SOS: Strange - This Could Be A ProblemRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: May 02 2017 9:55 PM
By Bill and Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Recently appointed Senator Luther Strange, only a few months into his new job, has potentially committed two major campaign finance violations, according to Secretary of State John Merrill.
Campaign finance records show that Strange transferred campaign contributions between his US Senate campaign account and his Alabama Attorney General account, outside of the legal window. The contributions also exceeded the legal limit on account transfers.
Each of the violations could be prosecuted as felony offenses if the State Ethics Commission takes up the case and refers charges. Former Gov. Robert Bentley faced possible felony charges for a similar transfer that took place outside of the legal time frame.
Though Strange was appointed to the Senate in February, his US Senate campaign began in 2016. That’s when the pair of campaign contributions were made, which could possibly derail Strange’s bid to earn his seat in the upper chamber of Congress by his own right. According to the State’s Fair Campaign Practice Act (FCPA), it is unlawful for a candidate to receive contributions past 120 days of an election, until the beginning of the next election cycle. On December 6, 2016, Strange transferred $606.00 from his Federal Senate campaign account into his State Attorney General account.
A few weeks later, on December 30, 2016, he moved $454.00 from his US Senate campaign account to his State Attorney General campaign account. Strange listed the transfers as reimbursements from “Strange for Senate” to “Alabamians for Luther Strange.”
According to Section 17-5-7.3 of the State’s campaign finance laws, “For a period of 120 days after the election in which the person was a candidate, but only to the extent of any campaign debt of the candidate or principal campaign committee of the candidate as indicated on the campaign financial disclosure form or to the extent of reaching the threshold that is required for qualification as a candidate for the office which he or she currently holds, or both.”