By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, a group of Alabama citizens announced plans to file an official complaint to the State Bar against US Senator Luther Strange (R) today, April 6, 2017 at 11:15 am.
The groups says that they are like many Alabama citizens, the group has been deeply troubled about Sen. Strange taking Governor Robert Bentley’s appointment to US Senate.
David King said, “We have to hold our political leaders accountable. Everyone in the State knows this smells fishy. We would all cry foul if a prosecutor stopped a white collar crime investigation against a corporation, only then to take a job with the corporation.”
Aaron Smith said, “We can’t look at anyone’s heart and judge their motives, but this just crosses the line. We all felt like we had to take a stand and do something.”
In addition to Smith and King seven other names in total appear on the short bar complaint. The person signing the complaint include: Jerry A. Baker of Warrior, Mary Sturdevant of Birmingham, AL, Jeremy Bradford of Montgomery, Reginald William Smith, Jr. of Northport, Kenneth Mcintyre of Center Point, Dalton Henson of Moulton, Aaron Smith of Moulton, David R. King of Adamsville, and attorney Samuel McLure of Hoover.
Whether the complaint will have any effect is now up to the Alabama State Bar’s Office of General Counsel. After a bar complaint is filed, it’s in the hands of the General Counsel to decide whether or not to pursue discipline.
The group said in their statement that the request to have Senator Strange disbarred is planned to be filed at the Alabama State Bar, 415 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL, at 11:15 today, April 6, 2017. The group announced that they will hold a press conference afterwards to answer any questions.
A number of allegations surfaced against Governor Robert Bentley (R) a little more than a year ago involving campaign finance improprieties and ethics violations surrounding State resources being used to facilitate the Governor’s admitted “inappropriate relationship” with former top political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission. State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) introduced articles of impeachment against Governor Bentley. The full house, after much debate about what to do, submitted the Articles of Impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee for a recommendation. Then Attorney General Luther Strange began a criminal probe into Bentley and his administration.
Since then the Alabama Ethics Commission has conducted their own investigation and on Wednesday night voted that the Governor has likely committed four counts of felony ethics violations and campaign finance violations. The House Judiciary Committee began their own investigation from scratch with no investigation apparatus to speak of and their special counsel, Jack Sharman, appears to be on the verge of recommending that he has uncovered enough evidence to impeach Gov. Bentley in a report that is expected to be released tomorrow. Not only has AG Strange’s investigation failed to produce any indictments to this point, at one point AG Strange even asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) suspend their investigation……a request that Jones complied with. After nothing happened, the Judiciary committee restarted their investigation. The Attorney General’s office has more investigators (the House Judiciary Committee does not even have investigators and had to go out and hire Sharman and his law firm) and more resources than either the House Judiciary Committee or the Alabama Ethics Commission and to this point have yet to find the evidence needed to bring any indictments against Bentley or anybody else.
In the middle of all of this, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States and quickly announced that US Senator Jeff Sessions (R) would be his choice for US Attorney General. AG Strange then asked Gov. Bentley to appoint himself to the US Senate, a request that Bentley granted even though most political insiders thought that Bentley was going to appoint ADECA head Jim Byard to the post instead. This group of citizens think that there may have been a connection between Strange’s actions in the Bentley investigation, that has yet to produce indictment, and Bentley appointing Strange to the US Senate. The Alabama Political Reporter has not actually seen any evidence that that is indeed the case; but there has been widely speculated by pundits and commentators.
Gov. Bentley also appointed Strange’s replacement, Steven Marshall (R). One of the first things that Marshall did upon entering the office was refer the Bentley investigation to a special prosecutor. Critics of Strange question why Strange did not do the same thing while he was lobbying the Governor to send him to the US Senate.