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Did you not learn anything from Siegelman?

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

I’ve never hit the backspace key as many times when writing a column as I did while starting this one.

Anybody who knows me can testify that I’m never at a loss for words. Ever. I hardly shut up. Opinions? I have one on every topic ranging from health care policy to bread pudding.

But Luther Strange being appointed to the United States Senate? I’m at a loss for words. They aren’t even bothering to hide the corruption anymore. I’m so over it.

For the past few months, I’ve gotten calls from around the country asking about who Bentley would appoint as Alabama’s new junior Senator – and for the past few months I’ve insisted there’s no way it would be Luther Strange. There’s no way the two of them could be that stupid… or so I thought.

We were all put on notice about what can happen when you appoint someone to a political position when there’s something to be gained. If you can’t remember, Don Siegelman is finally home from federal prison. I’m sure he can explain how something that looks a little fishy can land you in hot water.

It’s called a quid pro quo. It’s something for something. It’s appointing a political donor to a hospital regulatory board. It’s appointing an Attorney General to the US Senate while you’re under criminal investigation.

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Let’s be honest – nobody can really blame Bentley for playing the “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Appointing a new Attorney General is a quick way to nix the grand juries that are still empaneled all over the state and get him and his Rebekah out of trouble. We’ll see how it works out for him.

But you, Luther,… excuse me, Senator Strange…You should have known better. What do you really benefit if you gain the world but forfeit your soul?

You could have turned down Bentley’s appointment and had your 2018 U.S. Senate campaign written for you. You could have run for the seat in 2018 and won it fair and square, but you traded your integrity for a head start. Now there’s doubt in all our minds.

Was it an explicit quid pro quo or just implied? The people will never really know whether you asked the legislature to suspend their impeachment hearings in exchange for a Senate seat. The people will always wonder if you sold out good government and what we all know is right for your personal gain.

Just as we all learned from the ethics scandals of the past: in politics, it doesn’t just have to be right. It has to look right – And there’s nothing that looks right about this.

 

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