MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Troy King against Attorney General Steve Marshall over contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association. Anderson also denied King's motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the Marshall campaign from spending funds from RAGA.
Anderson heard from both Marshall's and King's counsels. King alleged Marshall's campaign has been using funds obtained illegally from RAGA, a federal political action committee or PAC. King's lawyer Al Agricola made the argument that RAGA falls under the state's PAC-to-PAC transfer ban, which prohibits Alabama candidates from accepting funds from PACs that also receive money from other PACs, as RAGA does. He says this falls under the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
Ted Hosp, the counsel for Marshall, argued that federal PACs like RAGA are not subject to the act. He said there is no state law that prohibits candidates from receiving funds from federal PACs that also accept PAC money; federal PACs would be regulated by the Federal Election Commission.
Hosp also said the King campaign could have filed the action sooner, rather than less than a week before the runoff election. He said the first disclosure of funds made to the Marshall campaign from RAGA was made on March 2, more than four months ago.
Anderson questioned the proper jurisdiction for the suit, saying the Republican Party would usually hear the claim. Agricola confirmed that no action was filed by the King campaign with the Republican Party.
The issue was also raised that the King Campaign is seeking a declaration on a criminal law in a civil lawsuit; some argued civil court was not the appropriate venue. Hosp argued that seeking civil declaration prior to criminal prosecution could violate due process, and Anderson stated he was having a problem granting the TRO sought by King when the claim is possibly something that is not meant for civil court.
Anderson denied the TRO and dismissed the litigation because he said he did not feel he had the jurisdiction to declare the funds illegally obtained. After the ruling, King spoke to media, saying Marshall is bought by special interests and he does not intend to file any other action before the runoff election on Tuesday, rather he will appeal to the "court of public opinion."
The King campaign also released this statement:
The Marshall campaign also released a statement:
Marshall did not attend the hearing.
The runoff election for Attorney General will be Tuesday, July 17.