Luther Strange and
Jessica Medeiros Garrison
Luther Strange, Alabama's current attorney general and one of Riley's closest allies, is making a serious run for the title of "World's Biggest Political Hypocrite." Since Luther stands 6-8, he is a big hypocrite in every sense of the term.
At the heart of the storm is Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who was campaign manager for Strange's 2010 attorney general race and remains one of the AG's closest confidants.
All of this comes to mind because of a recent report from Montgomery Independent publisher Bob Martin, whose work appears in the Atmore News and a number of newspapers around the state. Martin reports that the Alabama Ethics Commission recently ruled that Strange can keep a $100,000 campaign contribution from the Poarch Creek casinos. Writes Martin:
Shortly after The Montgomery Independent reported last October that Mr. Strange accepted the money, an ethics complaint challenging the contribution was filed by Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford.
Ford accused Mr. Strange of threatening raids on the VictoryLand in order to seize its electronic bingo machines, an event that occurred a few months later.
The commission’s general counsel, Hugh R. Evans, has written Mayor Ford that the commission has now closed the case, telling Mr. Ford the commission has carefully reviewed the notebook of information he provided.
How closely did the commission examine the material that Ford submitted? Probably not all that closely. In fact, Martin writes that evidence suggests only Evans, and not the entire commission, reviewed the material.
What grounds did Evans give for rejecting Ford's complaint? He says there is "no nexus between the Poarch Creek Indians' contribution and General Strange." No nexus? Here is an online definition of the word "nexus":
A means of connection; a link or tie
Evans admits in his letter that both Luther Strange and the Alabama Republican Party received money from the Poarch Creeks. In other words, money went from Point A to Point B--and from Point A to Point C. I would call that a pretty serious nexus.
How does Jessica Medeiros Garrison enter the picture? It comes from a press release she produced on March 11, 2010, in the midst of Strange's primary contest against incumbent Troy King. (See full release at the end of this post.)
Garrison takes King to task for accepting gambling money in his campaign. From the press release:
Public records show that at least $190 thousand in campaign contributions from gambling operators, slot machine manufactures and their lobbyists were funneled to the Troy King campaign through a series of PAC to PAC transfers.
On February 18, 2010, Mr. King told radio listeners that he would return contributions made to his campaign if it were shown those funds came directly or indirectly from gambling interests. Research of public records clearly shows the trail of money from gambling interests to political action committees to King.
Garrison goes on to call for King to return the gambling funds, which she claims add up to at least $190,000. She says King might need to return as much as $400,000.
Let's see if we have this straight: In March 2010, Jessica Medeiros Garrison was exorcised over the fact that public records showed Troy King accepted campaign funds from gambling interests. But we now know that just a few months later--between July 15 and August 4, 2010, to be precise--Luther Strange accepted at least $100,000 from gambling interests, specifically the Poarch Creek Indians.
Is Jessica Medeiros Garrison calling on Luther Strange to return funds that he received from gambling interests? We haven't heard a peep out of her. As for Big Luther himself, it appears he intends to keep every dime that the Alabama Ethics Commission says has no "nexus" to the Poarch Creeks.
Jessica and Big Luther have some serious "splainin" to do. They also should be proud that their hypocrisy rivals that of Bob Riley. That, indeed, is quite an achievement.
Jessica Medeiros Garrison Gambling Press Release by Roger Shuler