Ala again stops payroll deductions going to PACs

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Bob Riley's administration has once again stopped payroll deductions for state employees from going to political action committees that pump millions into political campaigns.

The Riley administration had announced in August that it would cut off payroll deductions by state employees to PACS run by the Alabama State Employees Association, the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Troopers Association.

The AEA and the state employees association got a preliminary order from Montgomery Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs allowing the deductions to resume. But the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday voted to lift that injunction. State Finance Director Bill Newton said Monday the deductions had again been halted.

"Taxpayer funded equipment and resources cannot be used for political activities, and this administration will not allow taxpayer funds to be used illegally," said Newton. "The law is clear."

State law says no employee of the "state of Alabama, a county, or a city whether classified or unclassified, shall use any state, county or city funds, property, or time for any political activities." Another state law bans the use of state-owned property "for the promotion or advancement of the interest of any candidate for the nomination or election to any public office of the state of Alabama."

State employees remain free to make political contributions on their own, without the state's assistance.

Payroll deductions continue to be made to the associations for membership dues, but not for contributions to PACs.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)