that share their conservative principles. Jennifer Montrose is the President of the Alabama Republican Assembly.

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Activist calls for Attorney General Steve Marshall to be decertified or impeached

Bill Britt

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Across the state, lawyers, politicos and candidates are questioning how to deal with the dark money that flowed into the Republican Attorney General’s primary race.

North Alabama Republican activist Thomas J. Scovill is calling for Speaker Mac McCutcheon and the ALGOP steering committee to deny Republican primary winner—appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall—certification because of funds he received from the Republican Attorney Generals Association.

“As Steve Marshall’s campaign finance issue drags on, the embarrassment to Alabama government and the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) is growing,” Scovill wrote, McCutcheon. “Just as the Alabama Republican Party acted quickly and decisively on the issue of PSC candidate James Bonner’s decorum, now is the time to act decisively on the much more serious issue of lawbreaking by our attorney general.”

At issue is Marshall’s acceptance of $735,000 from RAGA’s 527 nonprofit organizations which Scovill and many others believe is a clear violation of Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practice Act. The state’s Republican legislative supermajority outlawed PAC-to-PAC transfers as part of its reform measures in 2010.

Marshall claims the donations are legal because of a loophole in state law. He also argues that federal law trumps state law in this instance.

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Scovill in his letter to Mac McCutcheon and a partition to ALGOP Chair Terry Lathan says Marshall’s claim is not only misleading but wrong.

“The question of federal jurisdiction raised by Marshall is a red herring,” says Scovill. “When it comes to campaign finance, those who play in federal elections have to comply with federal law, and those who play in Alabama elections have to comply with Alabama law. Those who play in both have to comply with both.”

A thorny advocate for campaign finance transparency, Scovill has fought and won several battles against those who tried to skirt the state’s FCPA.

During the primary election, Scovill backed outsider Chess Bedsole in the Republican Attorney General’s contest. In the runoff, he supported Marshall until he discovered the RAGA contributions.

“My choice for attorney general was Chess Bedsole,” said Scovill. “And just after the primary, I endorsed Steve Marshall, but then when I got back from a two week trip to Colorado on the Thursday before the runoff, I got caught up in all this PAC to PAC and 527 stuff and said, ‘Oh gee, I should have put some time into this back in February.’”

Marshall won the Republican nomination for Attorney General against Troy King who made the same accusation as Scovill. Montgomery County Judge James Anderson dismissed King’s partition to force Marshall to stop using RAGA funds, but that doesn’t mean the matter is settled.

Several legal minds say that Judge Anderson was wrong in his ruling. There are also those who want the issue decided before Marshall’s exception becomes a rule that opens the floodgates for out-of-state PACs to flood the state with dark money from hidden sources.

“Even with a preliminary review by the Alabama Ethics Commission, this controversy cannot be adjudicated through the office of the Alabama Attorney General for obvious reasons – Marshall is the incumbent attorney general,” writes Scovill. “With his nomination by the ALGOP pending, we are out of time for legal quibbles, alibis, and antics.”

In both his letter to Speaker McCutcheon and ALGOP, Scovill references PSC candidate James “Jim” Bonner who the Republican Party disqualified shortly before the primary.

As APR‘s Brandon Moseley reported in June, “Numerous voices in the party have expressed their concerns that Bonner being on the ticket could be an embarrassment that could turn out Democrats jeopardizing and drag down other races up and down the ticket.” The Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee voted not to certify election results for Bonner even though he was already on the printed ballots. At the time, ALGOP Chair Lathan said, “When our state party chooses to take these steps, it is a serious and rare occurrence. We strongly believe that this is one of those solemn moments. This vote was carefully considered and was not taken lightly.”

Alabama Republican Party will not certify Bonner

Scovill contends the Republican committee must do the same with Marshall. “Marshall is embarrassing the Alabama Republican Party by violating both the spirit and letter of Alabama law,” wrote Scovill. “Republicans are responsible for pressing for enforcement of the law, enforcement which includes impeaching Attorney General Marshall if necessary. Ignoring the issue will create a major controversy Democrats will exploit in the coming general election to the detriment of every Republican on the ballot.”

In August, the State’s Ethics Commission will likely weigh-in on Scovill’s question — finding that RAGA’s actions were unlawful, but it’s the Republican Party that will ultimately have final say on if the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban applies to Democrats and Republicans alike.

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Secretary of State’s Office begins voter fraud investigation in Wilcox and Perry Counties

Brandon Moseley

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Turnout in Tuesday’s primary runoff was just 12.7 percent across the state. That percentage, however, varied wildly across the state.

Many Democrats did not vote as there were not any statewide Democratic runoffs. Understandably then, the counties with the worst voter participation rates were Democratic dominated Black Belt Counties. Choctaw County was the worst in the state with an incredibly low .59 percent. It was followed by Hale with 1.53 percent. Third worst was Sumter with 1.6 percent followed by Bullock with 2.8 percent.

The Blackbelt had the worst voter turnout; but it also recorded by far the highest turnouts in Tuesday’s runoff election.

The Wilcox County probate judge’s race was apparently so exciting that 44.1 percent of voters turned out despite the heat and no statewide Democratic races.

