|John Merrill and Cesaire McPherson|
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who admitted to an extramarital affair last week that caused him to step out of the 2022 race for a U.S. Senate seat, might face impeachment if an investigation shows he used taxpayer resources to facilitate the affair, one state lawmaker says. Aside from that, public documents show Merrill used financial support from one of the state's most powerful corporate entities, Alabama Power, to further his political ambitions, according to a report at banbalch.com -- and that relationship led Merrill to the periphery of a nasty environment-related scandal in the Midwest..
Alabama Power already has sketchy associations to the North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal and a related $75-million lawsuit from a former executive at Drummond Company. Now, public documents show the company has ties to John Merrill and his fondness for the use of butt plugs in intimate moments -- even having sex with his mistress in the Merrill "marital bed"? Yikes, the public-relations woes are mounting at the Power Company. Reports Publisher K.B. Forbes at banbalch.com under the headline "Tied Up and Pinned: Alabama Power Stooge Tumbles in Disgraceful Sex Scandal":
On Wednesday, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill lied about engaging in a scandalous sex affair.
After raunchy texts and audio recordings were released . . ., he admitted to the “tie-her-up-and-bite-me” affair of three years and dropped out as a U.S. Senate candidate.
Merrill is a long-time Alabama Power stooge having received over $13,000 in political contributions from the Alabama Power Employees State PAC.
Merrill has been happy to pay tribute to power-company top dogs:
In December, Merrill honored “the most powerful man in Alabama” Mark A. Crosswhite, the CEO and Chairman of Alabama Power, with an award for keeping the lights on during election night. The awards ceremony was a ridiculous celebration of what utilities are obligated to do: keep the lights on and prevent power outages to a minimum.
Merrill also has done some political dirty work for his benefactors at Alabama Power. Reports Forbes:
Merrill was the same fool who last April attacked Daniel Tait of the Energy and Policy Institute. The Energy and Policy Institute helped bring down the Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder last July in an alleged $60 million bribery ring involving Ohio utilities and well-connected lobbyists, one of whom appears to have committed suicide three weeks ago.
Merrill dispatched an alleged “ghost-written” letter to Tait whining about the Institute’s legal status, funding, and compensation just three months before the debacle in Ohio.
And what provoked that letter?
Scrutiny by the Institute and other environmentalists about electric utility TVA’s failure to respond to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, and opposition to power generation permits before the Alabama Public Service Commission.
And who was requesting those permits?
Merrill stepped into an apparent bribery scandal -- at least on the edges of it -- on Alabama Power's behalf? Yikes! It's not like Merrill needs to invite more scrutiny at the moment. Writes Forbes:
As painful and uncomfortable as it is to hear, Merrill allegedly liked, among other alleged deviant behavior, to have clothes pins put on his nipples, according to his mistress.
Who did Alabama Power or the utility’s goons allegedly have to pinch or tie so that Merrill, like stooge Luther Strange, would sign an alleged “ghost-written” letter that has no relevance to his statewide office or constitutional mandates?
As for scrutiny of Merrill, State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) might be willing to provide some. She compared the Merrill matter to that of disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley. Reports al.com:
An Alabama lawmaker who served with John Merrill in the House of Representatives said there should be an investigation into whether the secretary of state misused state property in carrying out an extramarital affair.
Merrill admitted to the affair Wednesday after the woman involved gave AL.com a recording of a phone call that refuted Merrill’s earlier denials.
Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, said the situation raises concerns that could be similar to what happened with former Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in 2017 after the House started impeachment proceedings and the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause against the governor. An impeachment investigation produced a report that accused Bentley of using state law enforcement to hide evidence of an extramarital affair with his top adviser.
“I do feel that with regards to anything dealing with state funds, state vehicles, state property, I think that there should be a hard look on any matters that will address whether or not the secretary of state was in violation of any state laws,” Givan said.
During an interview with an Al.com reporter Wednesday night Merrill was asked about whether he misused state property. Merrill said at that point he would have no further comment on the situation. Merrill has not returned a call about Givan’s comments today.
While Merrill has pulled the plug on a planned U.S. Senate race, he has not resigned from his current position. Givan suggested pressure could mount for him to resign:
Givan spoke to reporters in the press room on the House floor while representatives met today. There was little or no open talk about Merrill’s situation among lawmakers. But Givan said that could change. She was asked if she thinks there will be a move to impeach Merrill.
“I’m sure there will be a hard discussion, and I’m sure there will eventually be a hard discussion in the Alabama Republican Party,” she said.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon declined to comment on Merrill’s situation or speculate whether it could lead to another impeachment case like four years ago.
“It’s just a sad situation,” McCutcheon said. “I hate he’s going through that with him and his family.”
Givan said her purpose was not to sit in judgment on Merrill’s personal behavior but noted that he holds one of the most important elected offices in the state. The Secretary of State is Alabama’s top election official, among other responsibilities.
“I think it would just be in John’s best interest, if he truly loves the state of Alabama, that he would step down,” Givan said.
“Every year I get a Christmas card from John Merrill and it has his family on it. And it breaks my heart. … We all have fallen short,” Givan said. “I’m not here to judge him in that regard. But in this instance, he is a public official. Had that been me, I would have been asked to step down yesterday."