Read the order here.
“All hearings and actions in this matter before the State Ethics Commission are stayed for a period of time not to exceed thirty (30) days or until further Order of this Court,” Judge Adams wrote. The hearing had been set for June 24.
Earlier this month, Rome-based State Mutual and its affiliate, Admiral Life Insurance Co. of America, filed suit seeking to block the Ethics Commission from moving forward with its investigation.
State Mutual and Admiral Life are seeking to have the campaign contribution issue adjudicated in a court of law and not in front of the State Ethics Commission.
The insurance companies made contributions to 10 different Alabama-based political action committees in 2008. Those committees in turn contributed $120,000 to the Oxendine for Governor campaign. Oxendine returned the contribution in May 2009 after the original complaint was filed by Roman George Anderson’s Ethics in Government Group.
Anderson said the contributions are illegal because, as insurance commissioner, Oxendine regulates the companies. State Mutual contends the donations were given to Oxendine’s gubernatorial campaign and are legal.
A lawsuit filed by the insurance companies alleges that the Ethics Commission action may have been politically motivated.
The insurance companies say Ethics Commission Chairman James C. Gatewood and member Patrick N. Millsaps contributed to Perdue’s gubernatorial campaign, and Perdue, the companies allege, is supporting Karen Handel’s bid for governor.
The State Mutual request for a restraining order claims subpoenas demanding documents associated with communication between the insurance companies and the political action committee are overbroad and improper.
Judge Adams expects to have another hearing by July 2.