MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Two Montgomery lawyers are filing a formal complaint against Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
The complaint follows a filing made with the Alabama Ethics Commission in July by Troy King, a former AG who was at the time locked in what became a failed primary runoff battle to wrestle the GOP nomination away from Marshall.
Both complaints claim Marshall took money illegally from the political action committee, or PAC, created by the Republican Attorneys General Association, also known as RAGA.
The claims contend that by taking the money Marshall violated the 2010 Alabama campaign finance law. That law bans candidates from accepting contributions where money was transferred between PACS, called PAC-to-PAC transfers.
Thursday, lawyers Julian McPhillips and Melissa Isaak urged Montgomery District Attorney Daryl Bailey to investigate the complaint and turn it over to a grand jury. They say the ethics commission has had three months to address the issue but has failed to do so. That’s why they want Bailey to act.
“If we have a public official that is knowingly and willfully violating the law, and he happens to be one of our top law enforcement officers, this needs to be investigated,” Isaak said.
“We don’t need to be further embarrassed in this state,” McPhillips added. “We’ve had to have a governor step down, speaker of the house, and we don’t need any more such things as this. I think it’s going to lead for him to be impeached or convicted.”
The ethics commission has six months to address a complaint, but McPhillips and Isaak argue the it warrants immediate action because of the looming November election.
King also filed a lawsuit with the same claims in July in which he requested a temporary restraining order to stop the Marshall’s campaign from spending the RAGA funds. A judge denied the restraining order request and dismissed the lawsuit because he said he didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on a federally regulated PAC.
Marshall’s Democratic opponent in the AG’s race, Joe Siegelman, recently filed a claim with the ethics commission that raises the same concerns as those brought by King.
Before Thursday’s news conference by McPhillips and Isaak, WSFA 12 News interviewed Marshall, who said his opponents are raising an old issue that’s been rejected by the courts right before the election.
“This is simply a way for him [Siegelman] to raise the distraction in the final days before an election from what needs to be the issues," Marshall stated. "Because we’ve beaten him on the issues, he can’t beat us there. This is a way for him to find a way for an opportunity to get attention.”
After the news conference, Marshall’s campaign issued a statement calling it another political stunt.
DA Bailey said he has not gotten anything from McPhilips and Isaak on the matter as of Thursday afternoon but said he did get a copy of Siegelman’s complaint. He said normally if the ethics commission finds anything, they refer it to his office for possible legal action.
Marshall and Siegleman will face off at the ballot box on Nov. 6.