Connect with us

Bill Britt

JIC’s bogus, twisted excuses for denying records in Moore case

Bill Britt

Published

on

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Special Alabama Supreme Court appointed to hear the appeal of Chief Justice Roy Moore suspension on December 7, sent an order to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) giving them fourteen days to show cause as to why the Motion to Intervene and Unseal filed by The Alabama Political Reporter should not be granted.

See reply

The JIC on Monday, December 19, answered the court, claiming it had a constitutional mandate to keep all records confidential. So insistent on this position under the State’s 1901 Constitution, they cited the provision no less than five times.

In a seventeen page response from John L. Carroll, Rosa Davis and R. Ashby Pate, the JIC asserts: “The presumption of open court proceedings and the Chief Justice’s own consent to lifting the seal are insufficient to overcome the Alabama Constitution’s strict confidentiality mandate that [a]ll proceedings of the [JIC] shall be confidential, except the filing of a complaint with the [COJ].”

Advertisement

With those few words, these lawyers confirmed that they, in fact, consider the JIC a “Star Chamber” beholden to no one. The term today, as in the days of the British Royal Empire, is synonymous with misuse and abuse of power by authoritarian governments.

The JIC has a secret hiding in those court records, something that will embarrass both the members of the commission as well possibly some on the Alabama Supreme Court.

The sealing of the records was not s JIC proceeding as they assert, but a Supreme Court matter, under whose order the case was sealed.

Is the JIC hiding information about leaks to The New York Times that was cited in Justice Moore’s original filings? Was there collusion between members of the JIC and the Supreme Court?

In answering the Special Supreme Court the JIC states, “The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision to leave the seal in place was not an abuse of discretion…and also claims ” the JIC has never (their emphasis) taken a position on this issue.”

What Jennifer Garrett, executive director of the JIC, as well as its members hope, is that the seven members of the Special Supreme Court will be naive about the law or simply roll over and play dead like the justices who recused themselves in the matter.

Hopefully, the dishonesty of denying Judge Moore’s request for a fair, transparent and public airing of the actions taken to suspend him for the rest of his term in office, will not be lost on the Special Supreme Court.

The JIC’s reckless and rogue behavior has not been lost on Senators Dick Brewbaker and Bill Hightower, who want to see changes in the JIC; even abolishing it altogether.

This latest excuse for keeping the truth from the public is yet another example of what is wrong with the JIC.

The legislature should move swiftly to rein in this outlaw commission, which thumbs it nose at justice while hiding behind her skirts. It is APR’s intention to expose what they are hiding no matter how long it takes.

Editors note: Obviously, the JIC commissioners are unfamiliar with the work of APR. We never quit, never give in and never stop working.

More Editors note: For nearly a year, the JIC’s webpage just supplied an address and phone number. Recently, the site as been populated with the names of the commissioner and some of the rules under which it operates.

http://judicial.alabama.gov/JIC/JIC.cfm

 

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

A move to reunify BCA is underway

Bill Britt

Published

on

Reconciliation efforts are underway to salvage the Business Council of Alabama after a very public split with some of its most influential members.

Those close to the negotiations speaking on background say recent talks have been productive, but there are still many details that must be agreed upon before a reunification occurs.

The forced exit of President and CEO Billy Canary earlier this month was the first step toward restoring BCA’s reputation and mending fences.

Individuals who are negotiating rapprochement are looking to restructure BCA’s governance to ensure that any future leader will not exercise the unchecked authority wielded by Canary. They also want to make BCA more equitable, fair and balanced in its representation of its members.

Beyond the mechanics of structure is the need for a strong leader who can restore not only confidence in the once powerful organization but also one who can navigate the state’s political landscape while enduring the inevitable discord that comes with change.

Advertisement

There is a level of hope that an improved structure and new leadership might be in place by BCA’s summer conference, which begins August 10 at Point Clear. But even those involved in the process know it’s a tall order to fill given the short window of opportunity.

Perhaps the most significant challenge is identifying an individual who can articulate a vision for BCA, inspire confidence in its members and ensure elected officials that they are dealing with an honest broker.

There is much at stake in the upcoming legislative session, not only because it is the first year of the quadrennium, when hard tasks are generally achieved, but the 2019 session will also welcome many new legislators not necessarily in step with BCA due to a bruising primary season.

People may forgive, but they often do not forget, and there are many bridges to build.

Lawmakers will be wise to remember the warning of President Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.”

For a revitalizing transition to occur, a clean sweep of BCA’s leadership team is imperative, as those who served the old guard must be replaced or else it’s a false start doomed to fail.

BCA would be wise to move away from the partisan approach taken over the last eight years and look to establish relationships that favor business-friendly legislation without bright lines of division.

In business as in life, sharp breaks are sometimes required and often are inevitable, but this doesn’t have to be one of those times.

Now is an hour for wise deliberation, difficult choices and bold resolve to strengthen the entire business community and not merely to fortify the narrow interests of a few.

Over the last year, good and honest leaders called for BCA to do what was right. That fight hopefully can be put aside to now do what is best.

