Friday, December 28, 2007

Did Riley Violate Campaign Finance Laws?

Alabama Governor Bob Riley might have attempted to conceal illegal corporate donations to his 2002 and 2006 campaigns by representing them in campaign-finance reports as having come from individuals, according to reports by the Montgomery Independent and Raw Story.

This story could have important connections to the unlawful actions by Republican Alabama state judges, which are at the heart of our Legal Schnauzer blog. The campaign manager for Riley's 2006 re-election campaign was Montgomery-based consultant Dax Swatek.

Swatek's father, William E. Swatek, filed a fraudulent lawsuit against me that touched off what we have come to call the Legal Schnauzer case. That case has involved multiple unlawful rulings by Republican judges in Shelby County, Alabama, plus unlawful affirmances by the state's Republican-packed appellate courts.

Dax Swatek has raised funds for at least one Alabama appellate judge, Glenn Murdock, who refused to recuse himself from my case and then voted unlawfully to uphold a lower-court ruling favoring Dax Swatek's father.

Bob Riley went on national television following the disappearance in Aruba of Alabama resident Natalee Holloway, calling for a travel boycott of Aruba and stating that he wanted to know about any irregularities citizens have experienced in Alabama's justice system. The Riley administration has taken no action on multiple e-mails I have sent regarding unlawful actions by Alabama judges that favored William E. Swatek, the father of Riley's campaign manager.

Dax Swatek also served as campaign manager for Alice Martin's failed 2000 run for a seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Martin now is U.S. attorney in Birmingham, and she has taken affirmative steps to ensure that federal crimes committed in my case have been covered up. You will recall that Martin brought the first case against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, which was thrown out by a federal judge. Siegelman later was convicted in a second case, tried in Montgomery.

As campaign manager for Riley's 2006 campaign, Dax Swatek could be responsible for any violations of campaign-finance laws.

Raw Story's Muriel Kane reports that the Montgomery Independent found that the Riley campaign in 2006 reported the use of airplanes owned by two corporations as if they were personal "in-kind" donations from the presidents of these corporations. The campaign also listed
the provision of an advertising billboard as a personal donation from the president of the ad agency. Together, these in-kind donations had a value of more than $25,000, far beyond the $500 limit allowed for any one corporation in a single election cycle.

Bob Martin, publisher of the Independent, has called for further investigation of the matter, stating in an editorial, "The question which stands out front-and-center is whether or not the listing of individuals instead of the true corporate donors was intentional, as in to bypass the legal limits on corporate donations, or was just a mistake in reporting."

If Riley is not able to clear himself in the matter, Martin says he is prepared to call for legal action, noting the violation of the law, if not refuted, is "just as serious as the matters for which former Gov. Don Siegelman was convicted."

Kane notes that Raw Story is conducting an ongoing investigation into the 2002 Alabama governor's election, in which Riley pulled ahead of Siegelman based on mysterious changing vote totals in Republican stronghold Baldwin County.

Links to the original Independent story and editorial can be accessed through the Raw Story link above.

The Independent story is written by reporter Bob Gambacurta, who we recently praised here at Legal Schnauzer for his work on the case involving Riley and insurance executive John W. Goff.

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