Former Democratic state senator charged with campaign finance violation
Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday announced the arrest of former State Senator David “Coach” Burkette (D-Montgomery) for allegedly violating Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA).
This came after Burkette, also a former Montgomery city councilman and retired longtime Montgomery Public Schools educator, resigned his senate seat on Tuesday amid rumors of a plea deal being reached with prosecutors.
Governor Kay Ivey’s press secretary told Yellowhammer News at the time, “Governor Ivey is disappointed, but firmly supports the rule of law, and particularly in this situation when there has been a clear misuse of public trust.”
The 63-year-old Burkette has now been charged by complaint with violating the FCPA.
According to Marshall’s office, Burkette is charged with allegedly failing to deposit campaign contributions into his city council campaign checking account, a violation of Ala. Code § 17-5-6 (1975). This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine not exceeding $6,000.
Specifically, the complaint alleged that in 2015 and 2016 while running for city council, Burkette intentionally 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. This means that the charge stems from before Burkette was a candidate for the state senate.
The case is being prosecuted by Marshall’s Special Prosecutions Division.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News on Thursday morning before the arrest was announced, Burkette did not mention the alleged violation or any legal trouble.
“To all Montgomerians, especially those who reside within District 26: Yes, it is true; I have transitioned from my State Senate seat,” he began. “I may have stepped down, but I haven’t stepped out.”
“Some may wonder will I stop serving. There is not a bone in my body that will stop serving the people from this district,” continued Burkette, who has been wheelchair-bound since suffering a stroke in late 2018. “Great things happen when you put everything in God’s hands and I have. So, I will serve, and this wheelchair will continue to make me look good doing it.”
“I have served the public for 17 years. I served faithfully as a City Councilor, after which I was blessed to serve as a State Senator. However, even before I entered politics helping others and serving the community was already a part of my daily activities. I coached, I educated, I helped, I influenced, and I developed so many young men and women over the years. It was an honor to be addressed as Coach Burkette, and it was my pleasure serving you all as State Senator. My office address may have changed, but my phone number hasn’t changed. I haven’t changed, and my love for the people definitely has not changed. Thank you for allowing me to serve you, and God Bless You,” he concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn