Saturday, December 15, 2007

Campaign Cash and ExxonMobil

What was behind the Alabama Supreme Court's decision to throw out most of a $3.6 billion jury award that the state had secured against oil giant ExxonMobil?

Cold, hard campaign cash, according to Harper's Scott Horton.

Horton reports that in the past six years, Republican candidates for Alabama's highest court have taken more than $5.5 million in campaign contributions from ExxonMobil lobbyists and lawyers, and groups allied with the company.

"That means that the eight judges who voted to throw out the state's massive jury award against ExxonMobil were actually placed on the court with ExxonMobil's money and support--though that support is almost all carefully funnelled in an indirect way, of course," Horton writes.

Where did the money come from? Horton provides a list:

* Tort reform groups whose leadership includes Exxon lobbyists gave $3 million.

* Seven political action committees, controlled by Exxon's Alabama lobbyist Fine Geddie & Associates, gave $293,000.

* Alabama lawyers who represent Exxon in the gas-royalties suit gave thousands of dollars.

* The Business Council of Alabama gave at least $2.1 million. (That's the group headed by Bill Canary, of the famous "my girls will take care of Don Siegelman" quote. And a close associate of Bill Canary is Dax Swatek, whose father William E. Swatek filed a bogus lawsuit against me and is being protected from his crimes by the Bush Justice Department.)

"Just think of it from a corporate perspective," Horton writes. "An investment of $5.5 million to eliminate a $3.6 billion liability? The best investment those oil men ever made."

One thing is for sure: The Alabama Supreme Court's ruling was not based on the law. In fact, the court violated its own well-settled precedents in order to let Exxon off the hook.

In a neighboring state, Mississippi, the Bush Justice Department has treated similar alleged activity by a Supreme Court justice as a federal crime. Actually, the Mississippi justice in question--Oliver Diaz--did not come remotely close to committing a federal crime. But he was tried for it anyway, mainly because he had the support of prominent Democrats.

And in Alabama? The evidence is piling up that eight Republicans on the high court did indeed commit a federal crime. What will the Bushies do about it? Almost certainly nothing.

But we at Legal Schnauzer will be dishing the real dirt on the Supreme Court that flat out stole from the citizens who support them. Another Alabama blogger, Robby Scott Hill at Novationeering, is on top of this story. I highly recommend his site.

Much more coming on the ExxonMobil decision.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am greaved about the polical corruption that is happening in Alabama. It has gotten to be like the old bad lands before annexation into statehood. The state is controlled by crooks.

Political corruption in Alabama has gotten totally out of control. Out of the Millions of dollars of Mississippi Choctaw money that Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon laundered and sent to AL. to defeat Siegelman’s Education Lottery in 1999, to elect Bob Riley in 2002 and for Riley to oppress the AL. Poarch Indians, “not a single person has gotten investigated by the ABI or FBI under direction of the offices of the Alabama Attorney General or the U.S. Attorneys.”

Every article written on the 2002 Governors election verifies that the numbers published indicates that Electronic ballot stuffing was involved in Baldwin County to transfer votes from Siegelman to Riley. Siegelman was the winner that evening; however, Dan Gans (Riley’s voting machine software guru) said that Siegelman had too may votes in Bay Minette so during the night a voting adjustment was made that put Riley in the lead. I believe that Siegelman was blackmailed because he didn't put up a fight when votes were swapped and the election was taken from him. No one knew why he conceded to Riley until the Judicial Committee released Attorney Jill Simpson‘s testimony this week. The Democratic Party issued petitions in all 67 counties asking for recounts (not all counties used optical scanning machines), but in Baldwin County in particular, they actually asked for a manual recount (of the paper ballots); however, Alabama Attorney General William Pryor ordered that throughout the state that all votes be sealed. He told the county canvassing boards that under penalty of law they did not have the authority to break the seals on the ballots and machines under section 17-9-31 of the constitution to do a recount. This 2002 election fraud didn't get investigated by the ABI or FBI or the offices of the U.S. Attorneys or the Alabama Attorney General.