Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

Alabama's secretary of state says nearly 100 political candidates and donation groups have broken state campaign finance rules.

Yesterday, Secretary John Merrill publicly released the names of all the candidates and political action committees that failed to disclose donations by this year's January cutoff date. He says the release is intended to compel the offending PACs and candidates to file financial records of campaign contributions they either received or spent in 2016.

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Former Gov. Bob Riley will be a major player in the 2014 elections in Alabama even though his name is not on the ballot.

Riley has raised more than $1 million for his political action committee, Alabama 2014, and he's using it to help Republicans keep their seats in the Legislature.

Riley's PAC has given $23,884 to Rep. Jim Patterson of Merdianville, $22,501 to Rep. Ken Johnson of Moulton, $21,583 to Rep. Wayne Johnson of Ryland, and smaller amounts to other incumbents.

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Starting Thursday, corporations can make unlimited contributions to Alabama candidates for state and local offices.

The Legislature passed a law to remove the $500 limit on corporate campaign contributions. A proponent of the law, Republican Rep. Mike Ball of Huntsville, said the cap didn't mean much because an attorney general's opinion allowed corporations to give $500 to a political action committee for every election in Alabama in one year. That meant a corporation could give several thousand dollars to a PAC, and it could give to multiple PACs.