A U.S. attorney, in theory, is above politics. It is supposed to be a person who administers the law without regard to political considerations.
But is that how it works in the Northern District of Alabama? Not with Alice Martin in charge.
You don't have to dig real deep to see just what a political animal we have in Ms. Martin. In fact, her political connections jumped off the page at me recently when I perused the initial issue of Thicket magazine.
The cover story is about Bob Riley, Alabama's Republican governor. And it features a photo of Riley wearing his trademark suit and cowboy boots. The story focuses mainly on Riley's efforts to clean up Alabama's two-year college system and stop the practice of "double dipping"--where employees of the two-year system also serve as members of the Alabama Legislature, usually as Democrats.
A stunning sentence appears on page 54 of Thicket: "For years, even within the college systems, critics questioned the propriety of legislators being paid by the very institutions they funded, sometimes, Riley argues, for jobs that never required them to show any tangible product."
That word "product" sure is curious in that context. It appears that writer Atticus Rominger meant to say "work product."
And why is that interesting? Well, the first issue of Thicket evidently came out in early January 2008. And on January 31, Alabama Rep. Sue Schmitz (D-Toney) was arrested on corruption charges that centered on her status as both an employee of the two-year system and a member of the legislature.
In announcing the indictment, Martin said a central part of the charges involved Schmitz' failure to product sufficient "work product."
Well, what do you know? Seems Bob Riley and Alice Martin talk the same language.
Let's say Bob Riley was interviewed for the Thicket article in early December 2007, and we have him using the term "(work) product" in reference to problems with the two-year college system. Then roughly two months later, we have Alice Martin using the same term--hardly an everday term, and in fact, a term that is not appropriate for what is being alleged in the Schmitz case--in announcing an indictment.
Kind of makes you think Bob Riley and Alice Martin are on the same wavelength doesn't it? Almost as if they were on the same "home team."
I know of someone else who is on that "home team," and he ties Riley and Martin together like a neat Christmas bow. Interestingly, this person bears a name that is central to our Legal Schnauzer case.
More on that political connection coming up.