HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama GOP Attorney General candidate Troy King stepped up his attacks on runoff opponent, incumbent Attorney General Steve Marshall Wednesday, filing a lawsuit to block Marshall from spending campaign funds that King says are illegal.
King filed a lawsuit in Montgomery Circuit Court asking a judge to block Marshall from spending any money -- around $730,000 – from his biggest donor, the Republican Attorneys General Association, RAGA.
That’s about 30 percent of his total campaign war chest.
King, the former attorney general, argues that RAGA took money from other PACs, and that means the money it’s given to Marshall violates Alabama’s ban on PAC to PAC money transfers.
King is also asking for a hearing on the request as soon as possible.
Marshall's attorney sent a letter to King's representatives Wednesday evening, asking for the action to be dismissed and arguing King's lawsuit is wrong on state law.
The letter, from Marshall attorney Edward A. “Ted” Hosp, argues, in part:
"Further, even if it were assumed that Alabama law applied here, which it clearly does not, the receipt of a contribution by a candidate from a PAC that has taken money from another PAC is not what is prohibited under the FCPA. Rather, the code section at issue here, Ala. Code § 17-5-15(b) prohibits the transfer of funds from one PAC to another, but it only regulates the activity of the PACs. Had the Legislature desired to prohibit the receipt of such contributions by a candidate, it certainly could have done so – and in fact in other situations does precisely that."
The runoff is set for July 17. Marshall edged King in the primary, neither candidate got 30 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
King filed an ethics complaint against Marshall Monday, contending he’d violated the PAC to PAC ban that was enacted as part of a state ethics law overhaul in 2010.
King asked that the Alabama Ethics Commission expedite a review of the complaint.
But Marshall’s campaign denies any wrongdoing, calling King’s attacks “absurd.”
“As ethics commission director Tom Albritton stated (Monday), practitioners and the Secretary of State’s office agree that there is no violation of the law here.”
Albritton did acknowledge the ethics commission hasn’t addressed the issue. And it’s not clear if the commission will hold an expedited hearing before Tuesday’s vote.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said the Ethics Commission has the final say on issuing guidance on the contributions and he thinks they should do so.