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Ethics complaint against Steve Marshall tossed out

The Alabama Ethics Commission dismissed a highly publicized complaint against Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday stemming from his campaign accepting contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in Washington, D.C.

The complaint was originally filed by one of Marshall’s primary election opponents, Troy King, during the campaign season. Marshall’s general election opponent, Democratic nominee Joseph Siegelman, then continued to press the issue after the primary.

Marshall’s opponents argued that the contributions from RAGA’s federal PAC violated the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) because the federal PAC receives funds from other PACs. The state law has a ban on PACs under its jurisdiction accepting money from or giving money to other PACs. King and Siegelman contended that federal PACs across the nation must follow Alabama state law if participating in an election in the state.

The Ethics Commission found that there were “insufficient facts” to determine that Marshall or his campaign violated state law, dismissing the complaint against him and closing the case. Their decision came near the end of an approximately five-hour long public meeting, where they decided on a bevy of ethics complaints and campaign violations.

The Commission also voted 3-2 to carry over voting on a staff advisory opinion clarifying whether federal PACs need to register in Alabama and adhere to the FCPA. The Commission wants the legislature to legislate the issue instead of them, as they are an unelected body.

Marshall’s campaign has called the complaints against him by his unsuccessful election opponents a “political stunt.”

When King filed the complaint right before the primary election, a spokesman for RAGA said, “This complaint is a desperate ploy from a flailing campaign filed one week before the election against the wrong entity and based upon an incorrect reading of the law.”

Both RAGA and Marshall’s campaign have said that the contributions complied with all relevant laws.

A Montgomery judge previously threw the complaint out of court citing a lack of jurisdiction.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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