Legal action pending against political committees

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill released a statement Tuesday stating that legal action is pending against at least 20 Political Action Committees (PACs) and Principle Campaign Committees (PCCs) that have not properly filed financial reports.

A PAC is an organization that raises funds privately to influence an election or legislation, while a PCC is the political campaign committee designated as a candidate’s fundraising organization. PCCs are most commonly referred to as “candidates,” according to the statement.

Merrill’s office reported last month that it was in process of collecting funds from organizations that failed to file their “monthly, weekly or daily campaign finance reports…in a timely manner.”

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Of the more than $200,000 in fines that have been issued, just over $106,000 have been collected. The fines that have not been collected have “either been waived by the Alabama Ethics Commission” or are still be collected by the Secretary of State’s office.

The statement notes that financial reports are generally due by the second business day of each month and must include “all contributions and expenditures incurred by the campaign during the previous month.”

Fines for failure to properly submit reports increase as the number of occurrences increase.

Because 20 committees have “exceeded the statutorily prescribed period to pay the fines,” Merrill is allowed to “initiate legal action to recover those funds for the state of Alabama.”

According to the release, that process is currently underway. All penalties collected from delinquent PACS and PCCs are deposited into the state’s General Fund.