- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Five dollars has become an issue in a capital city where politicians usually talk about millions or billions.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign treasurer, Will Sellers, made a $5 donation Tuesday to her Republican primary opponent, Stan Cooke. Sellers made the donation through Cooke’s campaign website hours after candidates for statewide office were supposed to suspend fundraising.

“It was a deliberate attempt to trap me,” Cooke said Tuesday night.

“I was just having fun,” Sellers responded Wednesday.

Ivey is seeking a second term as the state Senate’s presiding officer. Cooke, a Jefferson County minister, is trying to unseat her in the Republican primary June 3.

State law required candidates for offices like lieutenant governor to suspend fundraising Tuesday when the Legislature began its election-year session. They can resume next month.

Sellers said Ivey’s campaign followed state law and changed her campaign website Monday night to remove the ability to make donations electronically. But he said he noticed Tuesday afternoon that Cooke’s website still permitted contributions through PayPal, and he made a small one to see if the system was working.

Cooke soon had PayPal refund the contribution, and he portrayed it as an attempt to embarrass his campaign.

“Mr. Sellers is a lawyer. He knows the law,” Cooke said.

Cooke said a campaign worker thought she had disabled the contribution function on the website Tuesday morning. He said Sellers’ donation was the only one sent to PayPal on Tuesday, and he made sure the donation function was shut down at that point.

So far, Ivey has reported raising $468,040 this year and Cooke $23,950, according to reports filed with the secretary of state.

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