By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senate candidate Randy Brinson on Monday called for Gov. Kay Ivey to require the Alabama Ethics Commission to hold a special meeting to take up allegations that Sen. Luther Strange violated campaign finance laws.
Brinson held a brief press conference outside of the Alabama Capitol building before entering to hand deliver letters to Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill encouraging them to push for an Ethics Committee meeting prior to the Aug. 15 Republican primary in the Senate special election. It’s not clear if either the governor or Merrill, who filed the allegations against Strange, have the authority to demand that the Commission meet.
“This is too important an issue for this state to allow it to go without a proper investigation,” Brinson said. “It should be properly investigated and the voters given an answer one way or the other. I don’t want this election destroyed because the Ethics Commission went on vacation.”
The Commission was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, but late last week, it announced, by way of a simple post on its website, that the meeting would be delayed until Aug. 16. That new meeting date is one day after the Aug. 15 Republican primary.
In a complaint filed with the Ethics Commission in early May, Merrill alleged that Strange possibly violated campaign finance laws by accepting donations that were above the legal limit and outside of the time allowable by Alabama’s campaign finance laws.
Strange’s camp has denied those allegations and said federal laws trumped the state’s on the matter.
The allegations are almost identical to the ones former Gov. Robert Bentley faced. Bentley eventually pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and resigned from office.
“The complaint was filed by the Secretary of State and it warrants review before this election,” Brinson said. “I don’t want this state to suffer the embarrassment of what could come from this.”
Strange could face felony charges if convicted of the two allegations. One carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, while the other carries up to 10 years in prison.