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5 days ago

Troy King files suit against Steve Marshall, heating up final days of attorney general’s race

The race for Alabama’s attorney general got hotter Wednesday when Troy King, who faces Attorney General Steve Marshall in a primary runoff next Tuesday, filed suit against Marshall’s campaign seeking a temporary restraining order against Marshall’s use of campaign contributions given to him by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).

King called those contributions illegal in an ethics complaint that he filed on Monday, alleging that Marshall has committed “intentional, willful, and flagrant violations of Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practices Act” by accepting “PAC-to-PAC” contributions from RAGA. The lawsuit raised the stakes from the initial ethics complaint.

Marshall’s campaign, citing the Alabama Ethics Commission and Secretary of State, said in a statement that there has been no violation of the law.

A laywer for RAGA, which King was an active member of when he was attorney general, yesterday called King’s complaint “a desperate ploy of a flailing campaign.”

Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) makes it illegal for any PAC or 527 political organization to make “a contribution, expenditure, or any other transfer of funds to any other PAC or 527 organization.”

FCPA also requires such unlawful contributions to be returned. The statute reads, “It shall be unlawful for any person acting on behalf of a principal campaign committee or political action committee to retain or cause to be retained a contribution that the person knows or reasonably should know was made in violation of this chapter.”

RAGA is a 527 organization that has both accepted PAC-to-PAC transfers and contributed funds to Marshall.

However, it’s unclear whether or not RAGA’s contributions, and therefore Marshall’s acceptance of them, are illegal, due to ambiguity from the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton told the Associated Press on Tuesday that such contributions from federal PACs are not illegal.

“Our commission has not formally determined the substantive issues here, but practitioners and the secretary of state’s office have said that it does not violate any laws,” Albritton said.

Even still, Albritton had at one time told candidates inquiring about the matter that such contributions are not legal, according to AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire.

Albritton could not be reached for comment regarding what specifically the secretary of state’s office has said of the legality of contributions such as RAGA’s to Marshall.

Secretary of State John Merrill on Wednesday reiterated to Yellowhammer News the need for the Ethics Commission to offer a clarification on federal PAC-to-PAC transfers.

In any case, Marshall’s campaign accepts Albritton’s argument, saying in a statement to Yellowhammer News that there have been no infractions.

“As Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton stated yesterday, practitioners and the Secretary of State’s office agree that there is no violation of the law here,” the statement said.

King’s argument focuses on statutory language in Alabama Code 17-5-2 (13) which defines political action committees subject to FCPA’s transfer rules as those located both in the state and outside of it, and says that guidance from the Ethics Commission is wrong.

“It’s not about the ethics commission,” Angi Horn Stalnaker, King’s campaign manager, told Yellowhammer News on Wednesday. “It’s about what the law says.”

As for FCPA’s jurisdiction, a source on the Marshall side of the debate contends that there is a serious legal question of whether Alabama actually has the ability to regulate something like federal PAC-to-PAC transfers, a task that federal law has relegated to the Federal Election Commission.

King’s lawsuit is part of a broader argument that King has made against his opponent’s election, with Marshall’s involvement in RAGA taking center stage.

In a Tuesday press conference, King said that Marshall has been “bought and paid for” by RAGA, as evidenced by his attendance to various meetings and fundraisers also attended by wealthy donors.

However, King was also an active member of RAGA during his time as attorney general. He attended at least 14 RAGA meetings from Spring 2004 to Winter 2010 and held fundraisers at two of the events, according to RAGA.

The following example documents are provided by RAGA to Yellowhammer News.

King fundraiser at RAGA event (Courtesy RAGA)
King fundraiser at RAGA event (courtesy RAGA)
Example RAGA attendance sheet (Courtesy RAGA)

King said in his press conference yesterday that RAGA has become “an organization whose activities have become more sinister and controversial” since he left it.

In response, RAGA lawyer Charlie Spies said Tuesday, “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.”

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

Rep. Byrne: Americans are better off now

Two years ago, I joined other Republican House members in unveiling our “Better Way” agenda. The agenda covered everything from national security to tax reform to the economy. It was a bold vision about a different path for America that wasn’t driven by a larger, more powerful federal government. Instead, we advocated for a better way where we got government out of the way and allowed the American people to flourish.

Working with President Trump, we have held true to our promises to the American people. Two years later and with many parts of the agenda in place, we can safely say that Americans are better off now. Our communities are safer. The economy is booming. Our military is being rebuilt. Our “Better Way” is paying off.

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Our communities are safer because we have made supporting law enforcement a top priority. We have passed historic legislation to address the opioid crisis, which is having a horrible impact on communities in Alabama and throughout the country. In addition to better policy, we have invested $4 billion in grants and programs to help combat the opioid crisis.

We passed legislation to devote more resources to school safety, and we have made real progress in the fight against human trafficking. In fact, we have seen a 60% decline in online advertising for sex trafficking.

Also, important to keeping our communities safe, we set aside $1.5 billion for physical barriers and technology along the southern border and provided for over 90 miles of a border wall system. Border security is national security.

No one can deny that the American economy is booming. Just consider these numbers: 90% of Americans are seeing larger paychecks under our tax reform bill. 3.7 million jobs have been created since November 2016. There are 6.6 million job openings in the United States as of May 2018, meaning more jobs than job seekers. And, $4.1 billion has been saved in agency regulatory costs by rolling back burdensome government regulations.

