U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) announced last Friday that he will be running for governor of Alabama in 2010.
Davis certainly has attractive qualities as a candidate. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama's campaign for president. He was the only member of Alabama's Congressional delegation to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
But when you look at some of his financial backers, and his recent troubling actions and statements regarding justice issues, you have to ask this question: Is Artur Davis truly a progressive or is he just a pro-business DINO (Democrat in Name Only)? Is Davis more interested in preserving the status quo than bringing much-needed change to Alabama?
Most troubling to us here at Legal Schnauzer are Davis' connections to Alabama Republican "consultant" Dax Swatek. According to opensecrets.org, Davis accepted a $250 contribution from Swatek in March 2004.
That might not sound like a substantial donation. But Swatek gave $250 in the same time frame to Republicans Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers, and Jo Bonner. In fact, Davis is the only Democrat to receive support from Swatek.
Why should we be alarmed that Davis has accepted financial support from Dax Swatek? Let us count the ways:
* Swatek has close ties to Bill Canary, president of Business Council of Alabama. Swatek also has ties to the Capitol Group LLC, a GOP fund-raising outfit headed by Canary and partner Patrick McWhorter;
* Swatek worked with McWhorter in 1999 to form a fictitious non-profit organization designed to benefit Channel One, a client of Jack Abramoff;
* Investigative journalist Russ Baker covered Swatek's role in the Channel One story;
* Scott Horton, legal-affairs contributor for Harper's, spotlighted Swatek's connections to Abramoff;
* Ralph Reed also was involved with Swatek in the Channel One scam;
* When Alice Martin ran for a seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 2000, Swatek ran her campaign. After losing that race, Martin was appointed U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama by George W. Bush. Scott Horton has called her perhaps the most corrupt and crooked public official in the country;
* Alice Martin's crookedness was apparent early, from the way Dax Swatek ran her 2000 campaign. The Martin camp produced a circular that implied she had 19 years of judicial experience, when she actually only had been a judge for six years. The co-chair of a state campaign oversight committee found the circular to be "misleading."
* Dax Swatek's father, William E. Swatek, is the Pelham, Alabama, attorney who filed a bogus lawsuit against me, leading to this blog about corrupt judges and attorneys in Alabama state courts. Bill Swatek has a 30-year history of unethical activities in the legal profession, and he once had his license suspended for acts of "fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and misrepresentation." Bill Swatek also was tried in criminal court for perjury, but he was somehow acquitted even though the prosecution presented tape-recorded evidence that Swatek had, in fact, lied under oath.
How sleazy is Dax Swatek's daddy? Well, we captured it in a three-part series:
* Bill Swatek: A Portrait of Alabama Sleaze in the Age of Rove;
* An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part I;
* An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part II;
* An Alabama Portrait of Sleaze in the Age of Rove, Part III
For good measure, Mrs. Schnauzer and I even caught Bill Swatek on tape, live and in color, as he conspired with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department to violate the law by conducting a bogus "auction" of our house. You can check out that action:
Showdown in Shelby County, Part II
Here's an important fact to keep in mind--and it's something Artur Davis should think about: The Swateks' sleaze is not just an Alabama story. Through their connections to Bill Canary, the Swateks have a pretty direct pipeline to Karl Rove--and that pipeline probably gave them influence with the Bush Justice Department. That might help explain why Bill Swatek and his corrupt judicial buddies in Shelby County get away with all kinds of unethical activity, and violate federal laws, in Alabama state courts.
In short, Dax Swatek learned his tricks of the political trade at the knee of Bill Canary. And according to sworn statements by Alabama attorney and Republican whistleblower Jill Simpson, Bill Canary was at the heart of a conspiracy to instigate a bogus prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
Is Dax Swatek the kind of person that Artur Davis wants to be associating with? Should Artur Davis be taking money from someone who has direct connections to the people who appear to have orchestrated the Don Siegelman prosecution--and turned the U.S. Justice Department into a political weapon?
Are we to believe that Davis can be the kind of transformative governor that Alabama needs when he takes money from the very people who have turned our state into a political and judicial cesspool?
What kind of political "operative" is Dax Swatek anyway? Perhaps the best evidence comes from a piece titled "Alice Martin's Political Pipeline, Part II," which I posted on February 18, 2008.
The post outlines Swatek's connections to Alice Martin and the underhanded tricks he pulled while running her 2000 campaign. If you scroll down to the comments on that post, you will notice this charming missive: "Nut case yours is comong."
The person obviously has problems with grammar and spelling. And he obviously takes it personally when someone points out Dax Swatek's amateurish handling of a political campaign.
Gee, I wonder who sent that? And I wonder what he meant by "yours is coming?" Think that might have been a reference to the fact that I would be out of a job almost exactly three months later?
Hmm, wonder if the person who sent that comment was directly involved in my unlawful termination at UAB?
Is Dax Swatek the kind of person who would threaten someone he views as a political adversary? We soon will be breaking a story that will answer that question.
But for now we have this question for Artur Davis: If we are known by the company we keep, what does it say about you when you take money from the likes of Dax Swatek? What kind of "change" do you intend to bring to Alabama with supporters like that?