Alabama attorneys ask DA to look into campaign donations

Alabama attorneys ask DA to look into campaign donations

By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two Montgomery lawyers asked the local district attorney Thursday to review $735,000 in contributions Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall received from a national Republican group as a possible campaign finance violation.

Jullian McPhillips, who has spoken as a campaign surrogate for Marshall’s opponent, Joe Siegelman, and conservative attorney Melissa Isaak contend Marshall violated campaign finance law by accepting “illegal” donations since the group connected to the Republican Attorneys General Association had accepted money from other PACs. Alabama law bans transfers between political action committees and says candidates must return contributions they know to be illegal.

“We believe the state attorney general has clearly, unequivocally violated state law,” McPhillips said in a news conference.

The action came after Siegelman criticized Marshall over the donations as he seeks to unseat the Republican incumbent. Marshall and RAGA maintained the contributions are legal.

“Unfortunately, this is just another political stunt,” Marshall’s campaign said in a statement. The campaign said Alabamians are tired of “liberal activist lawyers who abuse the court system with false and frivolous accusations.”

McPhillips and Isaak contend in the letter to Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey that Marshall erred by accepting money that had shuffled between PACs. The letter asked Bailey to take all appropriate action, including having a grand jury decide “whether Mr. Marshall should be formally charged with a violation.”

This summer, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Marshall’s primary opponent over the money.

Marshall’s attorney argued that there was no violation because the Washington, D.C.-based RAGA group is federally regulated and didn’t fall under the Alabama law. Even if it did, he said, there was no wrongdoing by Marshall because the law allows PACs to give to candidates.

In addition to the issues of legality he raised, Siegelman has said the use of the PAC makes it difficult to know who is funding Marshall’s campaign.