FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2013
COURT OF APPEALS VACATES LOWER COURT DECISION THAT HELD PAC-TO-PAC TRANSFER BAN PARTIALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL
MONTGOMERY— Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated a lower court’s decision from 2011 that had held unconstitutional, in part, Alabama’s ban on transferring money from one political action committee (“PAC”) to another.
The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the lower court ”erred in holding that the State’s interest in preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption was insufficient as a matter of law to justify the ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers.” The Eleventh Circuit noted that “political operatives have historically used PAC-to-PAC transfers to make campaign contributions while avoiding Alabama’s disclosure requirements, thus permitting corruption and the appearance thereof to flourish.”
Because the Attorney General’s Office had “presented ample evidence of possible corruption through PAC-to-PAC transfers to withstand summary judgment,” the Eleventh Circuit vacated the lower court’s decision and sent the case back for further proceedings.
Attorney General Strange said that he is pleased with the ruling. “The PAC-to-PAC ban was the Alabama Legislature’s unanimous response to serious problems of corruption and lack of transparency,” Attorney General Strange said. “The fight against public corruption is at the top of my agenda, and I look forward to establishing the constitutionality of this law when we are back in the district court.”
In December of 2011, a federal district court ruled that the Alabama Democratic Conference could continue to accept money from outside political groups for get-out-the-vote campaigns and other voter education programs despite the 2010 ban by the state Legislature on PAC-to-PAC money transfers. The Attorney General’s Office immediately appealed. The court decision today is the result of that appeal.
The case is Alabama Democratic Conference, et al. v. Strange, et al. The decision is available here.