Monday, January 18, 2010

Riley's Anti-Gambling Czar Proves to be a World-Class Hypocrite

What kind of Republican is most likely to have an extramarital affair? The one who screeches the loudest about family values, of course.

What kind of Republican is most likely to be caught making curious advances in a men's room? The one who is stridently "anti gay," natch.

Republican hypocrisy is the blogging gift that keeps on giving. That's why the latest example of it caused us to have a true LOL (laugh out loud) moment here at Legal Schnauzer.

The news comes from Alabama, where former prosecuting attorney David Barber was serving as head of Governor Bob Riley's anti-gambling task force. Barber resigned from his post last week because he--brace yourself--won a $2,300 jackpot while gambling in . . . Mississippi.

You heard that right, folks: The man who was trying to shut down gambling sites in Alabama was spending his spare time gambling next door.

And here is something particularly delicious: Barber didn't hit the jackpot in, say, Las Vegas or New Jersey. He went to Mississippi, where gaming interests reportedly supported Governor Riley's 2002 candidacy to the tune of $13 million.

It has been widely reported that Riley is taking extraordinary steps to stop gambling in Alabama because he is beholden to his Mississippi Choctaw boosters. Is it possible that Riley has been doing more than protecting the Choctaws market by scaring off competition in Alabama? Is he actively sending them business, in the form of his anti-gambling czar?

Excuse us while we try to stifle a fit of the chuckles.

The Barber story leaves several questions unanswered:

* How did Barber's winnings come to public attention? I don't know much about gambling, but I assume that it normally doesn't become news when someone wins a $2,300 jackpot. Is it possible that pro-gaming interests in Alabama conducted a private investigation and caught Barber in the act? Is that what caused Barber to turn in his resignation letter? If so, I have the utmost admiration for the pro-gaming interests. That's the kind of hardball you have to play against Republican hypocrites. When will the Democratic Party ever learn that lesson?

* At exactly which casino in Mississippi was Barber playing? That has not been reported, to my knowledge. Was it a Mississippi Choctaw casino? Was Barber, indeed, patronizing a casino run by the group that helped put Bob Riley in office?

Must . . . stop . . . chuckles.

Barber's resignation was not the only gambling-related news in recent days. The Alabama Supreme Court cleared the way for Riley's task force to make another attempt at raiding the new Country Crossing development in Dothan.

Country Crossing responded by seeking a restraining order in federal court, and it went ahead with its grand opening over the weekend--which apparently was a smashing success.

Will Barber's public gaffe squelch the enthusiasm of Riley's task force? Houston County District Attorney Doug Valeska responded by writing a letter to Riley to "uninvite" the task force from the county. Reports the Dothan Eagle:

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver applauded Valeska’s letter.

“We’re just glad someone stepped up and put some civility in this craziness,” Culver said. “It needs to be addressed in a civil manner and now it will be.

“It’s a shame that (Barber) has been down here trying to put more than a thousand people out of work while doing the things he has been doing. The hypocrisy of this whole thing has been evident from the beginning,” Culver added.

Country Crossing attorney Will Matthews said Valeska’s letter should prevent the Task Force from raiding Country Crossing.

“They have no Constitutional authority to be here without the invitation of the district attorney,” Matthews said.


Robby Scott Hill said...

Riley's Administration continues to fall apart. First he gets rid of two of the best civil servants he ever had, Roger Shuler and Robby Scott Hill, among many others. Then, a rift develops between him and Troy King. That's followed by another rift between him and Bill Johnson. Both men were two of his staunchest supporters during the first term.
Now he's pissed off the Valeska brothers who were his prosecute anyone, go to guys in the Attorney General's Office. Bob Riley needs to pull down all the cash he can this year, because he will have a difficult time finding a job when he leaves office. It's not just civil servant dudes like us who tell it like it is. Bob Riley has a history of not working or playing well with his like minded conservative brothers either. Like Karl Rove, Riley will betray anyone for a dollar.

Michael Kneuer said...

It does not surprise me that Riley's anti gambling taskforce leader would be caught red handed in an Indian casino on the eve of a raid on Country Crossing. What was he doing there? Was he just having a good ole time gambling? Or was he meeting with the lobbyists for the Indians about Riley's quest to shut down Alabama gambling. Either way, thank god for Barbers "jackpot" and his corrupt ways being exposed. Now the people of this great state can finally see what is going on....I know we have mainly been like ostriches with our heads in the sand pretending not to see what is going on, but this is too blatant for you to ingnore. Even the staunchest Republican and Riley supporter must now see clear as day that Riley is corrupt and took money from the Indians.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Will Matthews is correct. The District Attorney & Sheriff of a county have the power to tell the state and federal authorities to keep out of their jurisdiction, but yet so many County District Attorneys & Sheriffs are afraid of losing money from the state & DC that they cower down to the powers that be. One DA in each state, The District Attorney of the county in which the state capital lies, has the power to prosecute corrupt state government officials who break the law.

legalschnauzer said...

Does this mean the DA in Montgomery County has pretty much neglected her duty?

Couldn't she go after Leura Canary, Bill Canary, Bob Riley--the whole crowd--and she has failed to do so?

Could she even go after Richard Shelby and Mark Fuller for their Doss Aviation shenanigans?

Robby Scott Hill said...

Montgomery County DA, Ellen Brooks, certainly has the discretionary power to go after Riley, Canary and Company. I wouldn't go so far as to call it neglect. She has made a political decision to not prosecute for whatever reason. It might be the "oath of party loyalty" and moderate and Blue Dog leaders in the Alabama Democratic Party who have instructed her to back off. It could very well be former Democrat US Attorneys and Asst. Attorney Generals in Alabama who are doing well financially because of their growing criminal defense practices. I believe you have written some blog posts about one of those former prosecutors in particular, but it's not just him. It's any group of them who wield influence with the Democratic State Committee which is usually run by lawyers. It's like Al Pacino said in that movie about The Devil. "Being a lawyer is the new priesthood." It's power to control people's lives and make a shit load of money from their misery.