|Members of Alabama's Riley Gang|
Bob Riley no longer is governor of Alabama. But his family members still are trying to treat our state as their personal piggy bank.
The Rileys are trying to divert funds from the Alabama Republican Party to an organization of their own making, according to an e-mail from Minda Riley Campbell, the governor's daughter and wife of Bradley Arant lawyer Rob Campbell.
The e-mail, which was leaked by the Alabama Democratic Party, shows that "Riley Inc." is trying to circumvent newly elected Governor Robert Bentley and Alabama GOP Chair Bill Armistead.
From an Alabama Democratic Party press release:
The e-mail details a plan to encourage a group of Riley’s closest allies and supporters, known as “The Governor’s Circle,” to divert all future contributions from the Republican Party to an organization created by Governor Riley and controlled by Riley, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. The organization would be independent from the Alabama Republican Party but would exist to keep control of the Party in Riley’s hands.
Minda’s e-mail suggests that this secret and exclusive group would be a better recipient of financial contributions and that it is more capable of determining the best Republican candidates than the ALGOP’s duly elected leadership. Minda Riley Campbell goes on to describe a vision of future elections in which Democratic candidates are not viable in the general election and that, consequently, this organization’s purpose should be to influence and control the Republican primary elections so that only The Circle’s chosen Republican candidates are competitive--a move that is a flagrant violation of existing Republican Party rules.
Bentley defeated Bradley Byrne, Riley's hand-picked successor, in the 2011 GOP primary for governor. Armistead defeated Riley favorite Jay Love for chair of the Alabama Republican Party. So what is "Riley Inc's" solution to these electoral setbacks? Make an end run around the official party machinery.
Judge Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said: “This is an extremely divisive message and should tell anyone who wants to run as a Republican that not only do they have to play by party rules they also have to pass Riley’s litmus test to run on their ticket. Any Democratic office holder who is contemplating switching parties should think twice and for those that have already switched, our sympathies go out to them. It seems that if you don’t have a pedigree approved by our former governor, you will not even make it through the Republican Primary. While I certainly don’t condone party switching for political expediency, this should serve as a warning to anyone who believes that the Republican Party is unified and inclusive."
“After touting transparency and ethics reform during the special session, the former governor and his lieutenants are working in secret to consolidate and protect their own power,” Kennedy added. “It’s not the will of Republican voters, that’s for sure.”
Here is the full Minda Riley Campbell e-mail:
Minda Riley e-mail