Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fun with campaign finance

The Alabama Legislative Democratic Leadership Council has begun to pay thousands of dollars for advertisements to talk about the recently unveiled Democratic agenda. It also hasn't registered with the state as a political action committee.

You could say Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh -- yes, that's her real name -- is a bit upset about those facts, if by "a bit upset" you mean "issuing statements that the council may be violating state law." The council's co-
chairman, House Majority Leader Ken Guin, D-Carbon Hill, counters that the group is merely "educational" and doesn't have to disclose its donors because it hasn't endorsed any candidates. Should a GOP member choose to go that route, though, the fact that the council is directly associated with candidates could lead to some interesting, if perchance unsuccessful, legal arguments.

For the record, the Legislature last year considered passing a law to require public financial disclosures from groups that spend more than $1,000 to affect an election. The measure went down to defeat thanks in no small part to opposition from some members of Cavanaugh's own party, eager to protect the state Christian Coalition from revealing its funding sources for such things as "issue advocacy" voter guides.

And the beat goes on in Montgomery.


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