Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Alabama AG Steve Marshall accused of campaign finance violations by runoff opponent Troy King

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, who is bidding to unseat Attorney General Steve Marshall in the July 17 GOP runoff, has filed an ethics complaint against Marshall alleging he took improper campaign contributions.

The complaint was filed Monday morning and accuses Marshall of taking money from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) political action committee that is prohibited by Alabama law.

The problem, King alleges, is the group took money from other PACs, a violation of Alabama’s ban on PAC to PAC money transfers.

The complaint argues:

“Now, during the 2017 election cycle, according to RAGA’s public filings with the Internal Revenue Service, the RAGA’s PAC has again accepted a number of contributions from other PACs, including, earlier this year, nearly $16,000 from the J.P. Morgan PAC plus another $50,000 in PAC contributions in the last quarter of 2017. RAGA’s PAC has now, during the election cycle, made hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions to Steve Marshall for Alabama, Inc.”

[Read Troy King's ethics complaint

King argues Marshall should have been aware of the problem because his predecessor Luther Strange gave back to $50,000 to the PAC in the 2014 election after his opponent complained. And, King contends, Ashley Newman, who served as Strange’s campaign accountant when that refund check was written four years ago, currently serves in a high-level position on the Marshall campaign.

Marshall was appointed attorney general by then-Gov. Robert Bentley in 2016, after Bentley picked Strange to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.

Marshall narrowly defeated King in the primary for the attorney general’s race. The race included four candidates and neither Marshall nor King received 30 percent of the vote.

King’s complaint asks the Alabama Ethics Commission to expedite its review of the complaint and make a ruling before the July 17 primary.

King also asks that charges be brought against Marshall, the Marshall campaign, the Republican Attorneys General Association and the campaign staffer Ashley Newman.

WHNT News 19 asked the Marshall campaign for a comment, and received this reply:

"We are pleased to have received support from RAGA Action Fund and trust they have complied with Alabama law. Any questions about their organization should be directed to them."

We received this statement from Charlie Spies, RAGA and RAGA Action Counsel:

“This complaint is a desperate ploy from a flailing campaign, filed one week before the election, against the wrong entity, and based upon an incorrect reading of the law.”