AL House Rep. accuses opponent of finance rule break - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

AL House Rep. accuses opponent of finance rule break

Johnson said Whorton's campaign did not file a monthly campaign report detailing an expenditure. Johnson said Whorton's campaign did not file a monthly campaign report detailing an expenditure.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

An incumbent in the Alabama House claims his opponent broke a state campaign finance law. His challenger said the claim is not true, and is nothing more than dirty politics.

The dispute involves the race for the District 22 House seat, which includes parts of Jackson and Madison Counties. State Representative Wayne Johnson said he has filed a complaint with the Alabama Attorney General's office against his opponent in the Republican primary, Ritchie Whorton.

Johnson claims Whorton's campaign did not report an expense which, by state law, should have been. Wharton said he did nothing wrong.

Rep. Johnson said Whorton's campaign did not file a monthly campaign report detailing an expenditure of $1,116.52 paid to the Secretary of State's office for Whorton's fee to qualify to run for office. Alabama's Fair Campaign Practices Act dictates that any amount more than $1,000 in expenditures or contributions must be made public.

In a statement (PDF), Johnson said, "As a Sheriff's deputy, I was taught that nobody is above the law, and in this case the law is clear, and Ritchie needs to follow it. I'm not sure if Ritchie is hiding something or doesn't understand what is a pretty simple law, but in either case it raises serious questions about his campaign."

Whorton said he paid the qualifying fee out of his own pocket - that the money did not come from his campaign committee, which did not yet exist when that payment was made. In his statement of response (PDF), Whorton said, "We checked with the Secretary of State's office multiple times on all of our reporting and are in full compliance with the FCPA."

He added, "I want to bring this campaign back to voters and the record that Mr. Johnson has presented to them."

According to our research, the fee was paid on Jan. 21, ten days before the Secretary of State's office got the filing for Whorton's campaign committee, confirming Wharton's claim.

Someone with the Secretary of State's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "It is arguable that if a person paid a fee before their campaign committee was established, the payment doesn't have to be reported."

The Attorney General's office determines if there is a violation, and has not yet commented on this case.

The Alabama primary is June 3.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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