Alabama Voters Went to the Polls in December Without Knowing Source of Millions in Spending by Mysterious Democratic Super PAC Highway 31
WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Highway 31, a super PAC that backed Democratic candidate Doug Jones in Alabama’s December 2017 U.S. Senate special election, violated campaign finance law by cooking up a secrecy scheme to spend $4.2 million on the race while keeping their donors in the shadows until after election day.
“Democrats talk the talk about supporting transparency in political money, but then national Democratic groups push aggressive new legal theories to undermine the transparency laws that are on the books,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at CLC. “Despite laws requiring that super PACs disclose their donors, Alabama voters went to the polls on election day without knowing who was backing Highway 31. This secrecy scheme cooked up by Highway 31 and its backers threatens to create a new disclosure loophole that will be exploited by billionaires and operatives supporting both parties, unless the FEC does its job and enforces our disclosure laws.”
Highway 31 was created in November 2017, quickly spent $1.15 million on the Alabama race, but on its only FEC report filed before election day, claimed that it had not raised a single penny – and that Democratic campaign vendors had produced and placed the group’s ads entirely on credit. More than a month after election day, Highway 31 filed a report disclosing for the first time that its primary backers were national Democratic super PACs Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action.
CLC’s complaint alleges that the vendors do not extend over $1 million in credit to newly-created PACs in the ordinary course of business, and should have been reported as contributors, and/or that Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action may have guaranteed that those vendor bills would be paid, and should have been reported as contributors on Highway 31’s pre-election report.