FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 16, 2018 - MONTGOMERY - The Alabama Secretary of State’s Office is required to issue penalties to Political Action Committees (PACs) and Principle Campaign Committees (PCCs) that do not timely file their monthly, weekly, or daily campaign finance reports. 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. Since the beginning of the 2018 Election Cycle to present the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office has issued 1,166 penalties for a total amount of $197,657.84 of which $102,249.05 has been paid. The money not yet paid has either been waived by the Alabama Ethics Commission or the office is still waiting 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. Most reports are due by 12:00 p.m. on the 2nd of each month. Committees are required to report all contributions and expenditures incurred by their campaign during the previous month. Penalties amounts increase as the number of late reports increases from the candidate. Additionally, the first report a candidate files late, but within 48 hours of the date the report is due, the committee is given a warning which does not count against them or require a fine be paid. Further, the code specifically states that warnings are not violations of the law.
In addition to the warning process committees have the ability to appeal their penalty to the Alabama Ethics Commission which has been prolific in overturning violations for any number of reasons – I forgot, I was hunting, the system is difficult to use,” to name a few. Of the 1,166 penalties, 166 have been overturned.
Fines paid by committees to the Secretary of State’s Office is deposited directly into the state general fund.