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  • Press Release

Turnham Agrees to Civil Penalty for Excessive Contributions

December 5, 2006

For Immediate Release
December 5, 2006

Bob Biersack
Kelly Huff
George Smaragdis
Michelle Ryan


WASHINGTON –The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced today that Joe Turnham, a candidate in the 2002 election in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional district, the Joe Turnham for Congress Committee, and Pete Turnham (the candidate’s father) have agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The Commission found that Pete Turnham, who served as treasurer of the campaign committee, made excessive contributions totaling $166,502 to his son’s campaign during 2002 and 2003. Both the candidate and his campaign committee received either checks or loan guarantees from Pete Turnham as contributions to the campaign.

In addition, the committee received $9,000 in other excessive contributions from individuals and a trust.  During the 2002 campaign the law allowed individuals to make contributions of no more than $1,000 per election to any candidate for federal office.    

The investigation of this matter stemmed from an audit of the committee undertaken by the FEC in the normal course of its regulatory responsibilities.

This release contains only disposition information.


MUR 5685


(a)  Joe Turnham for Congress, Pete Turnham, treasurer

(b)  Joseph R. Turnham

(c)   Pete Turnham

(d)  BancorpSouth Bank


FEC Initiated (Audit)


Excessive contributions; exceeding $25,000 annual contribution limit (2002); national bank contribution/bank loan not made on basis that assures repayment


(a-c)  $50,000 civil penalty*

(d)     Reason to believe, but took no further action*

          [re: national bank contribution/bank loan not made on           basis that assures repayment]


Documents from this matter are available from the

Commission’s web site at by entering

5685 under case numbers in the Enforcement Query System. They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.


There are four administrative stages to the FEC enforcement process:

1. Receipt of proper complaint

3. “Probable cause” stage

2. “Reason to believe” stage

4. Conciliation stage

It requires the votes of at least four of the six Commissioners to take any action. The FEC can close a case at any point after reviewing a complaint.  If a violation is found and conciliation cannot be reached, then the FEC can institute a civil court action against a respondent.                                                     


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