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Armistead to Kennedy: Are you going to abide by the law?

From the Office of Bill Armistead, the Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – In light of increased speculation that Alabama Democratic Party officials are attempting to remove Harry Lyon, the Democratic nominee for Chief Justice, from the ballot, Bill Armistead, the Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party issued the following statement:

“On August 7, 2012, a complaint was filed with Democratic Party Chairman, Judge Mark Kennedy, asking that Harry Lyon, the Democratic nominee for Chief Justice, be removed from the ballot.  The complaint was filed by a Huntsville woman, Sherry Broyles, saying that Lyon is not in compliance with Fair Campaign Practice Act regulations and therefore is ineligible to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Chief Justice because he had not filed a financial disclosure report with the Secretary of State.

“Within hours of the complaint being made public, Judge Kennedy issued a statement saying he was looking into these serious allegations.  To quote Judge Kennedy ‘The law is the law and it is important, in our judicial races above all others, that our candidates respect and follow it.’  Well Judge Kennedy, I agree, the law is the law.  And I find it hard to believe that a former Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is unaware of several Attorney General Opinions, with the most recent being issued earlier this year that states, “A candidate is not required to file pre-election financial disclosure reports until he or she has reached the threshold amount for campaign contributions or expenditures with a view toward influencing the outcome of an election”.  This rule has also clearly been confirmed by the Alabama Bar in its training sessions for candidates. (See http://www.alabar.org/sections/elections_ethics_government/Al-CampaignFinanceLawUpdate.pdf) The threshold in this case of a statewide race was $25,000.  Harry Lyon has publicly stated that he has not reached the threshold, having only raised $500 and $250 of that was a loan from himself; therefore he is not required to file disclosure reports.

“If the Alabama Democratic Party is considering removing Harry Lyon from the ballot when they know full well that Mr. Lyon is not in violation of the FCPA regulations, they would be wise to remember what happened in 1986, the last time the Alabama Democratic Party tried to overstep their authority and had to sit back and watch as Alabama voters voiced their disgust with backroom shenanigans.  During that election former Attorney General Charlie Graddick received the most votes in the Democrat run off for Governor, but the Democrat State Committee removed Graddick from the ballot and replaced him with former Lt. Governor Bill Baxley. That resulted in the election of the first Republican Governor in Alabama in over 100 years.

“I hope Judge Kennedy is prepared to explain to the Alabama press and more importantly Alabama voters why he is willing to toss out a legitimate candidate on bogus charges when the facts and evidence are against him.

“Judge, I agree with you, the law is the law.  Are you going to abide by it?”

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Bill Armistead
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