181005 Joe Siegelman 1

Joe Siegelman, who is running for Alabama Attorney General, chats with Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Richard Richey on Friday during a visit to the Lauderdale County Courthouse with Deborah Bell Paseur. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

Democratic nominee Joe Siegelman stood firm Friday on his belief that there's no place for politics in the Alabama Attorney General's office, but he was equally emphatic that violations of state laws by political figures should not be overlooked.

Siegelman was in Florence to do some campaigning. His visit came one day after the son of former Gov. Don Siegelman sent letters to each member of the state Ethics Commission urging them to act on a complaint filed against incumbent A.G. Steve Marshall.

The complaint, filed in July by former Attorney General Troy King, accused Marshall of violating Alabama campaign finance laws banning transfers of funds between political action committees.

King filed the ethics complaint and brought a lawsuit against Marshall before the runoff for the Attorney General's Republican nomination.

The lawsuit was dismissed. The Ethics Commission declined to take action on King's complaint when it met on Wednesday, which sparked Siegelman's decision to send letters to commission members.

"These allegations were not brought by me," Siegelman said during an interview Friday morning. "We need to have confidence that the attorney general is working for the people of this state.

"The bigger problem," Siegelman said, "is the attorney general is the person responsible for prosecuting campaign violations."

Siegelman said King's ethics complaint was based upon information that Marshall received a total of $735,000 from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in five separate donations from February to July. He said that money was first transferred from RAGA to the RAGA Action Fund.

In his letter to Ethics Commission members, Siegelman wrote Marshall should return the RAGA money, but since he has not done so he has "invited prosecution."

Siegelman said in the interview the Ethics Commission should act quickly on the complaint because of its importance to the upcoming election.

"People should know before the election so they can make an informed decision on Nov. 6," the candidate said.

Before heading to the Lauderdale County Courthouse, Siegelman said the final weeks of the campaign are "moving fast," but the support he's receiving across the state has him energized for the finish.

"There's no substitute for being in front of people," he said of the campaign trail. "I'm genuine, authentic and I care about them and I want to serve them.

"People have got to get to know 'Joe,'" he said when asked about his slogan, "People Not Politics." "I want them to vote for me, not against someone else."

Most of all, Siegelman said he wants the people of Alabama to know that the administration of justice from the State Attorney General's office must be handled equally and impartially.

"The attorney general is expected to obey the law, and the people must have faith that every decision made by that office is made because it has merit and is in the best interests of the people of Alabama," Siegelman said.


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