A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge denied on Thursday the Troy King campaign’s request for a restraining order preventing Attorney General Steve Marshall from spending thousands in alleged illegal donations.
Judge James Anderson agreed with Marshall defense attorney Ted Hosp that a state court has no standing to block contributions flowing from out-of-state political action committees (PACs).
King has argued that donations from the Republican Attorneys General Association to Marshall violate the state’s ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers. Anderson said the remedy for King’s complaint was the Alabama Ethics Commission, where a complaint is currently pending.
“I’m having a real problem with whether I have jurisdiction, especially to determine that something illegal has happened with a federal PAC,” Anderson during the hearing. “It’s not illegal for a federal PAC to make these transfers.”
Anderson said Alabama’s law that bans the transfers, passed in 2010, prohibits the transfers from being made. There are no laws against candidates receiving the donations, he said — a point with which attorneys from both sides seemed to agree with Anderson.
Anderson was unmoved by King’s attorney, Agricola’s, argument that failing to block the use of campaign funds received in such a way would open up an avenue for all campaigns to avoid Alabama PAC-to-PAC transfer ban — simply move the donations to out-of-state PACs before rerouting them to other PACs and then back to the candidates.
Regardless, Thursday’s ruling means Marshall can move forward spending the recent $300,000 he received from RAGA — a donation that brings his total received from that group to more than $700,000.
King disagreed with the decision, but said his only appeal would be to “the court of public opinion.” He then took several shots at Marshall for violating the spirit of the PAC-to-PAC ban, which was put in place to prevent political donors from hiding the original source of donations.
“Steve Marshall has given Democrats the weapon they need to destroy the entire Republican Party using out-of-state liberal money,” King said in a statement.
King also took a shot at Anderson, noting that he is a prominent Democrat, and inferring that his ruling was politically motivated.
A release from Marshall’s office called the court filing and ethics commission complaint from King a “political stunt.”