MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A super PAC spending heavily to support Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama race for U.S. Senate has not disclosed donors, and Republican Roy Moore's campaign on Thursday criticized it as a "shadowy" group and has threatened legal action over its advertisements.
Highway 31 has run multiple hard-hitting advertisements and direct mail pieces in the heated race, including several that highlight accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore. Despite emerging as a major player in the Alabama election, the group has not yet reported donors to the Federal Elections Commission.
"We will never learn who is pumping money into Highway 31 until after the election, and this is by design," said Moore spokesman Ben DuPre at a Thursday press conference. "About the only thing that Highway 31 is open about, is its complete disregard for the truth."
Highway 31 is a super PAC led by Edward Still, an attorney who has specialized in voting rights cases and has been involved in Democratic politics for several decades. A spokesman for the group said it is complying with "every appropriate rule and regulation."
"The end of the reporting period was in the middle of the PACs startup. The PAC will file contributors per the FEC reporting schedule," spokesman Adam Muhlendorf said in an emailed statement.
Moore has vehemently denied accusations that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old waitress and molested a 14-year-old nearly 40 years ago. Several other women said Moore dated them, or asked them out, when they were between the ages of 16 and 18. Moore, who has made limited appearances since the accusations surfaced, has not wholly ruled out that he dated teens as a man in his 30s. In a statement he said he did not date "underage" women but has not defined underage.
Google took down one of the group's digital ads following a complaint from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who said it falsely gave the impression that how people voted would be public record.
In the piece, a female narrator refers to Moore as a "child predator" and tells the audience that "your vote is public record and that "your community will know whether or not you helped stop Roy Moore." Public records reflect whether someone voted in an election, but they don't show how someone voted.
A Highway 31 spokesman said they are working to ensure the ad runs through Election Day.
Moore's campaign has also sent cease and desist letters to television stations demanding that they stop running another Highway 31 ad that says Moore was banned from a mall, because of making romantic overtures to young girls. The Moore campaign said that ad is an attempt to "rehash gossip and rumor that has been entirely debunked."
The group said the ad was based on news reports.