Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Question About Bob Riley

Just a thought before returning our attention to The Birmingham News.

I was surprised to discover that Don Siegelman was personally responsible for $500,000 of debt from his failed lottery campaign in Alabama. That debt evidently caused Siegelman to turn to Richard Scrushy for a donation, with Scrushy winding up with a place on a hospital-regulation board. That transaction was at the heart of the government's corruption case against Siegelman.

I figured the governor's office would have accounts designed to cover expenses for something like a lottery campaign. Had no idea that Siegelman, or any other governor, would need to personally guarantee campaign debt. Anybody have any insight on how this happens?

This all raises this question about current Alabama Governor Bob Riley: Did Riley have any debt from his failed campaign to reform the tax system in Alabama? If so, who paid for it and what, if any, benefits did this person or organization receive as a result?

I happen to be one Alabamian who supported Riley's effort to reform the tax system to better fund education and state services. I thought it took real political courage on his part to bring the program forward. In fact, I thought Riley might turn out to be the best governor Alabama had seen in my time living here for almost 30 years. (That was before I came to understand his ties to people like Jack Abramoff and Dax Swatek and the suspicious nature of his narrow win over Siegelman in 2002.)

Anyway, I've never seen the issue raised of any debt Riley might have faced from his failed tax-reform plan. Any readers have information or thoughts about this?


Anonymous said...

Riley did not guarantee any loans for the PACS that raised money for Amendment One in 2003.

One thing that is important to note with the Siegelman/Scrushy contribution is that the money was paid after the campaign account was closed. They went to great lengths on both sides to hide the "contributions" from public scrutny.

Anonymous said...

It is strictly forbidden to use state money for political campaigns. So, in fact, the Governor's office does not have a fund to cover something like the lottery or amendment one campaigns. Proponents set up a campaign account and raise money just like in a candidate election. Opponents do the same.

From looking at the SOS website--neither of the main PACS that rasied or spent money promoting Amendent One took out loans for the campaign.