• Electronic Bingo Boogaloo II: Favors, Kickbacks and Corruption.

    Remember when Milton McGregor and 10 other legislators and lobbyists were put in the clink for their roles in the electronic bingo scandal?

    Jurors have found all defendants in the bingo trial either not guilty on each charge, or they were unable to decide a verdict. The judge has said he will declare a mistrial on any undecided charges.

    After days of deliberation, the jury couldn't come up with a verdict on some of the charges and gave "Not Guilty" verdicts on others. Legal Schnauzer has much, much more on the goings on in the trial at his blog, including this rather interesting tid-bit:

    * By far, the most important witness in the trial figured to be former Republican Governor Bob Riley. After all, it was Riley's crusade to stamp out gaming in Alabama that led to the bingo prosecution. It was Riley's documented ties to GOP felons Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon that sullied the Alabama political landscape in recent years. In fact, Riley's apparent desire to protect the market share of his Mississippi Choctaw backers was the overarching story behind the bingo case. Attorneys for defendant and gambling magnate Milton McGregor made quite a show of their intentions to call Riley as a witness. And sources tell Legal Schnauzer that McGregor's lawyers conducted pre-trial discovery with Mississippi Choctaw officials that shed significant light on Riley's actions. The defense, however, barely voiced a whimper before closing up shop without calling Riley. What gives? Has some sort of agreement--a fix, in other words--been reached by all parties involved?

    Riley was slated to be a star witness in the trial, until his motorcycle accident in Alaska gave him an out from doing just that. Speaking of that guy, it seems he's been a bit preoccupied with ventures of his own.

    What happens when the former governor of Alabama gives a company a $5 million dollar "economic development" grant during his term in office? Well, probably nothing except some "economic development" from that corporate entity.

    Now, what if the former governor decides to register as a lobbyist and lands a job representing that very same company and others he had tangible ties to? No, that odor you're smelling isn't the local fish market.

    Riley reported on his Ethics Commission lobbyist registration statement that he represented two clients starting in June and three more starting in July. He said his clients include Austal USA, which is building warships for the Navy at its shipyard in Mobile...

    ...Riley on his lobbyist registration statement also listed EADS North America as a client. EADS in February lost a competition with Boeing to build new refueling tanker aircraft for the Air Force. EADS had planned to assemble its tanker in Mobile if it had won.

    Riley also reported that he represented Gulf Coast Asphalt Co., based in Houston; Brett Real Estate, Robinson Development Co. in Saraland; and VT Systems Inc. in Alexandria, Va., parent of a company that operates an aircraft maintenance facility in Mobile.

    Looks as though it's a case of yet another politician sticking his snout back in the trough for seconds. And thirds. You'd figure that this would stink just a wee bit of conflict-of-interest:

    Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, minority leader in the state Senate, questioned the appropriateness of Riley getting paid to lobby for a company that received state incentives when he was governor. "It could be a conflict of interest," Bedford said.

    You'd be surprised and possibly shocked at the amount of corruption that goes on in this lil' ol' state:
    Two days after Monica Cooper personally donated $100,000 to a Republican political action committee, five party officials received bonuses from the PAC of $38,000 each.

    A second Republican PAC reimbursed Cooper, prompting state Democratic Party Chair Mark Kennedy to complain last week that the transaction and several other smaller ones violated the state's new law banning PAC-to-PAC transfers.

    Before Cooper's contribution, there wasn't enough money in the 136 Years PAC to make those payments, according to campaign finance reports filed by the PAC...

    ...Two days later, the $38,000 checks were issued to John Ross, the party's executive director and the chair of the 136 Years PAC; Philip Bryan, party communications director; Kate Anderson and Sidney Rue, finance co-directors for the party; and Michael Joffrion, the party's political director.

    "None of the money paid us was taken from the party or taxpayers," he said. "It was from people who appreciated the work we did."

    Byran, who said his party salary was $50,000, said the five were promised bonuses in 2009 of $1,200 each for every Democratic legislative seat the Republicans were able to "flip" in the 2010 elections. He said Ross told him and his co-workers on election night they would receive the bonuses.

    This doesn't seem the slightest bit unusual if you're used to PACs disappearing shortly after handing out large sums of money.

    NOTE: The comments are working again, at least on my end. I suppose some ad-blocker setting on my browser got crossed up.