Do you see a connection? Bob Gambacurta, writing at the Montgomery Independent, sure does. And it shows that the story of disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff still resonates in the Deep South.
Gambacurta also raises a critical point about the Alabama Supreme Court's best-known ruling on bingo, the one that set out six standards defining the game. The high court, the same one that ExxonMobil loves so much, apparently violated its own procedures and made the ruling without having jurisdiction over the case.
The Independent article lays bare Riley's blatant hypocrisy on gambling. And it presents even more damning evidence about the governor's ties to Mississippi gambling interests, once represented by GOP felons Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. Writes Gambacurta:
Look at what happened during nine days, from December 29, 2008 through January 6, 2009 and connect the dots: Riley created his anti-gambling task force; the following week, the Poarch Creek Indians opened their $240 million Wind Creek casino and resort in Atmore featuring 1,600 electronic bingo machines; and the next day, the Mississippi Choctaws laid off 570 employees, the first of 700 employees to be cut loose at its Golden Moon casino in Philadelphia, Miss. Then they cut back casino operations to three days per week.
Chucky the Ground Squirrel, who spends his days happily digging holes in my backyard, could connect those dots. And Gambacurta doesn't stop with that:
Few people close to the gambling debate can look you in the eye and with a straight face deny that Bob Riley took Mississippi Choctaw Indian campaign contributions in his first run for governor in 2002 - whether it was $600,000 or $2.2 million. Nor can they deny Riley received campaign funds tied to Alabama's Poarch Creek Indian gaming interests for his reelection in 2006.
The governor's son, Rob Riley cannot honestly deny his own ties to the gaming industry through his associations with Paragon Gaming, his friend and business associate Robert Sigler and Sigler's Crimson Group companies which promote gaming interests in the United States and Canada.
It's a matter of record that Riley gave the Birmingham law firm of Bradley Arant a $600,000 state contract to advise his task force on electronic gambling. Riley's son-in-law Rob Campbell is a partner at Bradley Arant and ironically, the firm once advised another client in 2005 that electronic bingo in Macon County is legal and constitutional.
Ah, where there is cash to be made in an underhanded way, you can rest assured a Riley family member will be nearby. And that mindset has been in play since Jack Abramoff evidently steered Mississippi gaming dollars into Alabama to help get Riley elected in 2002. It was all about hard, cold cash for Abramoff, and it appears to be about hard, cold cash for Bob Riley and his family members.
Maybe that's why Gov. Riley, in his best Don Corleone imitation, issued a threat about "getting too close to the families." Remember that one? Let's check it out: