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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
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Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
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Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
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Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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