By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
At this weeks Senate Republican caucus dinner, Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) used the occasion as a forum to proclaim that he has not used his office for personal gain, to disparage this publication, and “The Britts,” according to several guests present.
No one at alreporter.com has accused Williams of any alleged crime. We have only published the fact that on his latest ethics Statement of Economic Interests, he lists 43 professional or consulting clients. When elected in 2010, he listed no such clients. We have also reported, that according to a high-ranking government official, Williams is under investigation by law enforcement for possible ethics violations and other related activities.
We stand by these reports.
According to a member present at the dinner, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) wondered aloud to Williams, “Who funds the Britts?” Williams said he didn’t know, but he would find that out, and more when he deposes us.
These are two very troubling statements made by men who hold powerful, elected positions in our State government. Marsh’s question about our funding at least insinuates that our writing is influenced by who pays us. It may also mean, that if the sources were discovered, our funding could be cut off in the same manner employed by Speaker Mike Hubbard, who made it his mission to find and threaten our advertisers implying if they continued advertising on our site or television show, Hubbard would cause them harm.
Hubbard abused the power of his office to stop the mouths of those who dared point out his deeds.
Does Marsh plan on taking the same track?
Perhaps Marsh, and those who question how we earn a living, are engaging in what Psychiatrists call projection, also known as blame shifting. Projection is how “some individuals defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses, by denying their existence while attributing them to others.”
Far too many elected officials take their lead from high-dollar donors, never questioning the outcome and doing only as they are told. Much like a prostitute with her pimp, they lie down with whoever is paying.
Let me assure the good Senators, that unlike politicos, the Britts do not take their marching orders from anyone. Neither do we engage in taking money to trumpet a particular position. We earn a living through advertising, and the blood, sweat and tears of our hard work. Try it sometime, it is quite rewarding. Also, just to be clear, sirs, we are not for sale. Can you say the same?
That Williams, a public figure, is threatening to sue a news organization in order to find out its revenue stream, and how it gathers information, is an abuse of power, more fit for Soviet Russia than the Great State of Alabama.
Williams, who touts his military service at every turn, and loudly professes his Christianity, seems to lack the honor and dignity that both require. But that is my personal opinion, and others are free to differ.
Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), we understand, was telling people they should not be seen talking with the the Britts because it would not be good for them. This again, is a shocking abuse of power. Even one Senator can exercise tremendous influence over an agency or department’s budget. Such threats should be unacceptable in public service.
This is the kind of thuggish behavior one would expect from crime capo not a sitting senator.
We are reporters. That we point out unpleasant facts is a part of the job.
At that same budget hearing, a joint committee of House and Senate members questioned Acting Finance Director, Bill Newton, about the failed implementation of the STAARS program. It was this publication that first broke the story about the system’s failures. But, rather than thank us for our service to the State, some choose to intimidate those who dare speak to us, and further threaten lawsuits and perhaps even our livelihood.
What species of men are these? I don’t recognize it.
Are there no Senators who will say enough is enough? For three years running, there has been a push within the State house to take away our press credentials. Hubbard and his cronies have tried to destroy our business, and now this.
Accusations, and retaliation for telling the truth seems to be a way of conducting business in Montgomery.
Recently, Representative Jack Williams (R-Birmingham) was on altoday.com to, not only accuse us of criminal acts, but also the Attorney General’s Office, saying, “The only violation of the law that we know definitively is we know the prosecutor … has illegally leaked secret grand jury testimony to the media.”
In his continuing attempt to justify the actions of Hubbard, Williams also said, that the greatest threat was “having a lawless Attorney General’s office that operates without regard for the rule of law or the rules of the grand jury and the courts.”
Williams’ statements are facially untrue, or as we say where I come from, a bold faced lie. Williams makes no mention of his calls to raise money for Hubbard’s legal defense.
These men act like thugs and street walkers, abuse there power beyond what should be tolerated among honest men and women.
Despite threats and intimidation, we will not quit, we will not be deterred from our mission to report honestly and accurately on the affairs of Alabama State government.
That is a promise from the Britts.