Alabama Secretary of State releases list of 93 candidates who failed to file annual campaign finance reports

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill released a list of 93 former Alabama candidates or Political Action Committees that failed to file a 2016 annual campaign finance report by Jan. 31, 2017.

Merrill said more than 1,000 candidates or PACs should have filed the annual report by the end of January, but 93 failed to do so.

The candidate's campaign finance records -- either paper or electronic -- can be viewed at the Alabama Secretary of State's website, Alabamavotes.gov, or using this link.

The list includes a number of candidates who appeared to make a brief bid for office in 2014 and didn’t raise much money. But Merrill said since 2014 Alabama law requires any state or local candidate who raised or spent $1,000 in a campaign year to file a report.

Among those listed is Spencer Collier, a former member of the Alabama House.

Collier’s last annual report filing is listed for 2015 and shows a balance of $20,336. Collier was appointed to head the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in 2013 and fired last year by Gov. Robert Bentley. Collier’s firing helped set off of a chain of events that led to Bentley’s resignation last month.

There are currently no administrative penalties for failing to file, but Merrill said his office notified the Alabama Attorney General’s office and the Alabama Ethics Commission about the missing annual reports.

The penalty structure will change come June – when candidates can start raising money for the 2018 elections – with escalating fines for failure to file related campaign contribution and spending disclosures.

Merrill said administrative penalties will be levied in the amounts of $300 (or 10% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for first time offenders;

  • $600 (or 15% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for second time offenders;
  • $1,200 (or 20% of contributions or expenditures not reported) for third and subsequent offences respectively.

These fines will be assessed when candidates or PACs fail to meet the filing deadline.

The Secretary of State’s office said it was releasing the names to encourage candidates to get into compliance by June, or they could be subject to fines.