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Is Daniel Boman Trying to Make Troy Smithwick Something Less of a Rare Bird?

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By Thomas Scovill

Madison—Troy Smithwick of Talladega was a losing candidate in the 2008 primary for the state school board. In 2011 he was convicted of two violations of Alabama’s Fair Campaign Practices Act. He failed to file the annual campaign finance report required for 2008 and he misreported the name of The Real Democrat PAC which had a made a $100,000 contribution to his Republican primary campaign.

In his press release on the Smithwick case, Attorney General Strange stated “Campaign finance disclosure laws are an essential part of an open and honest government” and that “When these laws are disregarded and broken, the integrity of our government is threatened. The Office of Attorney General is committed to investigating and prosecuting such violations and to protecting our citizen’s trust in the integrity of their public representatives.”

Yet as far as Google seems to know, Smithwick is the only person in recent years to have been convicted of violating the FCPA. Perhaps Daniel Boman aims to change that.

In 2010 Daniel Boman of Sulligent was elected to represent district 16 in the Alabama House of Representatives. He was elected as a Republican but switched to Democrat in 2011. He is now running against incumbent Congressman Robert Aderholt as the Democrat candidate in Alabama’s  congressional district 4.

In 2010 Boman filed three pre-election campaign finance reports and in January 2011 he filed the required annual report for 2010. These reports are fraught with issues, and he has not filed  the annual report for 2011 which was due in January 2012 – the same offense Smithwick was convicted of last year.

The missing 2011 annual report is significant and not merely because it is required by law. Without the missing report for 2011, citizens cannot know what became of nearly $108,000 of campaign debt that Boman reported at the end of 2010 in his annual report for that year.

His 2010 reports show loans (mostly from himself) of $80,250 which presumably is included in the debt reported. There is an unaccounted debt of almost $28,000. Presumably this reflects some combination of  additional spending  or borrowing which should have been but was not reported. This may be part of a larger effort to avoid reporting receipts and expenditures before the election.

Boman also circumvented the FCPA by not reporting the large majority of his expenditures until after his last pre-election report of October 28. He reported spending about $82,000 in 2010. Before the election he reported spending only about $15,000. He reported additional spending of $67,000 after his last pre-election report, and over $47,000 of this amount was spent after his last pre-election report and on or before election day on November 2. He reported spending about $20,000 after the election.

Less than 20 percent of Boman’s campaign spending was reported to the voters before the election. His  pre-election reporting is substantially incomplete and there is a case to say he should not have been certified as the winner of the general election.

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There are other problems with Boman’s campaign finance reports. They are fraught with incomplete or missing addresses and dates. He did not itemize $4,500 of payments to himself. He made $400 of impermissible contributions to a payee who is not tax exempt, i.e., Oak Hill Country Club. He did not report paying a filing fee for the 2010 Republican primary. During the 2010 special session he took an impermissible contribution of $500 and he spent $196 for lodging, an impermissible personal living expense. And given the mess of his reporting, one should wonder whether he issued 1099’s to the persons to whom he made payments of $19,000 for labor.

Perhaps Daniel Boman should spend more time getting campaign finance right and less time musing on the sexual orientation of his congressional election opponent. In the mean time, do you think Troy Smithwick will remain the rare bird that he is today?

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“Campaign finance disclosure laws are an essential part of an open and honest government,” said Attorney General Strange. “When these laws are disregarded and broken, the integrity of our government is threatened. The Office of Attorney General is committed to investigating and prosecuting such violations and to protecting our citizen’s trust in the integrity of their public representatives.”

 

 

References:

FCPA Section 17-5-8

(b) Each principal campaign committee, political action committee, and elected state and local official covered under the provisions of this chapter, shall annually file with the Secretary of State or judge of probate, as designated in Section 17-5-9, reports of contributions and expenditures made during that year. The annual reports required under this subsection shall be made on or before January 31 of the succeeding year.

(c) Each report under this section shall disclose:

(10) The amount and nature of debts and obligations owed by or to the committee or elected official, together with a statement as to the circumstances and conditions under which any such debt or obligation was extinguished and the consideration therefor.

 

Section 17-5-2.

(a)(5) EXPENDITURE.

a. The following shall be considered expenditures:

1. A purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value made for the purpose of influencing the result of an election.

2. A contract or agreement to make any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, for the purpose of influencing the result of an election.

