By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A high-ranking public official has informed the Alabama Political Reporter that State Law Enforcement has sent a letter to the State Ethics Commission confirming that State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) is under criminal investigation.
In a scathing, statewide press release, Williams accused this publication and me personally of “stepping over the line entering into the realm of ‘slander and defamation’” for reporting that a high-ranking government official said Williams was under investigation. This letter to the Commission confirms that our reporting was accurate and honest.
In his press statement, Williams said that he personally sent the Ethics Commission his full client list.
Williams has listed 43 professional or consulting clients on his latest State ethics filings. He listed no professional or consulting clients on his first filing upon entering the Senate.
In his press statement, Williams said, “I am taking these actions not just for myself, but also for every member of the public domain who has been assaulted by bloggers and rumor-peddlers who believe they can hide behind the false pretense that they are ‘reporting the news.’”
As members of the Alabama Press Association, registered with the State of Alabama as part of the Capitol Press Corps, and members of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Williams’ accretions ring hollow.
Williams lists 10 clients in the banking, finance, or loan industry. He also represents municipalities in his district and many other business entities including Butler Electric, owned by State Rep. Mack Butler (R-Gadsden). Butler took to Facebook to defend Williams’ writing: “It’s bogus. Phil was an employee in 2010 is why nothing was listed. After being elected he went into private law practice. We were one of his first clients and are still with him today. He does our collections and is straight as an arrow. He has made someone mad it appears.”
This sounds very much like a page from indicted Speaker Mike Hubbard’s playbook, who has accused prosecutors, and the Attorney General for his indictment on 23 counts of felony public corruption, as nothing more than a political witch hunt.
Williams’ press release stated, “A full inquiry by the Senator at all levels of government and law enforcement, has revealed no evidence of any investigation, whatsoever.”
Williams should now realize the full weight of a criminal investigation.