|Luther Strange and|
Jessica Medeiros Garrison
Strange's payments to Jessica Medeiros Garrison coincide with her pregnancy and the birth of her child in early 2007. (See Luther Strange 2006 Campaign Expenditures, Part I and Part II, at the end of this post.)
The indictment against Barron indicates the attorney general's office built its case against Lowell Barron on three theories related to Alabama's campaign-finance and ethics law: (1) Barron made the payments to Rhonda Jill Johnson after a losing campaign in 2010; (2) Barron, therefore, could not claim the payments were reasonably related to performance of his official duties; (3) The payments were personal in nature.
Public records show the attorney general himself made payments to Jessica Medeiros Garrison after a losing campaign in 2006. That means the payments could not have been "reasonably related to performing the duties of the office held," and therefore must have been personal in nature.
Did Luther Strange commit the very "crime" in 2006 that he now alleges against Lowell Barron from the 2010 campaign? The answer appears to be yes--and the Strange payments appear to involve a level of deception, and possible personal motivations, that are not present in the Barron payments.
Strange lost the 2006 lieutenant governor's race to Democrat Jim Folsom on November 7, 2006. Campaign-finance reports show the following post-election payments connected to the losing campaign. (See Luther Strange Campaign Expenditures, Part I, at the end of this post.):
* 11/9/06--$17,500 to Alabama Politics, Inc. (consulting)
* 11/10/06--$1,325.57 to Jessica Medeiros Garrison (food/lodging/transportation)
* 11/27/06--$100.24 to Jessica Medeiros Garrison (advertising)
The first payment stands out, both because of the amount and to whom it was paid. Alabama Politics, Inc. is based in Tuscaloosa and owned by Jessica Medeiros Garrison. Records from the Alabama Secretary of State show the company was formed on November 21, 2006, even though the Luther Strange campaign already had made a hefty payment to it on November 9, 2006.
Secretary of State records also show that the firm's name was changed to MDM 27 Holdings Inc. on November 27, 2007, and Garrison became Strange's campaign manager in the 2010 run for attorney general.
As we reported on May 8, the Strange campaign spent $207,015.26 with MDM 27 Holdings, from June 10, 2010, to November 30, 2011. During roughly the same time period, the Strange campaign paid $33,245.07 directly to Garrison.
The indictment against Barron stresses the fact that a number of his payments to Johnson were for "administrative" duties. But records show that Strange made 15 "administrative" expenditures to MDM 27 Holdings Inc. in roughly the same time period as the Barron payments. All but one of the administrative payments to Jessica Garrison's company was in the $10,000 to $30,000 range. The Strange campaign made three payments for "consulting" services, and those were in the $9,000 to $12,000 range.
Were the 2006 payments to Jessica Medeiros Garrison and her company personal in nature? Well, she was pregnant at the time the payments were made--and she gave birth to Michael Lee Garrison on March 27, 2007.
(To be continued)