3. The transfer, gift, or contribution of funds of a political committee to another political committee.

 

 

NEWS RELEASE Luther Strange Alabama Attorney General FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 2, 2011 For More Information, contact: Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491 Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351 Page 1 of 1 501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300 www.ago.alabama.gov

 

AG ANNOUNCES SENTENCING FOR CAMPAIGN LAW CONVICTION

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Luther Strange announced the sentencing today of a former state school board candidate for campaign finance disclosure violations. Troy W. Smithwick Jr., 68, of Sylacauga, was convicted in Talladega County Circuit Court on September 20 of two counts of violating the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act. He was sentenced today to a suspended sentence of four months on each count in the county jail to run concurrently, and given 12 months probation. He also received a $500 fine on each count, plus other court costs and assessments.

The Attorney General’s Office presented evidence to a jury in Talladega County resulting in the convictions for which he was sentenced today. In the first count, Smithwick was convicted of failing to file an annual report, as required by Code of Alabama Section 17-5-8(b). The evidence showed that Smithwick, who was an unsuccessful candidate for state school board in the 2008 Republican primary, knowingly did not file an annual report of contributions and expenditures by January 31, 2009, as required by state law. For the second count, Smithwick was convicted of improperly reporting a campaign contribution, in violation of Code of Alabama Section 17-5-8(c)(2). The evidence showed that Smithwick received a campaign contribution from “The Real Democrat PAC” (“TRD PAC”) for $100,000 in May of 2008, but that he knowingly reported that the contribution came instead from the “Tennessee Valley Citizens for Economic Development PAC.”

“Campaign finance disclosure laws are an essential part of an open and honest government,” said Attorney General Strange. “When these laws are disregarded and broken, the integrity of our government is threatened. The Office of Attorney General is committed to investigating and prosecuting such violations and to protecting our citizen’s trust in the integrity of their public representatives.”

Attorney General Strange commended those involved in bringing this case to a successful conclusion, noting in particular Assistant Attorneys General Bill Lisenby and Pete Smyczek and Paralegal Lori Arnold of the Attorney General’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division, and Assistant Attorneys General Ben Baxley, Thomas Govan, and Brenda Smith for their work on the case, as well as special agents of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division.

 

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Health

Three mental health crisis centers coming to Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville

“Today marks a culture change in Alabama for treatment of individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders,” Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey Press held a press conference with Alabama Dept. of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear for the announcement of Crisis Center Awards Wednesday, October 28, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced an $18 million project to create three new mental health crisis centers to be located in Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville. 

These centers, once in operation, will reduce the number of people suffering from mental health crises who are hospitalized or jailed, Ivey said during a press briefing in front of the Capitol Building in Montgomery. 

“When these facilities are open and fully staffed, these centers will become a safe haven for people facing mental health challenges,” Ivey said. 

Lynn Beshear, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, said during the briefing that the centers will provide “recovery based” care with “short term stays of a few hours, or up to a few days, to provide treatment, support, and connection to care in the community.” 

“Today marks a culture change in Alabama for treatment of individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders,” Beshear said. 

Beshear said AltaPointe Health in Mobile will operate one of the three facilities, and once built it is to serve Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe and Washington counties with 21 new beds, including 15 temporary observation beds. Altapointe will begin with a temporary space while constructing the new facilities, she said. 

Beshear said the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority is partnering with the East Alabama Mental Health Authority and the Central Alabama Mental Health Authority to serve the 11 counties in Region 3 with 21 new beds, including 10 temporary observation and respite beds. 

“The regional crisis center will be located in Montgomery, and will be open to walk-ins and for drop off by law enforcement, first responders and referrals from emergency rooms,” Beshear said. 

Wellstone Behavioral Health in Huntsville was selected to open the third center, and will do so at a temporary site while a new facility is being built, with the help of an additional $2.1 million from local governments, Beshear said. That facility will eventually have 39 beds, including 15 for temporary observation and 24 for extended observation.

“There’s not a day that goes by that after-hours care is not an issue in our state,” said Jeremy Blair, CEO of Wellstone Behavioral Health, speaking at the press conference. “And so I applaud the Department of Mental Health and the leaders for their efforts in recognizing that and taking it a step further and funding our efforts here.” 

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Asked by a reporter why a center wasn’t located in Jefferson County, one of the most populous counties with a great need for such a center, Ivey said those residents will be served in one of the other regions. 

“Plans are underway to continue this effort. Today’s beginning, with these three crisis centers, is just the beginning,” Ivey said. 

Ivey added that request for proposals were sent out for these three centers and “it was a strong competition for the location of these three crisis centers.” 

