A day after explosive allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, the Republican Party’s Senate campaign arm has severed financial ties with the embattled former state supreme court justice.
A joint fundraising committee benefitting Moore and a handful of Republican Party organs filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday removing the National Republican Senatorial Committee as one of its beneficiaries (PDF). Going forward, the committee’s fundraising will benefit Moore’s Senate campaign, the Alabama Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee but not the NRSC.
The NRSC’s removal from the account is the most concrete step taken to date to create distance between the national Republican Party and the Moore campaign. Other lawmakers have called on Moore to leave the race. But most have said he should do so only if the accusations are proven true. These condemnations have all come in the aftermath of The Washington Post report detailing how Moore, decades ago, had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl and propositioned three other female minors. The Post quoted four women on the record and had 30 sources in total. The Moore campaign has denied the charges.
The RNC and the NRSC did not respond to requests for comment.
While the NRSC may be trying to create daylight, Republicans in Alabama have largely rushed to Moore’s defense. Local officials have publicly excused the behavior as not terribly different from biblical tales. Others have questioned why the accusations against Moore have only popped up a month before the state’s special election.
Some of Moore’s most ardent supporters in the state, in fact, have taken the news as an incentive to push even harder for his election. Paul Thibado, a Cropwell, Alabama, resident in his early seventies who contributed a max of $2,700 to Moore’s campaign in September, said that the Post’s story didn’t have “any real meat” to it.
“Judge Roy Moore has been in office forever and forever and this never came up,” Thibado said in a phone interview on Friday morning. “I think this is just a last minute thing to get it out there and screw up the election.”
“It isn’t like they’re saying rape or molestation,” he added. “It was unwanted advances. I think it has absolutely no volition.”
Thibado said he had spoken with a number of his conservative friends in the state on Friday and they all seemed to agree that the story was an orchestrated attack on Moore—not one that came from Democrats but, rather, a cadre of establishment Republicans.
“Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, (Sen. Richard) Shelby and probably a few more in the establishment,” Thibado believed were the culprits of the story. “They’d rather have a Democrat in that’s going to toe the line.”
“It has no effect on me whatsoever,” Thibado added. “I don’t see any proof. I’m not worried about 40 years. It doesn’t say rape, molestation or brutalization. It says inappropriate advances. It doesn’t have any meat in it.”