Alabama Republican Party chairman Mike Hubbard receives a public spanking today, one he richly deserves.
The Anniston Star expertly administers the spanking in response to Hubbard's press release, "Artur Davis and his Carnival of Conspiracy."
The Star calls Hubbard's missive "a load of utter nonsense."
"Let's get this straight," the Star states. "The issue is bigger than Siegelman's guilt or innocence; it's about the potential stain of politics on the U.S. legal system.
The Star chastises Hubbard for painting U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) as a partisan, "pandering to that horrible bunch of heathens, the liberal left."
Then the Star cuts to the chase:
"What's at play is nothing more than a clunky attempt by the state GOP to push back at a potentially big problem."
The Star is right on target. But I would invite the newspaper to take a broader look at our justice system. The problem goes beyond federal cases, such as those being investigated by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Alabama's state courts, dominated by the Republicans that Mike Hubbard so cherishes, also have serious problems. The stain of politics is present there, too, and I can prove it.
Here is a key point: Corruption in Alabama's state courts also has a strong federal connection, and that's part of the DOJ story that has not been covered. Republican state judges have repeatedly violated a federal statute in the Legal Schnauzer case, which is at the heart of this blog. The federal statute in question is 18 U.S. Code 1346, honest-services mail fraud. It involves use of the U.S. mails to perpetuate a fraudulent scheme.
Just how important is this statute? Look back at this press release about the Don Siegelman indictment. Honest-services mail fraud is cited throughout. In fact, 1346 made up two-thirds of the charges against Siegelman. Remember, Don Siegelman's case was in federal court, but the charges came from his activities as a state official. Federal funds and the U.S. mails and wires allegedly were involved, and that's what made it a federal matter.
But what happens when Republican judges, acting as state officials, commit federal crimes? In my case, the victim reports it repeatedly to the FBI and to Alice Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. And what happens? Nothing. In fact, I have clear evidence of Alice Martin intentionally trying to sweep the Legal Schnauzer case under the rug.
Would she do that because the complaint doesn't have merit? Of course not. If it had no merit, she would merely ignore it or tell me why it had no merit. But she intentionally covers it up because she knows it does have merit. And Republicans have enough trouble on their hands with so much attention focused on the Bush Justice Department. They really would have problems if the Alabama public were shown the extent of corruption among state Republican judges.
So kudos to the Star for its editorial. But the paper needs to get an enterprising reporter out there looking at Alabama state courts.