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Alabama local official paid thousands for missed FCPA deadlines

It’s rare for political candidates on the local or state level to miss reporting deadlines required by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. It’s more rare for the penalties from missing those deadlines to incur thousands of dollars for the campaign responsible. 

Mandatory fees that stack up for missing reporting deadlines beyond a generous 48-hour window of leniency upon the initial violation are proportional to two factors: The number of filings missed, as well as the total value of funds raised and disbursed by the campaign during the period unreported.

One elected official in Dale County recently found out how that math works in the sum of $3,223.

According to the Secretary of State’s FCPA database, Dale County Commission Chairman Steve McKinnon paid that amount in what he confirmed to be three months worth of penalties as a consequence of missed deadlines from May to July of last year. 

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McKinnon says his accountant was locked out of the account because it had been years since campaign reports had been due. 

When he learned about the fine, McKinnon said his goal was to pay it in full and “keep on rolling.” He also reported that he’s facing no further punitive action.

“We received the notices about the penalties for filing and we were told that we could appeal them and possibly get some of the penalties waived since it wasn’t intentional,” his accountant and daughter Courtney McKinney said. 

“Mr. McKinnon decided that he would just pay the penalties and not appeal them,” Since all of this has occurred there have been no more late filings and everything will continue to be filed on time.”

Between the three monthly reports missed by McKinnon, eventually filed in August, the campaign reported a sum of contributions and expenditures exceeding $20,000. 

However, things could have gotten more serious for a candidate like McKinnon after the third missed filing deadline. 

“A fourth failure to properly file a required FCPA report creates a rebuttable presumption that the candidate is intentionally violating the reporting requirements,” Alabama’s 2023 candidates filing guide reads. “The Secretary of State or judge of probate shall notify the Attorney General and the appropriate district attorney of all persons who violate the filing requirements four or more times in an election cycle.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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