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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rob Riley Helped Funnel Indian Gambling Money To Organization That Opposed Non-Indian Gaming

Rob Riley

The son of former Governor Bob Riley was the middle man in a transaction that funneled Indian gambling money toward a campaign to fight non-Indian gaming facilities in Alabama, according to a report yesterday in the Montgomery Advertiser.

Rob Riley, a Homewood attorney, received notification from the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) that it had contributed $100,000 to Citizens for a Better Alabama on June 10, 2010. Records show that the RSLC received a $100,000 check that same day from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Records also strongly suggest that Indian gambling money played a major role in the Republican takeover of the Alabama Legislature in 2010, the Advertiser article states.

Finally, the $100,000 check from the Poarch Creeks involves possible tax irregularities. Reports the Advertiser:

The donation was not reported on the RSLC’s filings with the Internal Revenue Service until August 2010, when it was reported as a donation made July 15, 2010, over a month after RSLC records show the check arrived.

Rob Riley acknowledged that he was helping Citizens for a Better Alabama raise money at the time. But he claims he did not know the source of money sent to the RSLC. Reports the Advertiser:

“I have never had any contact with anyone in the Poarch Creek Indians about giving money to anyone at any time. And I certainly didn’t on this occasion,” Rob Riley said. Rob Riley and the director of Citizens for a Better Alabama said all they knew about the money was that it originated with the RSLC.

Citizens for a Better Alabama, directed by Birmingham lawyer A. Eric Johnston, lobbied against legislation that would have let voters decide whether to allow electronic bingo in certain areas of the state. Johnston acknowledged receiving money from the RSLC but insisted he had no idea it came from the Poarch Creeks:

“We were assured, and we were told at the time by Governor Riley that this money did not come from the Indians,” said Eric Johnston, the director of the group. . . . 
Rob Riley said he was not aware that the RSLC received money from gambling interests, including the Poarch Creeks. When asked if that would have affected accepting the contribution, he said the decision about that money would have been made by Johnston. 
“From everything I know from the person that ran Citizens for a Better Alabama, they took great efforts to make sure they were not getting money from gambling interests,” Rob Riley said.

A. Eric Johnston
Johnston's efforts must not have been too exhaustive because his group clearly did receive money from gambling interests in 2010. And this is not the first time it has happened. A similar effort is traced to a group called Citizens Against Legalized Lottery (CALL), which dates to Don Siegelman's term as governor:

Johnston also served as treasurer of CALL, a group that fought Gov. Don Siegelman’s 1999 lottery campaign. Campaign finance records for the group show it received $300,000 from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, in October of 1999. About $300,000 was routed through ATR by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians “because the Tribe wanted to block gambling competition in Alabama,” according to a 2006 Senate report concerning kickbacks lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s received from Indian lobbying money.

As for the GOP takeover of the Alabama Legislature, that also appears to be tainted with Indian gambling money:

RSLC was heavily involved in the state’s 2010 legislative campaign, routing money from entities from Citigroup to the Greater Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce into Alabama’s campaigns. The RSLC accepted $350,000 from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in 2010, according to 2010 forms the Republican State Leadership Committee filed with the IRS. The RSLC contributed $850,000 to the Alabama Republican Party in 2010, according to those forms filed with the IRS. 
“From the beginning, I told the RSLC in no uncertain terms that we weren’t interested in accepting any money (from gambling interests), and though gaming interests were among their hundreds of contributors, the RSLC staff assured us none of the money that came to Alabama was gambling-related,” said House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 2010.

The Montgomery Advertiser has been on the sidelines for the past 10 to 12 years, largely ignoring signs that Alabama's capital city has become a cesspool of corruption. Why did the newspaper suddenly awaken from its slumber? We aren't sure, but it's interesting to see the paper treat this story as if it's breaking news.

We reported almost exactly one year ago on clear signs that the RSLC had funneled Indian gaming money to the GOP effort to take over the Alabama Legislature. We reported earlier this month that the RSLC played a prominent role in funneling Poarch Creek money to the campaign of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who now is threatening potential competitors for the Poarch Creeks in our state.

It's nice to see that the Montgomery Advertiser finally is doing its job, but I have one question for the paper's reporters and editors: Where have you been for the past decade or so?

By the way, this is not the first time the public has heard Alabama Republicans cry, "We had no idea all that money came from gambling sources!" Johnston went so far as to claim his organization had been "hoodwinked" by the RSLC. But no one was whining louder than the former governor's son:

Rob Riley acknowledged that people have alleged that Indian gambling interests have influenced the fight against gambling in Alabama, but said “I am telling you I have never spoken with anybody who was ever involved with any Indian gaming organization and asked them to give any money to any group at any time.”

How long will the public continue to buy that line? We have no idea. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the Republican war on non-Indian gambling in Alabama has been driven by . . . Indian gambling money.

18 comments:

Barb said...

Rob Riley would look good in an orange jumpsuit.

Curious George said...

Is there a course where Republicans learn to say, "I'm shocked that money came from Indian gambling" every time they get caught with money that came from Indian gambling.

Do they learn this at some right-wing college?

Anonymous said...

