Campaign Violations Alleged Against Spencer Bachus, Dickie Drake

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The Alabama Democratic Party sent a formal letter to Attorney General Luther Strange Wednesday asking for a full-scale investigation into campaign violations of two Alabama Republicans, Congressman Spencer Bachus of Birmingham and state Rep. Dickie Drake of Leeds

“We have asked Attorney General Luther Strange to stand by his word and investigate this blatant violation of the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act,” said former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and chairman of the Democratic Party Mark Kennedy. “This is not the first time that Dickie Drake has violated the election laws. He has failed to file reports that were even close to accurate as required by law, he has accepted money through PAC-to-PAC transfers, and now it appears he has committed a felony with Rep. Bachus.”

“I have spent many years on the bench as a judge and it is clear there is strong evidence to warrant an investigation into the campaign practices of both Spencer Bachus and Dickie Drake,” Kennedy said. “I think it’s important for Attorney General Strange to send a message that the statute is enforced equally and without bias. If he doesn’t investigate the violations of Bachus and Drake, it sends a message that he is selectively enforcing the law at best and, at worst, he is using his office to protect criminals in his own party.”

According to campaign finance records, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus and newly-elected state Rep. Dickie Drake have committed a felony offense, he said. The offense comes after the principal campaign of Bachus donated $2,000 to the principal campaign of Drake.

The code of Alabama is clear about the violation:

Section 17-5-15-3(a-b) says “A principal campaign committee of a state or local candidate may not receive or spend, in a campaign for state or local office, campaign funds in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) that were raised by a principal campaign committee of a federal candidate. Any receipt or expenditure of campaign funds in violation of subsection (a) shall be a Class C felony.”

Drake reported this violation on his most recent campaign finance report. Further, Drake admitted what he did was a violation by pledging to return $1,000 to the Bachus campaign.

Under the law, “any receipt or expenditure” of more than $1,000 is a violation by both Bachus and Drake.

Strange recently prosecuted violations of the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act when he fought for a conviction of a Democratic candidate for the state school board on Nov. 2.

In a release announcing the conviction, Strange said, “Campaign finance disclosure laws are an essential part of an open and honest government. When these laws are disregarded and broken, the integrity of our government is threatened. The Office of Attorney General is committed to investigating and prosecuting such violations and to protecting our citizen’s trust in the integrity of their public representatives.”

The Alabama Democratic Party said in a press release it agrees that violations of the campaign finance laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent to protect the integrity of the political process.

Here at The Locust Fork News-Journal, we tend to agree. Don’t you? If so, let your voice be heard, somewhere…

© 2011, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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