Bill Johnson, a GOP candidate for governor in 2010 and a former member of Riley's cabinet, said a top official in the Riley campaign told him about the donations from the Mississippi Choctaws, who operate casinos and were represented by disgraced Republican lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon.
The campaign official, Dan Gans, said Johnson's assertions were wrong. But Johnson released a statement yesterday, saying that he had passed a polygraph test on the matter. In the statement, Johnson provides background on what prompted him to step forward:
Two weeks ago, I stood before you and shared first-hand knowledge regarding promised contributions to Riley’s ’02 gubernatorial campaign by Mississippi Indian casino owners. When I learned that 600 jobs were in jeopardy—jobs filled by hard working men and women in the Wiregrass--it dawned on me that those contributions could be the driving force for the Governor’s legal counsel threatening shipment of what I have been assured was and is legal equipment to Houston County’s multi-million dollar country music entertainment development.
When the Governor has his legal team stopping shipments to economic development projects, there is some underlying cause. Those calls reminded me of my conversation with former Riley chief-of-staff Dan Gans. For the first time, I felt there could be a correlation between those promised contributions and the Governor’s determination. I felt it was only right to share what I had been told.
As expected, the Governor’s office and Dan Gans both denied that conversation between me and Gans ever took place. They asserted that I stood before the citizens of this state and told ‘outrageous lies.’ It only added to the irony that they enlisted someone who represents casino interests to aid their attack.
They are wrong. I told the truth and I will prove it. Citizens across this country have lost all confidence in the honesty and transparency of our public officials. It’s time for us proactively to provide assurance to the citizens of this great state that our campaign is working to restore confidence in state government.
Johnson then provided evidence that he takes the issue seriously:
I stand before you today to introduce Mr. Clyde Wolfe, Licensed Polygraph Examiner for over 34 years and a member of the American Polygraph Association. With a B.S. degree from the American University in Washington, D.C., in administration of justice, Wolfe has administered over 10,000 polygraph exams. He will share his findings from my polygraph test conducted last week. All questions relating to statements I made about Gans were addressed in the polygraph test. As Mr. Wolfe will reveal, all of those statements were evaluated as truthful.
Gans, in an e-mail response to The Birmingham News, said he stood by his earlier statement on Johnson's allegations. A Riley spokesman said lie-detector tests are unreliable, and the results can be manipulated. But Wolfe, the man who administered the test, provided background about the tests. Wrote the News:
Wolfe acknowledged that polygraph tests are generally not admitted in court testimony and that polygraph results aren't infallible.
Wolfe later said, "If I wasn't right more than I was wrong, I wouldn't be in business."
I am running for the highest office in the state of Alabama. Credibility and trust in the Governor’s Office is critical for the future of this great state. I want to assure citizens across the state that as Governor, I will stand firm for truthfulness and full transparency from the Office of the Governor, throughout the cabinet and staff and down throughout all state agencies. When I see questionable practices, regardless of who is at the helm, I will courageously call them out and report through appropriate channels. If the Governor doesn’t lead by example, who will?
Let’s get our priorities straight. I highly encourage the Governor to better utilize those serving on the anti-gambling task force to quit raiding bingo halls and start raiding the meth labs that are killing our children. I encourage him to redirect the millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort spent from anti-gambling efforts to putting unemployed citizens back to work, to resolving the ever-increasing seriousness of the Jefferson County sewer debt, and get back to identifying solutions to the upcoming shortages in this year’s budgets.
My test results validate I have spoken the truth. Let’s get back to the business of serving the people of Alabama
The full polygraph report can be viewed here:
Bill Johnson Polygraph