Eric Johnston also would look good in an orange jump suit. This guy is all tied in with the uber-Christian crowd at Briarwood Church, and he is up to his eye balls in gambling money. What a fraud!

Sharon said...

Who's the bigger liar--Mitt Romney or Rob Riley?

Anonymous said...

Legal, I am glad you are on this story. Outside of the Don Siegelman polical prossecusion it has to be one of the most corrupt events in Alabama's policitcal history. And because the senate and the judiciary are controlled by Republican appointees nothing is being done to investigate or prosecute. Please continue to follow this story closley in conjunction with what is going on in Houston County Alabama.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 11:56--

We will continue to follow it. I'm glad you raised the point about the judiciary. The Alabama Supreme Court is absolutely corrupt and played a huge role in Riley's Raids of 2010. Our "high court," which is supposed to be bound by the rule of law and be above partisan politics, is an ugly joke. Luther Strange is a fraud, too.

Spasmoda said...

Mr. Schnauzer . . .

I find it interesting that many of the people in this Indian gambling charade have ties to the Bradley Arant law firm in Birmingham. And you have written that Bradley Arant is in the middle of the Ted Rollins story, where he used an Alabama court to cheat his ex wife. Just how corrupt is Bradley Arant? I guess that's the question this all raises in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Rob Riley raising money for Eric Johnston's anti-gambling crusade? Now isn't that a fine piece of pudding?

Anonymous said...

The "Higher Courts" are mostly all, and for the most all of 'them' the 'lawyers' are, all corrupted.

Money, but of course. The money was and is digital so there is no boundary to what 'numbers' can bribe the 'judiciary.'

Add poly addicted druggies, what with the pharmaceutical industry filling the retirement portfolios as well as the body-mind.

The Indians have been involved forever in the con money games.

Paul De Muniz in Oregon's "Higher Court" has so many retirement options coming up in 2013, due to his co-partnership with Bank of America, et al.

Not saying there are not decent lawyers on the higher court in the State, Oregon does have a couple of women, Virginia Linder for one, who follows the law.

But, the rest of the legal tribal cult in Oregon does not appear signed up for other than digital due process in the digits of computer 'wealth.'

Oregon has been a rogue state since forever, and Alabama has been a twin in the criminally insane tribes of non-Indian so called 'elite.'

Raymond said...

I'm curious about the apparent irregularites on the reporting of this donation. I seem to recall that a big part of the Don Siegelman case was that he supposedly didn't report the Scrushy donation in a timely fashion. Why wouldn't the same thing apply here?

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauz, why do you hold back on how you really feel?

Actually, your style is 'higher' than the 'highest' in the State of Alabameee, Alabamy, professional you actually give a new definition.

No blog for me, much too unprofessional, I am that with respect to the tribal unjustly set up supremely corrupt across the U.S. of A.

legalschnauzer said...

Raymond:

You raise a profound point, one that had escaped me. You are correct that untimely reporting was seen as a sign of criminal activity in the Siegelman case. That's not the actual law, of course, but that's how Judge Mark Fuller handled it, and how the 11th Circuit ruled. They essentially found that a reasonable jury could "infer" criminal intent based on lax reporting of the donation. The theory is that late reporting could indicate an intent to hide the donation, which hints at unlawful activity.

All of that is a bunch of bunk under the actual law, which says the bribery crime has to do with an "explicit agreement," not lax reporting. But that's the way the law was applied to Siegelman and Scrushy, so it should be applied that way to Riley and Eric Johnston.

David in S. Alabama said...

When Riley's co-called Task Force raided the bingo hal in White Hall a out of town judge was appointed. He didn't please Ri ley in his rulings and the case waqs moved during the night to the Supreme Court. This was trigger by a court filing that came out of Bradley Arant's office. We know this because Task Force Director David Braber was in Mississippi gambling in a Chotaw Indian Casino. While the Supremes were diliberating, Riley went on a trip to Washington, DC. Bob martin of the Montgomery Independant reported that during the dinner hour Riley called at least two members of the court and discussed the case. Can you say ex parte? As regards to Bradley Arant can you say RICO?

legalschnauzer said...

David:

You are absolutely on target about Bradley Arant and RICO. Such violations almost certainly were present in the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case, which I've covered extensively. And that apparently was driven by Bradley Arant.

Anonymous said...

US unjust courts collapse now

Most nursery rhymes were actually political.

We can write,

US unjust courts collapse,

70x7 is one formula, that is every day 70 times for 7 days, write like a practice in musical instruments.

Sleep and dream the rhyme in our nursery bed at night.

Whatever works to get the hundredth monkey theory to work.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Would this story have even made the Montgomery Advertiser were it not for a split in the State GOP leadership? Looks like Robert Bentley isn't allowing Bob Riley to usurp his administration. I expect the same from Roy Moore's Supreme Court. Looks like the Riley Family's fortunes have changed for the worse. It seems those "Republicans in Name Only" or "RINOs" are taking over. I hope the Riley Children have a plan B because plan A has stopped working.

legalschnauzer said...

I'm working on a major story that will enhance the Riley children's need for a Plan B.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your story Legal.