The Alabama Secretary of State referred 113 candidates and political action committees (PACs) to the Attorney General's Office for violating campaign finance rules, according to Secretary of State John Merrill.
Merrill told 1819 News on Friday that the entities referred to Attorney General Steve Marshall were all from the 2022 election cycle. Merrill also reported the entities to the appropriate local district attorneys, who he said will work with Marshall's office to determine who would take the case to court.
Political candidates in Alabama must report campaign finance information to the Secretary of State's Office after they've spent or received at least $1,000. The Secretary of State gives them a deadline to file, depending on the office they are running for.
Further, Merrill's office sent automated messages to remind candidates to file before their due date.
All of the violations recently filed by Merrill's office were not related to inaccurate filing but rather a failure to meet their deadline.
If convicted, the candidates would not be disqualified from holding office. Instead, they would be forced to pay the fines they owe to the Secretary of State's Office for their violations.
"What will happen is they will have to pay," Merrill said. "And we'll take them to court. And we've done so before … We believe people need to follow the law."
Nevertheless, Merrill said he thinks the law not allowing candidates to be disqualified must be addressed. He said the Alabama Legislature tried to change it in the last legislative session, but the changes never went through.
Merrill's last day as the Secretary of State is January 15. After that, Wes Allen will assume the office.
1819 News reached out to Marshall's office for comment. We did not receive a response.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.