News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Three strikes: What game is Troy King playing?

To The Daily: Attorney General Troy King has thrice come under criticism for his questionable behavior disclosed by The Birmingham News. First, King asked ousted Chancellor Roy Johnson of the two-year college system to hire the mother of one of his staff’s attorneys into community college while Johnson was under investigation from King’s office.

Secondly, King accepted Atlanta Braves tickets, food and the use of the luxury skybox for himself, his family and a few church members from Alabama Power Co. without filing the activity with Alabama Ethics Commission.

Thirdly, King sought grant money for a victim’s advocacy program from then-Chancellor Johnson while he was being investigated by King’s office.

The phrases such as “bad decision,” “poor judgment,” and “done nothing wrong” are inexcusable for King’s explanation. King has justified the “favors” by saying that politicians receive “freebies” from special interest groups all the time. King is correct.

The Montgomery Advertiser disclosed that Gov. Bob Riley had access to a corporate jet from Goff Group Inc. during two trips of his 2002 gubernatorial campaigns. The cost was $25,000, of which Gov. Riley paid $8,000 in January.

The Birmingham News also reported the power shift in the Alabama Senate from Riley’s bipartisan coalition. “The day before Sen. Phil Poole, D-Moundville, switched sides, he received a $10,000 campaign contribution from the Alabama Education Association.” These revelations demonstrate a greater need for the Legislature to be serious in passing stronger ethics law, as well as to consider banning PAC-to-PAC transfers of money. Politicians know their contributors, but the public knows not the hidden sources (loopholes) of contributors.

Had the state ethics panel approved a “three strikes rule,” King would be resigning his office now.

Isaiah J. Ashe

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