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Roy Moore addresses Tuscaloosa’s American Christian Academy

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore spoke to the student body at Tuscaloosa’s American Christian Academy. Moore discussed the sacrifice that America’s veterans have made and the importance of acknowledging God in his keynote speech to the school body in their Veterans Memorial Day Service.

“This is an exciting time in our country, because so many people are turning back to what America is about,” Judge Moore said.

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Judge Moore said at the beginning of this assembly, “we said a Pledge to the flag of the United States to ‘One nation under God.’  ‘Under God’ was put in the Pledge after World War II during the presidency of Dwight David Eisenhower (R) and they put that in the pledge for a particular reason. It was put in there out of respect for the country and for respect of God.  In a lot of countries you can’t go out and protest. We have a right to protest and we should protest when we see a wrong that needs to be addressed; but you shouldn’t do it at a time when you honor the country and those veterans who served the country,” – referring to athletes kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Moore said that you don’t hear a lot of politicians talking about morality. That is because we don’t understand what that means any more. “Right and wrong comes from God. Unless we recognize that we don’t understand where our rights come from.”

“The right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue your happiness,” Moore said. “I am seeking to be a part of the government. Government is here to protect those rights that are granted by God. This is the only country in the world where where our rights come from is written in our founding documents.”

Moore quoted the first lines of the Declaration of Independence: “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. This was taken by Jefferson from Blackstone’s Commentaries. It is the American government under God that we recognize. Without God we would lose those right: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”

“Maybe the tragedies we face in this country today are punishments,” Moore said. “I don’t know that. I am not God; but maybe He has removed his protections in hope that we will turn back to Him.” Moore said that there have been other times in our history when we have turned away from God. The first time was in the years after the Revolution.  The Constitution put us back on the path. During the war between the states, at the Battle of Gettysburg, over 50,000 men died in three days. We hear a lot about Pearl Harbor, where 2,800 people died, and that was a serious tragedy; over 3,000 died in the twin towers on 9/11, but 50,000 died in just this one battle. A few months earlier, things looked really bad so the Senate passed a resolution asking President Abraham Lincoln (R) to proclaim a national day of fast and prayer.

Moore quoted from Lincoln’s speech that day: April 30, 1863: “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

“Lincoln was recognizing then that we in this country needed God and we need God today.”  Moore said. “God is the source of our life. When we recognize God we realize why were are here.”

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Moore also quoted from the Gettysburg Address.

“Someday YOU will be up running for office or raising children or serving in the military or serving in a profession like healthcare or running schools; but what you are learning here at American Christian Academy will serve you in all of the things that you do,” Moore told the student body. “A lot of people don’t get that anymore.”

Speaking of veterans, Moore said, “Those people gave their lives fighting for their country, for their land, and for their God now it is up to you to carry it forward.”

Moore said that he has been married to his wife, Kayla, for 32 years, and they have four children and five grandchildren. “One of my children is in the Army and my son, Caleb, is in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and will be in the Army.”

The American Christian Academy is at 2300 Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Veteran’s Day will be celebrated on Friday, November 10.

The Senate special election will be on Dec. 12, 2017.

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Elections

Ethics Commission clears Luther Strange

Josh Moon

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Luther Strange is off the hook.

The executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission told APR on Wednesday that the commission determined a few sessions ago that allegations that Strange violated campaign finance laws were unfounded.

The two allegations, which were filed by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office during Strange’s special election campaign for U.S. Senate last year, were considered potential felonies and centered around Strange’s federal Senate campaign transferring funds to his state-level attorney general’s campaign account.

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Ethics Commission executive director Tom Albritton said several factors went into determining that Strange had not violated the law. Most importantly: “The statute controlling the transfer from a federal campaign account to a state campaign account requires the candidate to be a state or local candidate. Luther Strange was not,” Albritton said.

Merrill disagreed with the commission’s decision, saying his staff’s understanding of the applicable laws forbids Strange from making the campaign account transfers in question.

“We understand that the Ethics Commission can do whatever they want with the things we send them,” Merrill said. “We do not agree with their finding, but it’s not our job to rule. It’s our job to pass along the violations. We did our job.”

While the laws governing the issue are complicated, the transfers at the center of the debate are fairly easy to understand. In December of 2016, Strange’s federal campaign account, in a series of transfers, sent a little over $1,400 to his state-level campaign account. The money was being used to pay for an already-purchased website domain.

The problem was the $1,400 exceeded the $1,000 threshold allowable for the transfers and also fell outside of the 120-day window. Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley was forced to resign after accepting a donation outside of the 120-day window.

