FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - MONTGOMERY - As required by Act 2015-495, which was passed by the legislature in 2015, and went into effect with the start of the 2018 Election Cycle, the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office is required to issue penalties to Political Action Committees and Principle Campaign Committees (the latter more commonly known as candidates) that do not file their monthly, weekly, or daily campaign finance reports according to the Code in a timely fashion.
Since the beginning of the 2018 Election Cycle, the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office has issued 1,180 penalties for a total amount of $201,893.28 of which $106,531.92 has been collected to date. The fines not yet paid have either been waived by the Alabama Ethics Commission or the Office is still attempting to collect the funds from the committee.
Penalties are issued to any committee that does not file their campaign finance report by midnight on the date the report is due. Generally, reports are due on the 2nd business day of each month. Committees are required to report all contributions and expenditures incurred by their campaign during the previous month. Penalty amounts increase as the number of late reports increase from the committee. Additionally, the first report a committee files late, but within 48 hours of the date the report is due, the committee is issued a warning which does not count against them or require a fine be paid. Further, the Act specifically states that warnings are not violations of the law.
Of the penalties that have yet to be paid, 20 Committees have exceeded the statutorily prescribed period to pay the fines, which allows Secretary Merrill to initiate legal action to recover those funds for the people of the state of Alabama. That process is currently underway.
Fines paid by committees are deposited directly into the State of Alabama General Fund.