Based on a newspaper account of Strange's speech before an economic-development conference last week at Point Clear, the AG's parents might not have done as good a job as he thinks in the truth-telling department. That's because Strange's own words show he can't even be honest with himself.
Consider Strange's statements at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's summer conference in Point Clear. The subject of electronic bingo came up, which is not a surprise considering Strange's long-running crusade against VictoryLand, Center Stage, and other non-Indian gaming facilities in Alabama. Here is how al.com's Michael Tomberlin reported Strange's comments, from a section of the article that was available only in the print edition:
When asked why Indian casinos seem to operate with impunity, Strange said technically they fall outside his jurisdiction.
"Indian tribes are in a different category because they are a sovereign territory," he said, but added that it is his duty to ensure the law is applied evenly throughout the state.
Why did Strange file a lawsuit seeking to shut down Poarch Creek casinos when he admits that he has no authority over the tribal facilities? Actually, the Point Clear speech was not the first time Strange has admitted the Poarch Creek lawsuit is bogus. We addressed that in a March 25, 2013, post titled "Recent Letter Shows That Even AG Luther Strange Knows His Lawsuit Against Poarch Creeks Is A Sham." From that post:
According to a new report from Bob Martin of the Montgomery Independent, Strange wrote to lawyers for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor just before raiding and closing the facility last month. Here, in part, is what Strange said:
"You likely are aware of the situation with regard to Class 2 gambling on Indian land. Federal law governs those facilities, and I do not have jurisdiction to enforce federal or state laws against them."
So now, we have Strange admitting twice that he has no grounds for the lawsuit against the Poarch Creeks, but he is using taxpayer dollars to pursue it anyway. Lawyers are subject to sanctions if they bring legal actions that they know are without merit.
A public official who takes unlawful actions because money or favors are being exchanged back stage--wasting tax dollars in the process--is subject to criminal prosecution. Luther Strange's actions are emitting the foul odor of bribery, conspiracy, mail/wire fraud, honest services fraud, and perhaps other federal crimes.
The situation with Luther Strange becomes even more alarming when you realize his unlawful actions are not limited to the Poarch Creeks. Any first-year law student should know that electronic bingo is legal under the Alabama Constitution in Macon and Houston counties, and the Constitution trumps state statute, meaning Strange's raids there are not supported by law.
So we have an attorney general filing a sham lawsuit against the Poarch Creek tribe and conducting illegal raids against VictoryLand and Center Stage. A semi-serious investigation probably would show Luther Strange has an improper motive for taking these actions, and
that would point to criminal activity.
Many Alabamians of good will disagree on the merits of gambling in our state--and many others don't care much, one way or another. But the fact that our chief law-enforcement officer might himself be a criminal . . . well, that should be a concern to all of us.