One of my biggest concerns during the Obama Administration was the hollowing out of our military. We had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail. We were not making the continuous critical investment in our military necessary to keep up with our adversaries. Thankfully, those days are over.

We have made the largest investment in our military in 15 years. This means 20,000 new troops, the largest pay increase for our service members since 2010, more training time, better equipment, new ships, and much more.

On the world stage, countries know that the United States means what we say. ISIS is on the run in the Middle East, North Korea has come to the negotiating table, and China is being held accountable for their dangerous trade practices.

Now, I want to make clear that much work remains. For example, we have to keep working to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that our borders are finally secure. We also cannot give up on our efforts to improve health care in our country. Costs remain too high and rural communities right here in Alabama are facing dangerous hospital closures.

But, despite what some on the other side of the aisle and the national news media want you to believe, the American people are better off now than they were two years ago. That’s a testament to our pro-growth agenda, but, more importantly, it is a testament to the spirit and drive of the American people.

Want to know more? I encourage you to visit Better.gop to learn more about the various ways the American people are better off now.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. 

32 mins ago

Illegal alien beheads 13-year-old Huntsville girl

Law enforcement officials in Alabama say an illegal alien and an immigrant in America on a green card are responsible for murdering a 13-year-old girl with special needs and her grandmother, who had connections to Mexican drug cartels, says a report by AL.com.

The brutal beheading of 13-year-old Mariah Lopez took place after she witnessed her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza, get attacked with a knife in a cemetery, according to court testimony.

Mendoza, the 49-year-old grandmother, was alleged to have had connections with the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, a popular and deadly drug-trafficking organization.

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Mendoza, along with Israel Palomino and Yoni Aguilar, had traveled to Georgia on June 2 to pick up methamphetamine, according to Investigator Stacy Rutherford. During the trip, one of the men became suspicious that Mendoza’s involvement was a setup.

Authorities say that Mendoza and Aguilar lived together and had dated one another in the past.

Palomino and Aguilar reportedly woke up Mendoza one night and told her that they were taking her and her granddaughter somewhere safe.

On June 4, Mendoza and Lopez were reportedly driven to Moon Cemetery located on Cave Springs Road. According to Aguilar, Mendoza and Palomino got out of the car and argued about the entire situation.

According to Aguilar, that is when the situation escalated and Palomino stabbed Mendoza. Due to Mendoza’s granddaughter being at the scene during the crime, Aguilar and Palomino took the 13-year-old girl to a separate location nearby and beheaded her.

Aguilar revealed to investigators that he was holding a knife when Palomino walked up to him and moved his arm back and forth in a sawing motion. Lopez was later beheaded.

Days later, both Aguilar and Palomino were placed in custody.

Two knives were recovered and cell phone signals from both of the men’s cellphones were pinged at the locations of each occurrence.

Palomino, 34, and Aguilar, 26, are both charged with two counts each of capital murder in the slayings of Mariah Lopez and her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

1 hour ago

Roy Moore is not done embarrassing Alabama yet

Whether you view former Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore as the “Ten Commandments’ Judge”, the “guy banned from the Gadsden Mall”, or the “guy who lost to Doug Jones”, you probably don’t think very highly of him. He has brought loads of scorn upon the state of Alabama — some feel this is not his fault.

Whatever you think of Judge Moore, you probably think he should go away. Unfortunately, it appears that he is not interested in doing that. “Borat” creator Sacha Baron Cohen has a new TV series and Moore was apparently a target of one of his pranks.

Moore is rightly embarrassed, but is pretending he is going to sue Cohen if he airs the tape Moore is concerned about:

“I am involved in several court cases presently to defend my honor and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen. If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another.”

Why this matters:

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Moore is an attorney and was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He knows as well as anyone that if he said something on a tape during an interview it can be used. He will not win a single lawsuit he is involved in, but he will bilk his supporters for more money. He may sue, but you can sue on anything. He cannot win a lawsuit with a comedian who is producing a satire piece.

Moore is a public figure, a target for liberals, and he needs to fade into obscurity. Moore also needs to realize that his insistence on standing on the public stage only hurts the causes he holds dear. If he truly cares about Alabama, and not only about himself, he will stop answering media inquiries.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

2 hours ago

University of Alabama System chooses new interim chancellor Finis E. St. John

The University of Alabama System has chosen an interim chancellor to replace the retiring of current chancellor Jay Hayes at the end of the month.

Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV, who currently serves on the UA system’s Board of Trustees, will succeed Hayes on August 1.

St. John will take an unpaid leave of absence from St. John & St. John law firm in Cullman and will serve as interim chancellor without compensation.

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“The fact that Fess St. John is willing to serve as our Interim Chancellor without compensation is a tremendous public service,” Board Trustee Joe Epsy said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful that he is willing to step in and take on these complex administrative duties at a crucial time for our campuses and the UAB Health System,” Epsy continued, in part.

St. John graduated cum laude from Alabama in 1978, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Virginia.

3 hours ago

Georgia woman gets five years for filing fraudulent tax returns through Birmingham business

A Georgia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns through her Alabama-based business.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced 38-year-old Patrice Anderson on Monday for 13 tax-related counts. A federal jury convicted Anderson in September for using her Birmingham-area business, Queen’s Fast Tax, to file returns between 2009 and 2012 that she knew contained false information.

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Evidence at trial showed that Anderson filed tax returns claiming refundable credits to which her clients were not entitled so that they could receive much larger refunds than they were eligible for. In return, Anderson would charge the clients abnormally high fees – up to $3,000 per fraudulent return – to file their taxes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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