Tuesday, March 6, 2018

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is accused of campaign-finance irregularities, perhaps fallout from an alliance with Rob Riley and his history of FEC violations

Doug Jones
An alliance with some of Alabama's creepiest Republicans might already be coming back to bite U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) on the butt. A D.C.-based watchdog group yesterday filed a complaint, alleging that a pro-Jones super PAC violated campaign-finance laws. That's appropriate given that Jones has been in bed for years with at least one GOP operative who has a history of playing fast and loose with campaign-finance laws.

Yesterday's news tends to show Alabama opposition researcher and whistle blower Jill Simpson was remarkably prescient when she stated last October that Jones was resorting to the kind of underhanded campaign tactics widely associated with Republicans.

The campaign-finance complaint, filed by the Campaign Legal Center, focuses on the Highway 31 super PAC, which apparently was largely responsible for Jones' victory last December over Republican Roy Moore. From a report at al.com:

A nonpartisan campaign watchdog group filed a complaint Monday against a pro-Doug Jones super PAC for failing to disclose its donors before the special election.

The Campaign Legal Center is accusing the Highway 31 super PAC of engaging in a "secrecy scheme to spend $4.2 million in the race" to aid Jones, a spokesman for the center told AL.com.

Highway 31's sole report to the Federal Election Commission before the election said it spent $1.15 million but raised no money. The group, headquarted in Birmingham, claimed its vendors lent them the money on credit.

Two weeks after the Dec. 12 special election between Jones and Republican Roy Moore, Senate Majority PAC -- a Democratic super PAC based in D.C. -- told the Associated Press that it was Highway 31's main backer.

The Campaign Legal Center's complaint to the FEC accuses Highway 31 of not disclosing that fact and misrepresenting its donors.

If proven true, the allegations would suggest Jones has brought shame on the Democratic Party, which tends to hold the moral high ground over Republicans -- and that's not a hard thing to do. From al.com:

"Democrats talk the talk about supporting transparency in political money, but then national Democratic groups push aggressive new legal theories to undermine the transparency laws that are on the books," said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at the center. "Despite laws requiring that super PACs disclose their donors, Alabama voters went to the polls on election day without knowing who was backing Highway 31. This secrecy scheme cooked up by Highway 31 and its backers threatens to create a new disclosure loophole that will be exploited by billionaires and operatives supporting both parties, unless the FEC does its job and enforces our disclosure laws."

Perhaps this is what happens when you jump in bed with oily GOP operative Rob Riley. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) in 2008 fined Riley $10,000 for ethical violations related to campaign finance. From our post on the subject in 2010:

Rob Riley, the son of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, paid a $10,000 fine in 2008 for his role in a decade-old campaign-finance ethics case.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced the fine in a press release dated June 20, 2008. But we can find no record that the story was reported in any of Alabama's major newspapers.

Was the story covered up by Alabama's mainstream press, and if so, why? Riley was fined for his connections to Triad Management Services, a Republican consulting firm that apparently was engaged in money laundering.
Yep, the story proved too hot for Alabama's somnolent press, but The Washington Post took it on. From an article by reporter Derek Kravitz:

The case centered on a $3 million political advertising blitz aimed at bolstering Republican candidates in the closing weeks of the 1996 election, which was financed by donations from leading conservative contributors to a company called Triad Management Services.

Triad billed itself as a consulting firm devoted to keeping the Republican majority in Congress, according to promotional materials in 1995 and 1996. Carolyn S. Malenick, a noted Republican donor and former fundraiser for Oliver L. North's Freedom Alliance, operated the firm as its president and sole owner. Robert L. Cone, a former Pennsylvania executive of the Graco children's products company, was Triad's primary source of funding.

What was Triad's goal? Kravitz writes:

Donors' money went from Triad to two political action committees, Citizens for the Republic Education Fund and Citizens for Reform, which financed television and radio commercials and sent out mass mailings in what their officials have said was an effort to counter organized labor's efforts on behalf of Democrats, investigators said.

In other words, it was a money-laundering operation. And Rob Riley was in the middle of it, on behalf of his father, who then was running for a Congressional seat during the time period covered. Kravitz provides details about the offenders, including this one:

-- Robert Riley Jr., the son of Rep. Bob Riley (R-Ala.), and his father's campaign committee paid a $10,000 civil fine for making and accepting excessive contributions, but denied purposely flouting ethics laws.

Hah, typical Rob Riley -- couldn't tell the truth if it kicked him in the crotch. Jill Simpson has been unmasking Riley for a long time, and it's likely she's not surprised by the campaign-finance violations now lodged against Doug Jones. In fact, she more or less predicted something like this would happen, given Jones' tendency to plant his lips firmly on Rob Riley's ass -- and the asses of affiliated Republicans. Said Simpson, almost five months ago, about a Russia-based cyber attack against Jones' opponent, Roy Moore:

It appears Doug's Republican friends at the Canary and Riley camp thought they could dump a bunch of . . . Oleg Deripaska Russian spy bots on Moore's Web site and get away with it.

Well Roy has caught them and apparently reported those bots immediately. And the way he knew it was caused by Doug's sorry bunch is they had alerted the press within minutes of it happening. Everyone should watch closely as Doug Jones is not running the typical Democratic campaign in Alabama; even his ad says that he will work with Republicans to get stuff done. He does not say that about Democrats; in his ad, he specifically mentions working with Republicans.

[Jones] is the big Alabama Business Council and Chamber of Commerce candidate; they have let everyone know through the press in the past week they don't support Moore. Doug Jones is their swamp monster in the race, and both the religious right and the progressives know it -- and it is disgusting what a fast trick the Canary team has pulled on the true Democrats in Alabama, who ought to throw Canary and his gang out of Democratic headquarters. Doug has been the Riley-Canary pick all along.

The corrupt Riley-Canary bunch love Old Doug Jones, the so-called Democrat who in his ad says he will go to Washington to help Republicans get things done. Democrats in Alabama are nuts if they vote for this very corrupt Riley-Canary Democrat. Why do the Republicans like Jones so much? Because he helped them send our beloved Progressive Democratic Governor Don Siegelman to prison -- and helped them harass Milton McGregor, a person they see as an opponent to their big casino donor, the Poarch Creek Indians. And I might add Milton always funded Democrats when they were winning, but Republicans have tied him up in court messes.

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