Senate Leadership Fund Requests Records in Alabama Race

Super PAC wants records onStrange’s primary challengers

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., was appointed to the Senate in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., was appointed to the Senate in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted May 12, 2017 at 12:00pm

In another sign that the Senate Leadership Fund is aggressively supporting GOP Sen. Luther Strange, the Super PAC filed a public records request Thursday for correspondence between his challengers and Alabama’s current governor. The governor recently moved up the special election for the Alabama Republican’s seat by a year.

Strange is facing a primary in August to remain in the Senate. He was appointed to the Senate in February after former Sen. Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Strange already has one primary opponent, and could face at least two more. 

With the documents requests, the Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC that is aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is sending a message to the primary challengers. SLF has made records requests in past contests, but this time the group is making the uncommon move of attaching its name to the request.

Attorneys with Holtsman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, PLLC, the leadership fund’s counsel, filed the request. They asked for correspondence, phone records, and meeting records between Gov. Kay Ivey and the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has already announced a primary challenge, and potential challengers including GOP Rep. Mo Brooks and state Sen. Del Marsh. Roll Call was provided a copy of the documents. 

The group has requested documents from the dates November 9, 2016 to April 10, 2017, and from April 10, 2017 to present, signaling that the group is interested in correspondence before and after Ivey became acting governor.

Former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned on April 10 amid a scandal involving an affair with a former staffer and the misuse of government funds. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges relating to covering up his affair. Ivey, the former lieutenant governor, became the acting governor.

Since Strange was appointed, an election must be held for voters to fill the seat. Bentley had originally scheduled the election to coincide with the Nov. 2018 midterms. But, on April 18, Ivey announced that she was moving up the special election for Strange’s seat by roughly one year, with a primary scheduled on Aug 15.

The sooner than anticipated race potentially creates an issue for Strange, who has recently faced criticism for his ties to Bentley. Strange previously served as the state’s Attorney General and his office was reportedly investigating Bentley before Strange was appointed to the Senate. 

While Bentley is facing criticism for his ties to Bentley, the SLF is seeking information about whether any of his challengers have interacted with Ivey, especially relating to her decision to move the special election.

“A lot of people in glass houses are throwing stones in Alabama, and they will quickly realize that this won’t be going unanswered,” SLF spokesman Chris Pack said in a statement.

The group filing the records request does not mean there was any wrongdoing, but it does signal that SLF is all-in on Strange.

Earlier this week SLF made an initial television ad buy of $2.6 million in Alabama, the Associated Press reported. And shortly after Ivey announced she was moving up the election, SLF stated Strange had its full support.

If necessary, a runoff for the primary would occur in September, with the general election occurring in December 2017. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates this Senate race Safe Republican