Monday, October 29, 2012

Alabama "Anti-Gambling" Activist Gets Caught In A Lie About His Use of Funds From GOP Group

A. Eric Johnston

One of Alabama's most vocal anti-gambling activists got caught in a lie while trying to explain his use of funds from a national Republican organization.

Birmingham-based lawyer A. Eric Johnston directs Citizens for a Better Alabama (CBA), which helped lead the fight against the Sweet Home Alabama bill that would have legalized electronic bingo at several sites around the state.

Johnston recently was faced with trying to explain how his anti-gambling group came to receive $100,000 in gambling funds from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, filtered through the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). Rob Riley, the son of former Governor Bob Riley, helped land the money for CBA, and both he and Johnston claimed they had no idea the RSLC took funds from gambling sources.

Those claims ring hollow when you realize that public records show the RSLC has taken gambling money for roughly 10 years, dating at least to a 2003 donation from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Are Riley and Johnston bald-faced liars? Well, the evidence is clear that Johnston told at least one whopper--and that calls into question the truthfulness of all the statements he, and Rob Riley, have made on the subject. We can thank Bob Martin, editor and publisher of the Montgomery Independent, for having the keen eyes that caught Johnston in a common conservative activity--lying.

What exactly did Johnston say, and how do we know it is false. Let's allow Martin to explain, from his column last week in the Independent:

Johnston has said that the money he received went to “support advertising and lobbying activities against the Sweet Home Alabama Bill, which would have allowed voters to decide whether or not to permit electronic bingo at several locations in Alabama." 
That is an interesting comment because by the time Riley and Johnson received the contribution on June 10, 2010, the State Legislature had adjourned and the Sweet Home Alabama gambling legislation was dead. The final day of the legislative session was April 18, 2010, almost two months before the June 10 contribution.

Don't you just love it when a holier-than-thou conservative--one who wears morality on his sleeve--gets caught in an immoral act? Bob Martin nailed A. Eric Johnston with a swift uppercut of truth in this case. And we suspect Johnston still is seeing stars.

We also suspect this is further evidence that Johnston, and his benefactor Rob Riley, are lying out their fannies when they claim to have not known that the RSLC took gambling funds.

It also raises this question: If the $100,000 could not have been used for advertising and lobbying against the Sweet Home Alabama bill, where did it go? Did it go straight into the pockets of A. Eric Johnston and Rob Riley? Was it used for something else?

The full Bob Martin article from last week is not yet available on the Web, but you can check it out here:

Big chunks of Poarch Creek wampum flowed to Rileys, Strange and Bryan Taylor 
Last month I reported that the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe gave a $100,000 campaign contribution in 2010 to then State Attorney General Candidate Luther Strange by laundering the funds through three Republican entities before finally reaching Strange, who was subsequently elected as the state’s top prosecutor. 
As it turns out, that contribution was less than a third of the Poarch Creek gifts to the GOP in the state that year. Another $100,000 was sent to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) via Birmingham attorney Rob Riley and destined for a group fighting the expansion of gambling in Alabama. That organization, Citizens for a better Alabama, is run by Birmingham lawyer Eric Johnston. 
The contribution, sent on June 10, 2010, was not reported on RSLC filings with the IRS until the following August. It was then reported as a donation made on July 15, 2010. Johnston’s organization was not required to report expenditures from the $100,000. Had the $100,000 been placed in Johnston’s organization’s regular PAC, reporting of the distributions from that PAC would have been required. So where did that cash go? We know it went from Poarch Creeks to the RSLC and through Rob Riley to Eric Johnston and his Citizens for a Better Alabama group, which he controls. From there, who knows who shared in the take? 
However, campaign reports clearly show that the RSLC did receive $350,000 from the Poarch Band in 2010 and contributed in excess of $800,000 to the State Party in that same year. 
It has also been reported that the Poarch Tribe made a $3,500 contribution to the campaign of State Sen. Bryan Taylor of Prattville. So that is $203,500 which can be directly traced but that leaves a big chunk of cash remaining somewhere in the chain or distributed to other candidates or entities. 
Johnston has said that the money he received went to “support advertising and lobbying activities against the Sweet Home Alabama Bill, which would have allowed voters to decide whether or not to permit electronic bingo at several locations in Alabama." 
That is an interesting comment because by the time Riley and Johnston received the contribution on June 10, 2010, the State Legislature had adjourned and the Sweet Home Alabama gambling legislation was dead. The final day of the legislative session was April 18, 2010, almost two months before the June 10 contribution. 
Johnston has fought gambling in Alabama for a long time . . . some say by using Mississippi gambling money that was laundered through Jack Abramoff. His group, Citizens Against a Legalized Lottery (CALL), morphed into Citizens for a Better Alabama (CBA) in 2001 and played a leading role in fighting the Sweet Home Alabama plan that would have brought legalized, regulated gaming to Alabama. Johnston, a Birmingham lawyer made a failed run for the Alabama Supreme Court in 2010. 
Jack Abramoff confirmed in his recent book what many have suspected for some time: that Johnston's group is not really based on a moral objection to gambling; but rather it’s designed to protect Mississippi gaming interests. 
Johnston also served as treasurer of CALL, a group that fought Don Siegelman’s 1999 lottery campaign. Campaign finance records for the group show it received $300,000 from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by Grover Norquist, in October of 1999. 
About $300,000 was routed through ATR by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians “because the Tribe wanted to block gambling competition in Alabama,” according to a 2006 Senate report concerning kickbacks lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s received from Indian lobbying money. 
Johnston, quoted in The Montgomery Advertiser last week, called Norquist a “deceptive person” and insisted CALL and Citizens for a Better Alabama were separate entities. “CALL,” he said, “was a political action committee, while Citizens for a Better Alabama was a lobbying organization. 
If all this seems confusing, I can boil it down to two words: political graft.