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, said during the briefing that more than a year ago, Ivey asked him what the state should be looking at, and that he replied “we’re failing miserably in mental health.”

Gov. Kay Ivey Press held a press conference with Alabama Dept. of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear and House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter for the announcement of Crisis Center Awards Wednesday, October 28, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

Ledbetter said Ivey asked him to take on the challenge of correcting the state’s response to mental health, and a team was created to do just that. 

“Working together, today’s announcement will not only change Alabamians lives, but will help to save lives,” Ledbetter said.

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Health

Ainsworth returns to work after testing positive for COVID

Ainsworth’s office on Sept. 21 announced he had tested positive earlier that week, having been tested after someone in his Sunday school class tested positive for the disease. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth speaks during a video message. (LT. GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)

Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth on Wednesday announced that he was returning to work that day and had met public health requirements for quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 some time last week.

Ainsworth’s office on Sept. 21 announced he had tested positive earlier that week, having been tested after someone in his Sunday school class tested positive for the disease. 

“While many have battled with coronavirus, my symptoms never progressed beyond some mild congestion that I usually experience with seasonal allergies,” Ainsworth said in a statement. “During the quarantine period, I participated in several Zoom calls, caught up on some office work, spent some quality time with my family, and completed a number of overdue projects on my farm.”

Members of Ainsworth’s staff who were in close contact with him haven’t tested positive for COVID-19 but will remain in quarantine for a full 14-day period as a precaution, according to a press release from Ainsworth’s office Wednesday. 

“Ainsworth once again urges all Alabamians to practice personal responsibility, which may include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing whenever possible, and taking other precautions to lessen chances of exposure to COVID-19,” the press release states.

Ainsworth still disagrees with Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask mandate, he said. According to the release, he considers such orders “a one-size-fits-all governmental overreach that erodes basic freedoms and liberties while removing an individual’s right to make their own health-related choices.” 

The wearing of cloth or medical masks has been proven to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 and the more people who wear masks, the better. While not perfect, masks limit the spread of respiratory droplets that may contain infectious virus shed from the nose and mouth of the mask wearer.

It is possible — even likely — for symptomatic, pre-symptomatic and mildly symptomatic people to spread the virus. That’s why it’s important to wear a mask even when you’re not sick.

Cloth masks offer only minimal protection from others who are not masked, meaning that masks are not simply a matter of personal safety but safety of others. Masks are also only effective when worn over both the mouth and the nose. [Here’s a guide on how to wear masks properly.]

VIA UAB

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Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told Ivey after she announced the statewide mask order that it was a “brilliant” idea. The order has been credited by Alabama infectious disease experts as having dramatically reduced the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the weeks after the order went into effect. 

Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told APR on Tuesday that from personal observation he is seeing more people not wearing masks, or wearing them improperly, and said the state could dramatically reduce the risk of COVID-19 if the public regularly wore masks and wore them properly.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Monday crossed the 1,000 mark for the first time since Aug. 31 — a sign that Alabama may be headed for another peak in hospitalizations as the state prepares for winter and flu season.

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Elections

Faith in Action Alabama calls on law enforcement to protect voters from harassment

“In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.”

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Nine clergy members from across the state have signed an open letter calling on local and state law enforcement to protect voters against intimidation and harassment at the polls.

The clergy are leaders in Faith in Action Alabama, a regional association of Christian congregations affiliated with the national group Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the country. It seeks to address a range of issues like gun violence, health care, immigration and voting rights.

This is their letter:

Across our country and here in Alabama, it is being seen that citizens are turning out in record numbers to vote early and by absentee ballots. It is very heartening to see so many of our fellow citizens energized and committed to exercising that most fundamental and critical duty of citizenship, the use of their franchise.  As servant leaders of an ecumenical association of nearly 2,000 faith communities across our state we are certainly encouraging our congregants to fulfill this duty either through early, absentee or day of election voting. For us this is not only part of our civic duty, but as people of faith obligation as well.

Unfortunately, it it also largely known that there are forces in our country that are actively, publicly and fervently at work to suppress the votes of some of our fellow citizens. We write to implore you to use the full authority of your office and department to ensure that those who seek to vote, especially on November 3, 2020 are not assailed or intimidated by illegal harassment in their polling places. We believe these threats are pervasive enough and real enough that proactive measures should be in place as citizens come to vote throughout that day. The strong, visible presence of uniformed legitimate law officers will hopefully prevent any attempts at confrontation or intimidation and violence.