 

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

The fix was in

Bill Britt

Published

on

Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson’s ruling to allow out-of-state political action committees to donate to in-state campaigns without disclosing its donors through PAC-to-PAC transfers may be the legal fulcrum Democrats need to target key Republican officeholders in the state.

On Wednesday, attorney general candidate Troy King filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to prevent his opponent, appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall, and his campaign from using donations it received from the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA) which doesn’t disclose some of its mega-donors by using PAC-to-PAC transfers.

Judge Anderson ruled against King and dismissed the lawsuit in Marshall’s favor.

Marshall, unlike an ordinary plaintiff, wasn’t present at the hearing before Judge Anderson, which should have alerted the public that the fix was already in.

The State’s Ethics Commission will likely weigh-in on King’s question soon— finding that RAGA’s actions were unlawful—but Thursday’s judgment holds for now, with no consequences for Marshall, win or lose.

Advertisement

In 2010, the state’s newly minted Republican supermajority outlawed PAC-to-PAC transfers as part of its effort to show voters that there was a new day in Montgomery politics.

Since 2010, both Republicans and Democrats have found ways to circumvent FPCA restrictions, but until Thursday, there wasn’t a court ruling that opened a flooded-gate to renew PAC-to-PAC campaigns using outside interest groups.

Republican conservatives who believe that undisclosed donors shouldn’t control the state’s election process through hidden contributions should worry.

Is it now legal for pro-abortion groups to finance judicial races with stealth campaign donations to defeat pro-life candidates like Supreme Court Justices like Tom Parker?

What about Gov. Kay Ivey? Is it now legal for The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) to upend her campaign with hidden contributions to her rival, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox?

Ethic Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton has all but definitively stated that RAGA’s contributions are illegal, but it’s too little too late for this election.

Perhaps none of this matters because it seems that many of the Republicans who passed these bans in 2010, don’t seem to honestly believe in them or any of the ethics reforms that they once championed.

So once again, it’s winning, not the law, that matters, or as a prominent Montgomery attorney said, “When you have a Democrat judge, a Democrat lawyer and a Democrat attorney general what else did you expect?”

More, I guess.

 

Continue Reading

Bill Britt

Opinion | BCA takes out the trash, finally

Bill Britt

Published

on

In a last-ditch effort to save the Business Council of Alabama from the dung heap of political obscurity, President and CEO Billy Canary was pushed out of the business association late last Friday after he waged an ugly and protracted battle to remain in power.

Canary’s fight to keep his job has left the once powerful business interests a hollow and factored alliance with an uncertain future. He didn’t care if he destroyed BCA; it was all about his ambitions.

For years, Canary, along with now-convicted felon former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and former Gov. Bob Riley, reigned over an unparalleled orgy of greed and corruption.

Canary, Hubbard and Riley’s perverse domination of the state’s political landscape was supreme, and even now, the tentacles of their profiteering are evident from the Capitol to the State House and beyond.

Even during this election cycle, Canary has used BCA’s political arm, Progress PAC, to back disreputable candidates who seek to overturn the state ethics laws that convicted Hubbard, advocate for so-called education reform that profits Riley’s business interests and to stall efforts to create a statewide lottery in favor of gambling concessions for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Advertisement

During Hubbard’s last years in office, PCI Vice Chair Robbie McGhee joined forces with Hubbard, in hopes of exercising more sway over Republican legislators. Over the previous year, he coupled the tribe to Canary with the same end in mind. McGhee, who faces a reelection challenge in August, casts himself as a Hubbard-Canary protege. Even now, he tells candidates who come calling for campaign contributions, “We are BCA,” meaning the tribe, under Canary, is controlling many decisions being made at the business association.

McGee, like Hubbard and Canary, is viewed by many as a pariah in the state capital where he still hopes to further the Tribe’s gambling operations by lavishing money and entertainment on Republican lawmakers. Twice now, McGhee has chosen poorly and tarnished the Tribe’s reputation in the bargain. With McGhee’s backing, Canary gave at least $250,000.00 to appointed Attorney General Steve Marshall so that he will continue Riley’s bingo wars.

Hubbard stands convicted on 12 felony counts of using his office for personal gain and other criminal violations of the state’s Ethics Act, yet he remains free because of the corrupting influence of Canary and others of his ilk.

During Hubbard’s trial, Canary said, “I love Mike Hubbard like a brother.” He even waxed poetic, saying his friendship with Hubbard, “Blossomed like any blessing in life.”

So infectious are the remnants of their power that even after two years Hubbard remains free because Court of Criminal Appeals Justices Samuel Henry Welch, J. Elizabeth Kellum, Liles C. Burke and J. Michael Joiner will not rule on his conviction.

Canary, in a face-saving announcement, says he is taking a position as a, “senior fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” which is a nothing job.

Canary, like Hubbard and Riley, pimped the state like a cheap whore, and now he’s busted for the user he is. He left BCA in shambles, and don’t think for a minute that the coalition that left BCA isn’t coming back just because the executive committee finally took out the trash.

Continue Reading

Authors

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

JIC’s bogus, twisted excuses for denying records in Moore case

by Bill Britt Read Time: 3 min
0