Wilcox County has 11,058 people. 1,631 of those are under 18. There are only 9,423 voting age persons in the county, but an impressive 9,383 of them are registered voters. That is almost an impossible 99.59 percent voter registration rate. An incredible 4,167 of those voters made time in their day to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s runoff. 4,061 of those voted in the Wilcox County probate judge race, between Democrats Chris Stone and Britney Jones-Alexander. Alexander won the contest. The 44.41 percent voter turnout for the poor Black Belt county was three and a half times the state average.

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Perry County had a 36.35 percent turnout and they were followed by Dallas at 35.43 percent and Greene at 34.08 percent.

The Secretary of State’s office has some suspicions about the success of some of these rural community organizers ability to turn out their votes. Secretary of State John Merrill has launched an investigation into Wilcox and Perry Counties because the number of absentee ballots appears to be unbelievably high.

Sec. Merrill told the Alabama Media Group’s John Sharp that his office is “looking into to prospects of absentee broker operations, in which campaign workers or people with an unknown organization, exchange gifts or cash for absentee ballots.”

Secretary Merrill has said that he wants to make it easy to vote; but hard to cheat.

Below are voter participation rates for all 67 counties:
Wilcox – 44.41%
Perry – 36.35%
Dallas – 35.43%
Greene – 34.08%
Covington – 31.32%
Marion – 27.85%
Fayette – 27.71%
Lamar – 26.19%
Lowndes – 25.47%
Walker – 25.01%
Clay – 24.12%
Coosa – 23.8%
Macon – 21.95%
Crenshaw – 21.09%
Blount – 20.77%
Elmore – 18.92%
Geneva – 18.73%
Marshall – 18.72%
Chilton – 18.08%
Coffee – 18.07%
Autauga – 17.39%
Montgomery – 17.34%
Bibb – 17.02%
Pike – 16.61%
Tallapoosa – 16.42%
Henry – 16.4%
Dale – 15.67%
Baldwin – 15.57%
Houston – 15.03%
Jackson – 14.33%
Limestone – 13.16%
Jefferson – 12.6%
Winston – 12.27%
De Kalb – 11.68%
Chambers – 11.23%
Pickens – 11.18%
Cullman – 11.03%
Shelby – 10.99%
Colbert – 10.79%
Etowah – 10.77%
Franklin – 10.73%
Talladega – 10.3%
Calhoun – 10.22%
St. Clair – 10.08%
Butler – 9.97%
Cleburne – 9.72%
Mobile – 9.49%
Randolph – 9.44%
Lee – 9.41%
Morgan – 9.07%
Barbour – 8.45%
Cherokee – 8.45%
Marengo – 8.01%
Clarke – 7.79%
Madison – 7.66%
Lawrence – 7.43%
Escambia – 7.24%
Lauderdale – 6.88%
Washington – 6.7%
Monroe – 6.46%
Tuscaloosa – 5.94%
Russell – 4.95%
Conecuh – 3.68%
Bullock – 2.8%
Sumter – 1.6%
Hale – 1.53%
Choctaw – 0.59%

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Walt Maddox, statewide candidates host forum in Gardendale

Brandon Moseley

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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will headline a forum for Democratic candidates at the Gardendale Civic Center on July 30 at 6 p.m. Maddox will be joined by a host of other statewide legislative and local candidates.

Maddox claims that he offers voters a path forward out of the state’s corruption and funding crisis.

“It’s the same crisis we’ve been facing for the last seven years,” says gubernatorial candidate Maddox. “If we don’t do something today, there will be no tomorrow; we need safe infrastructure, access to healthcare and good paying jobs.”

The organizers say they “put people before party” so they can bring about change in Alabama.

“As taxpayers, we have been shortchanged for too long,” says former Gardendale City Councilman Blake Guinn, who is working for the Maddox campaign and is one of the forum’s organizers. “I’m tired of being last in everything but football. I’m looking for candidates who have the energy, intelligence, and vision to move this state forward.”

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Most Alabama politicians are just “rubberstamp” what their national party says, says Jennifer L. Greer, a retired university assistant professor who lives in Gardendale and is also organizing the forum. “I don’t care about Washington. I care about Alabama and getting services for my tax dollars, like Alabama’s First-Class Pre-K in every community.”

Maddox will be joined at the Gardendale forum by:

  • Danner Kline, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District.
  • Judge Robert “Bob” Vance, Democratic candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
  • Dr. Will Boyd, Democratic candidate for Alabama Lieutenant Governor.
  • Joseph Siegelman, Democratic candidate for Alabama Attorney General.
  • Heather Milam, Democratic candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.
  • Donna Smalley, Democratic candidate for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 4.
  • Cara McClure, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission, Place 1.
  • Kari Powell, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission, Place 2.
  • Veronica R. Johnson, Democratic candidate Alabama House District 51.
  • Danny Carr, Democratic candidate for Jefferson County District Attorney.

The event is free and open to the public.

Democrats have renewed enthusiasm after Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore for U.S. Senate. Prior to that win, the last Democrat to win a statewide office in Alabama was Lucy Baxley, who was elected to president of the Alabama Public Service Commission in 2008. The last time a Democrat won a gubernatorial election was 1998, when Don Siegelman defeated incumbent Republican Fob James.

The general election will be November 6.

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Troy King accuses Marshall of taking $700,000 in illegal, out-of-state campaign contributions

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
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