FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montgomery, AL – U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. Randy Brinson called for timely action on two possible violations of Alabama campaign finance law that were referred to the Alabama Ethics Commission by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill in early May.
Following a press conference on the Capitol steps in Montgomery this afternoon, Brinson carried the following letter to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey:
“Dear Governor Ivey:
As the Chief Executive of Alabama, you have a duty to provide honest and fair elections to the People of Alabama. At present, the integrity of the August 15 special election for U.S. Senate is in jeopardy.
In early May of this year, Secretary of State John Merrill referred two potential concerns regarding Senator and Candidate Luther Strange’s campaign finance filings to the Alabama Ethics Commission. These potential concerns were very similar to those concerning former Governor Robert Bentley, which resulted in his April plea bargain and resignation.
In Bentley’s case, the Ethics Commission acted within 90 days to address this issue. Their timely ruling and subsequent referral to the Montgomery County District Attorney quickly resulted in Bentley’s guilty plea. This plea and his subsequent resignation removed the necessity for lengthy, expensive impeachment proceedings by the Legislature. Alabama citizens were spared both the cost and the embarrassment of impeachment by timely action on the part of the Ethics Commission.
The Ethics Commission recently moved their previously-scheduled August 2nd meeting to August 16th. While the agenda for that meeting is not known, it is reasonable to assume, based on the recent precedent of Bentley’s case, that Mr. Strange’s filings would be considered at that time.
Delaying the Ethics Commission meeting until after the election risks the possibility that a leading candidate in the election will be facing felony charges before the runoff can occur. While Mr. Strange is innocent until proven guilty, the very real risk is that he will be facing up to 20 years in prison should he be convicted of these felony violations of Alabama campaign law.
As the concerns about Strange are very similar to those against Bentley, a similar outcome is very likely. Should this occur, and Strange choose to withdraw from the campaign, those voters who cast their ballots for him would be effectively disenfranchised.
I urge you to call a meeting of the Ethics Commission forthwith, so that this question may be resolved far enough in advance of the election that voters can be made fully aware of the decision of the Ethics Commission.”
Brinson sent similar letters to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and the Members of the Alabama Ethics Commission. A separate letter was sent to AL GOP Chair Terry Lathan, urging her to call a meeting of the AL GOP Executive Committee to examine the matter if the Governor, Secretary of State and Ethics Commission fail to act in a timely fashion. Brinson asked the AL GOP to disqualify Strange from the election if they found the concerns to be valid.