Anonymous said...

"... But an Olmert aide noted that Mr. Talansky had originally supported Mr. Olmert “as a rightist mayor of Jerusalem” and not as a prime minister offering concessions to the Palestinians....

.. Failed Graft Prosecution of Former Israeli Premier Spurs Political Questions,

.. Ehud Olmert, center, the former Israeli prime minister, left court last Tuesday after being acquitted of major corruption charges. By ISABEL KERSHNER, July 15, 2012

.. JERUSALEM — In the summer of 2008, two weeks after Israeli prosecutors announced an expansion of their corruption investigation of Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister, a New Jersey woman contacted Israel’s attorney general and said that she believed she had some relevant information, according to court documents....

Where does America get the "political graft" from?

State of Israel has perfected the dark craft and the "Americans" that follow this lead are clearly not in the modern world.

What a world of word armies, LS, thankfully the journalists have always led US et al, "forward" going as the "political grafters" walk backwards off cliffs and roof tops, too, according to the Afghanistan people WHO have forced US to fly the drones here at 'home' to HOPEFULLY? get all the grafters of politics that are well known as "WALL STREET."


David in S. Alabama said...

A large part of the money Jach Abramhoff got from the Chotaw Indians was moved by a check that Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition of America gave to John Giles of the Christ Coalition of Alabama. He instruction to deposit the check and send half back to him and the other half to Grover Norquist. They in found ay to move tehe money to Riley's campaign for governor in 2002. Giles eventually tried to seperate the Christ Coalition of Alabama from the national organization. Randy Brinson led a groupp of CCA members to lead a court case to remove Giles as head of CCA. Brinson is a Montgomery dentist who apperently runs several shady Pacs out of a private PO Box at a mail shop in east Montgomery.

Spasmoda said...

Eric Johnston must think we are all a bunch of toads. Anyone who lives in Alabama should be familiar with the schedule of the legislature, that it starts in Jan. and runs through early to mid spring.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Legal!!!

Roaches don't like it when you turn the light on them. They think that they are immune from prosecution because they believe the common Alabamiam is to stupid to dig into campaign contributions. Keep exposing them until someone has the legal guts to investigate and prosecute.

Anonymous said...

Johnston touts himself as such a "fine, Christian man." Doesn't the Bible warn against "bearing false witness"? Isn't that in the Ten Commandments or somewhere? Need to put in a call to Roy Moore.

Ddavis in S. Alabama said...

Why is the comment, from Anonymous which have zero to do with ethis blog post, allowed?

legalschnauzer said...

I guess I was in the mood to allow it.

jeffrey spruill said...

Is this the same Eric Johnston that's affiliated with Pat Robertson's & Jay Sekulow's ACLJ?

David in S. Alabama:

Are you referring to this money laundering tool:

Somebody- Ralph Reed was laundering money from the FDIC too:

However, the contest over whether the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will have to pay for the Hollands' legal expenses may not be over.

jeffrey spruill said...

David in S. Alabama:

I would imagine David W. Bouchard Esq. wanted at least 20+ grand to railroad me all the way to SCOTUS.

That's why Chief Justice Rehnquist refused to retire. As head of the federal judiciary he refused to release Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson from the Breyer Judicial Misconduct Commission who was covering up for a U.S. District Court judge.(Judge Henry Coke Morgan)

These events occur simultaneously-Thursday-July14,2005 the SAME DAY I was in Chesapeake,Va. General District Court with David W. Bouchard.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Which post has zero to do with the blog post? But what I'm most curious about is how this payoff system works. Obviously there has to be a system that is known for it to function. I've seen real fear as a factor. That's clearly one result of this system but where does it start? Where is that first phone call directed?