The best part of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott’s ruling last week on Alabama’s ban on money transfers between political action committees is what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t gut the law, in spite of House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s overheated reaction.
“Simply put, this ruling will make it easier for special-interest groups to hide campaign money and keep voters in the dark,” Hubbard said. “It was bad enough that Democrats resisted campaign finance reform for so long. It’s unconscionable they are now undoing the reforms Alabama waited so long to have.”
Except they’re not, nor is Ott’s ruling.
Here’s the real story: The Alabama Democratic Conference and several elected officials earlier this year sued Attorney General Luther Strange and two north Alabama district attorneys, alleging the PAC-to-PAC ban is illegal. The Legislature passed the ban in December 2010. The ADC claimed the ban violated its First Amendment rights and the federal Voting Rights Act.