Saturday, August 12, 2006

Laundering Michael Scanlon's Gambling Money

Mr. Scanlon was first mentioned here on Bama way back in March. In April I noted his connection to Alabama in giving money to four state PACs. Via a Tin Shop Tartan post, I had a comment from "Tim" scolding me for suggesting "Bob Riley" was named in a Senate report on the Choctaw money. I've never believed $13 million was realistic but some gambling money helped Bob Riley beat The Don in 2002. I still think the Governor needs to 'fess up and set the record straight but the statement below seems to be a start at coming clean.

Mr. Scanlon was of course previously Congressman Riley's Press Secretary when he was back in DC but he then moved up the food chain to work for Tom "The Hammer" DeLay. Scanlon entered various guilty pleas back in late 2005 for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandals. He is understood to be cooperating with the authorities, no doubt providing sleepless nights to plenty of pols and other wheeler dealers . The scandal seem to be mostly involving Republicans.

Mary Orndorff and Kim Chandler report in today's B'ham News "Lobbyist's interest in state races dates to '01 : Scanlon said to have funneled cash to Riley ". Bob Riley's camp gave a statement as follows:
"A decade before anyone knew the problems he would face, Michael Scanlon worked for Gov. Riley while he was a member of Congress," Riley spokesman Josh Blades said in a written statement. "It is logical that Scanlon would want to support his former boss in his campaign for governor. Bob Riley has been a life-long opponent of gambling in Alabama, and that fact will never change, regardless of who contributes money to his campaign."

With PAC to PAC transfers legal and providing the ability to hide, at least during an election cycle, sources of funds here in Alabama I'm expecting we'll never have the type of leadership we'll need. Although I'm a fan of "Initiative and Referendum" plus efforts to disclose funding and of course long overdue constitutional reform, I'll offer that my one dream reform would be Alabama/America using some type of "Clean Money Election" system. Public financing of campaigns alone might make the above less needed. If we could simply get some folks down at Goat Hill/up in DC that would actually represent the public rather than the Big Mules then we'd see other reforms fall into place. Peace ... or War!