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Complaint filed against key PAC in Alabama Senate race

A complaint filed Monday accuses a super PAC that spent millions of dollars to support Doug Jones in Alabama's U.S. Senate race of breaking campaign finance law by failing to disclose donors until after the election.

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 2:40 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A complaint filed Monday accuses a super PAC that spent millions of dollars to support Doug Jones in Alabama's U.S. Senate race of breaking campaign finance law by failing to disclose donors until after the election.

The complaint against Highway 31 political action committee was filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Washington D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center. The complaint alleges the PAC used lines of credit from vendors to avoid disclosing that it was backed by well-funded national Democratic groups.

"It appears Highway 31 and its lawyers cooked up a scheme to keep voters in the dark until after Election Day about who was trying to influence their vote," spokesman Brendan Fischer told The Associated Press.

Highway 31 spent $4 million in the 2017 special election where Jones, a Democrat, defeated Republican Roy Moore whose candidacy was bogged down by allegations of sexual misconduct. It was disclosed after the election that the PAC received more than $3 million from the Senate Majority PAC, which works to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate and $910,000 from Priorities USA.

Highway 31 has maintained it fulfilled all reporting requirements. Adam Muhlendorf, a spokesman for Highway 31, on Monday dismissed the complaint as frivolous.

"This is yet another frivolous complaint. Highway 31 has closed its books," Muhlendorf said.

Highway 31, named after a roadway crossing much of the state, emerged as a major player in the Alabama election. Many of its advertisements and mailers focused on accusations against Moore of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls decades ago. He denied the misconduct accusations.

The complaint said that Highway 31 soon after forming got a line of credit from out-of state vendors to avoid having to report donors, and speculated that Senate Majority PAC, or others, guaranteed that the vendors would get paid.

"It is hard to believe that the vendors here would, in the ordinary course of business, extend hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit to an entity that was formed just weeks earlier and had a total of $0 in its bank account," the complaint read.

Fischer said he was concerned that, if not stopped, it would create a new "loophole" that would be widely replicated by groups on both sides of the political aisle.

The complaint also said that the PAC reported a contribution from Priorities USA Action that the group did not report making.

Muhlendorf said that was a "minor inaccuracy that will be corrected."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
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Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
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Warren153255
Monroe146572
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Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
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Scott123829
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Holmes113760
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Marion93342
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Newton84927
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Winston82621
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Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
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