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.”
Bloomberg making final Alabama push
The Michael Bloomberg campaign is making Alabama one of its top Super Tuesday priorities — hoping that state Democratic voters will help catapult the former New York City mayor into the running for the party’s presidential nomination.
Bloomberg has already spent more time in Alabama than most of the other candidates — including kicking off his presidential run by qualifying first on the Alabama ballot and speaking at an Alabama Democratic Conference meeting — and has flooded the state with workers and cash, buying advertising spots and building infrastructure the likes of which Alabama has rarely seen.
With the primary less than a week away now, Bloomberg’s campaign is making a last push.
That will be highlighted by the former mayor’s visit to the state over the weekend and a number of surrogates making their way around Alabama throughout the coming days.
That starts in earnest on Thursday, when former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, one of the first mayors to endorse Bloomberg, travels to Miles College for a “community conversation” with students and others.
The visit to a historically black college is no coincidence, as Bloomberg’s campaign looks to regain the support of black voters after his history as NYC mayor drew major fire from his Democratic primary opponents. Having the endorsement of the ADC, the state’s black caucus, will certainly help, but former Vice President Joe Biden maintains strong support among black voters and moderates in Alabama.
Nutter will be joined at Miles by former Birmingham Mayor William Bell, who also has announced his support for Bloomberg.
Following the event at Miles, Nutter will travel to the Alabama State House in Montgomery for a meeting with the Alabama Baptist Association Leadership and then on to Selma, where he’ll attend a reception for the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors.
Buttigieg to visit Alabama on Sunday
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be in Selma Sunday for a short visit in observance of the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” The Pete for America campaign also announces that they will be hosting more than 100 events in Alabama this weekend as part of their get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort ahead of the Super Tuesday Democratic presidential primary.
As part of that effort, Pete for America announced an Alabama television ad purchase in the Birmingham and Montgomery media markets featuring an Alabama-specific digital ad program to reach more voters. Miss Black America Ryann Richardson and NAACP leader Lammell McMorris will be participating in these efforts with an online town hall on Monday.
“We are building the campaign that will not only win the nomination, but will defeat Donald Trump in November,” said Stephenine Dixon the Alabama State Director for Pete for America. “We know Pete’s message is resonating in Alabama –– voters are tired of the politics of division and dysfunction. And Pete is the candidate offering bold solutions to our country’s greatest challenges in a way that actually unites the country. To propel Pete to the nomination, we’re taking Pete’s message to voters with 100 events across the state of Alabama ahead of the primary. We’re also running a first-of-its-kind GOTV program that combines digital organizing, paid media, and our boots-on-the-ground organizing to reach Alabama voters.”
The Pete for America will launch a new targeted digital advertising program in Alabama featuring state-specific digital ads. The ad buy includes user-generated content of voters across Alabama explaining why they’re supporting Pete.
Blacks in Alabama vote Democratic at a rate well in excess of 90 percent and are overwhelmingly the majority of Democrats in Alabama. Conservative talk radio host and recent Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh recently predicted that Buttigieg will not attract support from Blacks saying that “America is not ready” to see two gay men kissing on stage.
Buttigieg responded to Limbaugh’s comments, “I love my husband.” If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay man elected President of the United States. At age 38, he also would be the youngest President in the history of the country.
Buttigieg volunteers are direct messaging each of their social media followers to encourage them to move their online support to offline action. The campaign claims that they’re asking them about their plan to vote and whether they can knock doors and get plugged into on the ground work.
The TV ad titled “Urgent,” underscores what the campaign calls Pete’s unifying vision for our future that will heal our country so we can begin tackling our greatest challenges.
The online community town hall will be at 12:00 PM CST featuring Miss Black America Ryann Richardson and NAACP leader Lamell McMorris.
For GOTV, the campaign will have 30,000 volunteers across the Super Tuesday states hosting hundreds of voter contact events –– including “knock your block” events, block parties, phone banks, canvass launches, and more to mobilize voters to vote on March 3rd. Pete for America is not just asking volunteers to phone bank and knock on the doors of strangers. Rather, the campaign is having them reach out to their own personal community –– their friends, neighbors, and networks to make a personal case for why they need to vote for Pete.
The events in Selma commemorate the attempted crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge by voting rights marchers during the Civil Rights Movement over 50 years ago. Then Governor George C. Wallace ordered the then all White Alabama State Troopers to use force to prevent the marchers from crossing the bridge and coming to Montgomery. The events made national and international headlines. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rushed to Alabama along with hundreds of additional civil rights supporters and eventually made that march to Montgomery.
There reportedly will be four presidential candidates in Selma this weekend. Buttigieg is one of the four. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is reportedly also coming to the state. Former Vice President Joe Biden has staked his campaign on doing well with African Americans. The Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) has endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa Caucus and had a strong second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary; though he performed poorly in the Nevada Caucus.
Moore legal team files motion for Judge Rochester to recuse
Attorney Melissa Isaak filed Thursday on behalf of her client, Judge Roy Moore, a motion to recuse Judge John Rochester from further consideration of the legal case between Moore and his accuser, Leigh Corfman.
The Moore team said that is the case due to the following reasons: “Judge Rochester’s continued decision to preside over this case despite the fact that his appointment was “temporary” and expired on January 14, 2019 over a year ago, Judge Rochester’s untimely delay of approximately five months in ruling on dispositive motions in this case brought only to accuse Judge Moore of defamation for merely denying false allegations against him, which is not even a valid cause of action, Judge Rochester’s open friendship, support, and financial contributions for Doug Jones in his 2017 Senate campaign against Judge Moore, according to his own personal Facebook account, Open and virulent criticism of Judge Moore by Linda Rochester, wife of Judge John Rochester during the 2017 Senate campaign on her own personal Facebook page, Judge Rochester’s criticism and mocking of Christianity on his Facebook page with full knowledge of Judge Moore’s strong belief in God, Judge Rochester’s political animus against the Republican Party and President Donald Trump who supported Judge Moore in the 2017 general election, Judge Rochester’s obvious political bias in his quick response to set a trial date in this case, within two weeks of the upcoming Republican primary which will determine the opponent in the general election against Doug Jones.”