The history of our state is marked by the efforts of tens of thousands of Alabamians who marched, protested, brought legal actions, shed their blood and some even gave their lives that every citizen of this state might have full and free access to the ballot box. In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.

Please be assured of our prayers for you and the men and women of your department who have the awesome responsibility of providing public safety and equal protection under the law for every Alabamian. If we, the members of Faith in Action Alabama’s Clergy Leadership Team, can be of assistance please do not hesitate to call upon us.

Sincerely,

Rev. Jeremiah Chester, St. Mark Baptist Church, Huntsville

Rev. David Frazier, Sr., Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, Mobile, and Moderator, Mobile Baptist Sunlight Association

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Bishop Russell Kendrick, Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast

Bishop Seth O. Lartey, Alabama-Florida Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

President Melvin Owens, Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention

Bishop Harry L. Seawright, Ninth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. A.B. Sutton, Jr., Living Stones Temple, Fultondale

Father Manuel Williams, C.R., Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South, Montgomery

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National

Report: Alabama’s Black Belt lags behind state in economic prospects

Black Belt counties lag behind others in economic prospects and investments in businesses.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(APR GRAPHIC)

It took Marquis Forge five years and 18 banks before he and his partner were able to open their company, Eleven86 Water, in Autauga County, just north of the Black Belt, and a report released Tuesday shows how Black Belt counties lag behind others in economic prospects and investments in businesses. 

Forge, a former University of Alabama football player, told reporters during a briefing Monday that he considers Autauga County, which borders the Black Belt’s Lowndes County, part of the Black Belt, and said it shouldn’t have been so difficult to access the capital needed to start a business. 

The report released Tuesday by the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center titled “Black Belt manufacturing and Economic Prospects” is the last in the center’s Black Belt 2020 series, and found that only four of the state’s 24 Black Belt counties, as defined by the center, are above the statewide average of 22.4 businesses per 1,000 residents, and just one, Montgomery County, was above the 2018 statewide average of personal income of $43,229. 

Researchers also found that just three Black Belt counties are above the state’s average in gross domestic product being produced by counties of $45,348. 

“To achieve Governor Ivey’s ambitious goal of 500,000 a million more Alabama workers with skills by 2025, all hands have to be ‘on deck.’ It will require higher labor force participation rates, particularly in the Black Belt, where the average is 20 points below the statewide average,” said Stephen Katsinas, director of the university’s Education Policy Center and one of the authors of the report. 

“Due to smaller economies of scale, our approaches to  education, workforce development, and community building will have to be different to reach Alabama’s Black Belt,” Katsinas continued. “In the longer term, we first must define the Black Belt, because you can’t measure what you can’t define. Then we must do what West Alabama Works is doing–go where the people are to bring hope by connecting them to a well-aligned lifelong learning system that makes work pay.”   

Donny Jones, COO of Chamber of Commerce West Alabama and Executive Director of West AlabamaWorks, told reporters Monday that one of the keys to helping the Black Belt will  be helping state and Congressional legislators understand the nuances of rural Alabama. 

Jones said the state should look at how colleges are graded, and that many smaller colleges don’t get credit for putting students through programs that get them short-term certificates that lead to jobs. 

“Those are some of the things on the statewide level that we can really start to work on,” Jones said, adding that they’ve already begun teaching modern manufacturing in Black Belt high schools that gives students college credits toward an associates degree while still in high school. 

“I think that’s very important for individuals to understand the impact that we can have in our higher ed and our K-12 system, really works hand in glove to move the needle for workforce development,” Jones said. 

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Jim Purcell, State Higher Education executive officer of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, told reporters that it’s also important to look at one’s own community and identifying what is “unique and special,” and said he was recently in Autauga County, where he is from, and bought two cases of Eleven86 Water because he remembered how good the water there was. 

“I think that’s what you’ve done, is you’ve taken the gift that Autauga’s environment has and enhanced it, so that the people can benefit from it,” Purcell said to Forge. “I think that’s the key.” 

Asked what he’d tell state legislators to spur them to make changes so that other entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to struggle as hard as he did to open a business, Forge said he would ask for a clearer path for assistance. 

“Instead of digging down through a tunnel with a spoon I would have someone outline the tracks on getting funds and assistance from local, state and the national level, because there are funds out there,” Forge said. 

After going to 18 banks to get the financing he needed, he still had to liquify all his assets to make it happen, Forge said. 

“How many people are going to do that?” he asked. “We shouldn’t have to do that.”

To read all of the Education Policy Center’s reports on Alabama’s Black Belt, visit here.

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