MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A former state senator on Monday pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance charges.
Former State Sen. David Burkette, 63, pleaded guilty to violating the Fair Campaign Practices Act during his run for the Montgomery City Council five years ago. The attorney general’s office said Burkette failed to deposit $3,625 in campaign contributions into his campaign checking account, and instead, deposited or cashed those contributions into or against his personal bank account.
Burkette was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but the sentence was suspended and he was placed on 12 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine
“Candidates for public office at the state, county and municipal levels must comply with the State’s Fair Campaign Practices Act,” Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement. “Personally profiting from campaign funds erodes public confidence in the system and will not be tolerated.”
Burkette of Montgomery resigned suddenly from the Alabama Senate earlier this month ahead of the charges being announced.
“There is not a bone in my body that will stop serving the people from this district. Great things happen when you put everything in God’s hands and I have,” Burkette said in an earlier statement about his resignation.
A retired educator, Burkette served on the Montgomery City Council from 2007 to 2018. He was elected to the Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Quinton Ross, who is now president of Alabama State University. Burkette suffered a stroke in December 2018, and used a wheelchair at the Statehouse while scheduling therapy sessions around legislative duties.
WSFA reported that when asked if he had any final words before the sentenced was imposed, Burkette stated, “Thank God I’m still here.”
A special election will be held to fill the seat.