|Luther Strange gets a victory hug|
from Jessica Medeiros Garrison
We know that Strange takes hypocrisy on gambling issues to monumental dimensions. After all, this is the guy who has tried to shut down non-Indian gaming facilities, such as VictoryLand in Macon County and Center Stage Alabama in Houston County, while taking a $100,000 campaign contribution from the Poarch Creek casinos. This also is the guy who used the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) to help obscure the donation via a PAC-to-PAC transfer.
That brings us to Jessica Medeiros Garrison. She made news here last week when we reported on a press release she issued in March 2010, calling for Strange's GOP primary opponent, incumbent AG Troy King, to return any campaign funds he had received from gambling interests. That seems curious--some might say hypocritical--when you consider that Garrison now works for the very organization that helped launder gambling funds for Luther Strange in the same campaign.
What are we talking about? Before we tackle that question, let's see just how worked up Jessica Medeiros Garrison became over Troy King's campaign funding. This is from her press release, and the full release can be viewed at the end of this post:
“Gambling interests have propped up Mr. King's campaigns, back to 2006,” said the Luther Strange campaign manager, Jessica Garrison. “If he sticks to his pledge of returning direct contributions from gambling interests, he needs to return at least $190 thousand. If he gives back all of the contributions he has accepted from PACs which have received money from gambling operators, slot machine manufactures and their lobbyists, King needs to return nearly $400 thousand to keep his public pledge.”
Jessica Medeiros Garrison, it seems, tried to hold Troy King to a standard that she was not willing to meet herself.
Garrison now serves in an "of counsel" role with the large, downtown-Birmingham law firm Balch & Bingham. But her primary role seems to be serving as director of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). What is RAGA? It is an affiliate of RSLC, the organization that helped funnel Indian gaming funds to the Luther Strange campaign.
Translation: Jessica Medeiros Garrison called for Troy King to distance himself from any organization that dealt with gambling funds; Garrison herself subsequently joined an organization that . . . deals with gambling funds.
That's not all. During the 2010 campaign, Garrison took a fairly personal shot at Troy King. From her press release:
Garrison also called on King to release all loan documents related to a $300 thousand loan to his campaign disclosed in January.
“At a time when so many Alabamians are having trouble getting bank credit, it is inconceivable that any lender would provide an unsecured loan to a campaign,” Garrison said. “Given the questions raised by these documents, we know a reputable bank such as ServisFirst would have required King to guarantee the loan. Considering recent questions raised about a $500 thousand bank loan to Ron Sparks' gubernatorial campaign, it would only make sense for Mr. King to disclose how he was able to qualify for so much money or to explain who helped him secure the loan."
For now, we will call the hypocrisy race between Jessica Medeiros Garrison and Luther Strange a dead heat. More importantly, our research indicates the two of them have a few personal issues that might merit a public airing. If it was important for Troy King to "disclose" and "explain" certain financial issues, perhaps it is time for Garrison and Strange to address questions for which Alabamians deserve answers.
We soon will find out if Garrison and Strange are willing to follow the forthcoming path they recommended for Troy King.