But according to Albritton, that’s where the mixing of federal and state laws make things murky. Because in addition to Strange, who was running for U.S. Senate, not being a state-level candidate, the law also requires the transfer to be a campaign contribution before it can be considered illegal.

“The transfer was made in order to reimburse the state campaign for an unintentional payment by the state campaign for the domain maintenance fee for the domain that the federal campaign had already purchased,” Albritton said. “It was not intended to influence the election of a state or local candidate.

“Federal law preempts state law in this circumstance. Federal campaign finance laws required the reimbursement for the state campaign. If they had not repaid it, it would have been a violation of federal campaign laws.”

Albritton said that Merrill and his office can forward their findings directly to the Alabama AG’s office if they feel a mistake has been made.

The Ethics Commission decision on the matter will likely add fuel to what is becoming a fiery feud between it and Merrill’s office. Just last week, Merrill was particularly critical of the Commission’s decision to pass on issuing fines to candidates, businesses and PACs that failed to file campaign finance reports on time.

During an interview with APR last week, Merrill was asked whether his allegations against Strange had been resolved by the Ethics Commission. At that time, he said he wasn’t sure, prompting APR to raise the question with Albritton. It doesn’t appear as if the decision on the Strange allegations has been previously reported in the media.

 

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Elections

A quick snapshot of campaign cash after primaries

Bill Britt

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Since the June 5 primary, candidates have only been required to file major contribution reports of $25,000 and over, so understanding the financial health of any campaign is difficult to ascertain.

In the Lt. Governor’s race, Rep. Will Ainsworth has loaned his campaign $500,000, while his opponent, PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh, hasn’t reported any new contributions. In their last reports, Cavanaugh had $165,439.56 on hand, and Ainsworth had $670,233.34, which includes the $500,000 loan.

The last filings in the Attorney General’s contest show Steve Marshall with $48,794.15 to Troy King’s $36,127.04. The two will face each other in the July 17 Republican Party runoff.

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Democrat attorney general contender Joe Siegelman last reported having $113,450.44 in his account. He will compete with either King or Marshall in the November general election.

The Republican runoff for Agriculture Commissioner finds BCA backed candidate Lowdnesboro Mayor Rick Pate with $4,107.44 in cash, with his challenger, State Senator Gerald Dial, reporting $107,634.45.

Gov. Kay Ivey received one major contribution of $25,000 from Cullman resident Roy Drinkard, while her Democrat rival Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hasn’t reported any similar fundraising efforts.

These cash totals are a snapshot of fundraising, with approximately two weeks before the next FCPA reports are required.

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PowerSouth CEO explains why companies are leaving BCA

Bill Britt

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PowerSouth President and CEO Gary L. Smith may have made the most transparent case for why the state’s marquee corporations are in a steady exodus from the Business Council of Alabama.

“Our problem with BCA is simply Billy Canary and his leadership,” wrote Smith in the company’s withdrawal letter to BCA Chairman Perry Hand. “Billy has been effective in the past, but in our opinion, Billy is now a severe liability and must be replaced for BCA to again be effective.”

In April, Alabama Political Reporter broke the news that seven of the state’s leading companies were parting ways with BCA if Canary was not replaced by June.

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Billy Canary out at BCA, sort of 

After APR‘s story broke that the BCA Executive Committee had agreed to replace Canary, it was Hand who took to an internet newsletter to claim our story was false. However, Smith’s letter obtained by APR proves Hand lied. “You indicated the BCA Executive Committee agrees a leadership change is needed, but we have serious disagreements about the timing of the replacement,” wrote Smith.

In fact, the Executive Committee agreed it was time for Canary to go, but Hand and a few Canary loyalists invented a reason to keep Canary around until 2019. As Smith points out, not only is Canary staying in place, he is also included in selecting his replacement.

Smith states, “Billy’s continuing involvement in the search for his replacement,” as well as, “his involvement in the leadership transition,” is a severe problem.

Smith further writes, “We have no interest in participating in or supporting an organization that Billy heads, influence through his choice of successor, or can manipulate through a transitional plan. It is simply time to completely sever the relationship before further damage is done to the organization.”

To date, Alabama Power Company, PowerSouth, Regions Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield and BCA legal counsel Boots Gale have fled BCA due to Canary’s failed leadership and Hand’s obstinate refusal to see the wisdom of his immediate replacement.

 

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Roy Moore addresses Tuscaloosa’s American Christian Academy

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
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