Moore claims, “As stated in Attorney Isaak’s motion, any individual would have a solid basis for questioning Judge John Rochester’s impartiality, political motivation, and bias in presiding over this case.”
Moore is claiming that Judge John Rochester’s friendship, support, and financial contribution to Doug Jones in combination with his wife’s open criticism of Judge Moore during the 2017 special election for US Senate in which Judge Moore was a candidate, mandates immediate recusal of Judge John Rochester in this frivolous action.
Moore has also objected in the past to this case being in Montgomery County court, when Corfman’s allegations of improper sexual conduct between her and Moore in 1976 allegedly occurred in Etowah County.
Corfman claims that Moore and her engaged in inappropriate touching through their underwear in 1976 when Corfman was just 15 years old. Under Alabama law, then as now, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16, not 15. Corfman’s allegation, along with allegations by women dating from decades ago were released in an article by the Washington Post after Moore had won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2017. The shocking allegations were trumpeted by the national press as well as by Democrats. Moore narrowly lost the December 2017 special election to Clinton era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D), the only time a Democrat has won any statewide election in Alabama since 2008.
Moore has steadfastly denied the allegations. Corfman sued Moore in Montgomery Court after the election for defamation of character. Moore has since sued Corfman, the other accusers, and the architects of the Reed Hoffman financed, illicit Russian style tactics, which Moore claims were largely responsible with depressing Republican turnout and increasing the efforts by GOP moderates to defeat Moore by writing in the name of some candidate other than Moore.
While many Republicans accepted the accusations against Moore as “credible” they rejected similar accusations against Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.
Moore was twice elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and is a current candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Jones.
The Republican primary is on March 3.
Conservatives urge voters to vote “no” on Amendment One
On February 4 conservative thought leaders from across the State of Alabama spoke in front of the Alabama Statehouse urging voters to vote No on Amendment One.
Amendment one would strip Alabama voters of their ability to elect the state school board and replace the elected board with a commission appointed by the Governor.
Former state school board member Betty Peters (R) said that Amendment One amends the state constitution requiring schools to adopt nationwide standards.
“There are no nationally recognized standards other than the Common Core Standards,” Peters warned.
Lou Campomenosi with the Campaign for Common Sense said, “Voting No on Amendment one is absolutely essential”
“The Alabama Conservative Coalition has been working on this since August,” Campomenosi added. “We are tired of this and we are not going to take it any more.”
Peters called the wording of Amendment One “Deceptive.”
“I served on the state school board for 16 years and I had a 100 percent record of opposing Common Core, also known as College and Career Ready Standards,” Peters said.
Peters blamed the implementation of Common Core and Alabama’s subsequent drop to last place nationally in education to: Bob Riley, Kay Ivey, Terri Collins and the Business Council of Alabama.
“We defeated Amendment One (in 2003) with a 70 percent vote and lets do it again,” Peters said.
Dr. Joe Godfrey with the Alabama Citizens Action Patrol said, “We are opposed to amendment one and we are trying to encourage pastors to oppose it as well.”
“We are taking away that very right to elect people that our forefathers fought for,” Godfrey continued. “Church members need to go to their pastor and ask them to get involved in this.”
State Representative Bob Fincher (R-Woodland) said, “I voted against this amendment twice, in the education policy committee and on the floor.”
“I was not sent to Montgomery as a representative of the Governor’s office, the BCA, or the AEA,” Fincher continued. “It is not in the interests of the people of Alabama. The people of this state do not need to cede their right to Montgomery to elect a state school board.”
“A board appointed by the Governor will respond to whatever the governor tells them to do, not what the people tell them,” Fincher added. “That other party has adopted many proposals that are highly socialistic. This is a socialist program. It takes away from the people their power and their sovereignty and places it in the hands of government officials.”
“I am an old high school history teacher and I taught government,” Fincher said, “I hope that we avoid this with every ounce of energy that we possess.”
“Don’t take the bait,” Fincher warned.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “March 3rd is one of the most important state elections in history.”
“Amendment One will take your right away to vote on state school board members and let Gov Ivey have the right to appoint all the state school board,” Zeigler said. “It puts the requirements of the common core into the state constitution.”
“My wife, Jackie Zeigler, ran against a gov Bentley appointee,” Zeigler added. “The young man had never been involved in public schools. He as an incumbent raised $216,000 in special interest money. Jackie Zeigler would never have been appointed even though she is the most qualified person to ever have served.”
Senate candidate State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) said, “It is about our children and grandchildren. The socialist left is attacking the very values that built this country.”
“This is too much concentration of authority in the executive branch,” Mooney warned. “I am not in favor of national standards.”
“We don’t need to be educating illegal immigrants at a cost $16,000 per person,” Mooney said.
Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) said, “I was one of three Republicans in the Alabama legislature to vote against this. In 1970, we had an appointed board.” We switched to an elected board because they at the time thought would work better not they want to switch to an appointed board again.
Sorrell said that the state had tried to build a toll bridge in Mobile without the support of the people. “Thank you to our State Auditor for putting the kobash on that.”
“I have seen the polling on this issue and we can win and we will win,” Sorrell said.
Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 3 to decide whether or not to surrender their powers to elect the school board.
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