Troy Smithwick (who attempted to hijack a primary election) was recently indicted for campaign finance disclosure violations and his defense is “that violations of those reporting provisions are rather common in Alabama political campaigns” and “are practically never prosecuted”.
Matt Quillen of The Daily Home (Talledega) wrote the article “Smithwick defends allegations” reporting on a hearing in Talledega County Circuit Court. This seems like a story that The Huntsville Times should cover since one of the people named in the story is running for Congress (Democrat Steve Raby) and another person runs a Huntsville-based PAC (Jyles Machen of the shady TRDPAC – The Real Democrat PAC).
The second count on the indictment dealt specifically with a $100,000 contribution reported from a Huntsville-based political action committee called The Real Democrat.
Smithwick had claimed a $100,000 contribution from another Huntsville-based group, called the Tennessee Valley PAC.
Giddens said he spoke to Steve Raby and Jyles Machem of Tennessee Valley PAC and The Real Democrat PAC, respectively, about the reported contribution.
“There was a snafu with the political action committees,” Giddens said. “They have since filed some amended reports and I still don’t think they understand what happened, based on the people I talked to from the committees.”
Raby and Machem had both previously said there was not a second donation made to Smithwick’s campaign. An amended 2008 annual report from The Real Democrat, received Oct. 19, did not report any contribution to Smithwick.
Keep in mind that Smithwick was running in the Republican Primary against Stephanie Bell and that Democrat PACs gave more than $300,000 to his campaign. This prompted Mike Hubbard, chair of the Alabama GOP to say that Democrats were trying to “hijack” the election and he warned Republicans not to vote for Smithwick. Hubbard believes that the money was funneled through those PACs from the Alabama Education Association (a subsidiary of the Democratic Party – Paul Hubbert of the AEA teacher’s union is Vice Chair of the Democratic Party). This case illustrates why banning PAC to PAC transfers is important.
Somehow we’re being asked to believe that TRDPAC’s Machen reported a contribution to Smithwick for $100,000 but that it didn’t really happen (what – they changed their mind after he lost)? That a Huntsville Democrat PAC got the amount of their check and the name of a local politician from Talledega confused? Raby and his PAC still admit to contributing $100,000 to Smithwick’s campaign.
It bothers me that Steve Raby is running for Congress - by his actions he has proven that he has no respect for Alabama voters or the election process. I guess if you’re a Democrat, cheating is a feature, not a bug.