By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Republican candidate for Attorney General Alice Martin on Tuesday addressed conservative groups at their legislative session preview meeting in the Alabama Statehouse.
Martin is a former U.S. Attorney under President George W. Bush and is a former Alabama Deputy Attorney General under then Attorney General Luther Strange.
Martin said that as U.S. Attorney she got over 140 federal convictions of elected and appointed public officials. As Deputy Alabama Attorney General she was a part of over 20 state public corruption convictions. Martin said that while she was state Deputy Attorney General they tried to pass ethics reform through the Alabama Legislature but could not because of then Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Martin said that the three bills the AG wanted, “Passed quickly out of the Senate but in the House we could not even get a committee meeting. We learned that the Committee Chairmen were told by Hubbard if they even had a hearing they would be stripped of their committee chair.”
Martin said that ahead of this sessions, “I don’t hear the words ‘ethics reforms.’” “I hear that it is just so complex. What I do hear is flag family and country.” Do you really think we need a bill telling people to stand up for the flag? Our dirty laundry has been the laughing sock all the way to Europe. It has been the butt of late night comedians. I would urge the legislature to work on bigger issues.”
Martin said that one of their bills is to increase the penalties on domestic violence in the presence of a child. Why don’t increase the punishments for domestic violence across the board? We have a culture of domestic violence. “Isn’t it time we look at the root causes. Why don’t we do that?”
“In our court systems in our city halls in our sheriffs’ offices we have a culture of entitlement we have a culture of corruption.” “I have no intention of running for attorney general to babysit the status quo.” As a federal prosecutor I got a lot of public corruption convictions because I had a lot of tools in my toolbox. At the state house I continue to hear, ‘How could this happen to poor speaker Hubbard? The BCA and the other big mules said that the jury had overly expanded the definition of a thing of value. “Do you think it is a thing of value if somebody can get you in to talk to the governor? I do.”
Last session we met with over 8 different entities including the BCA to address ethics reform, Martin said. “That bill was presented to the Speaker (Mac McCutcheon) and (Senate President Pro Tem) Del Marsh. They said they would shepherd it. All they did was shepherd it to the Alabama Legislative Reference service,” (ALR). “ALR had about 40 changes that we accepted, but there were three that we rejected because it would have gutted the bill.”
Martin stated that the state’s “Statement of Economic Interests form as a prosecutor it is worthless to me.”
Martin held up a newspaper where the headline read: “Bentley: I Chose to Walk Away”. Martin said that when she was prosecuting Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford: I bet if I had offered Mayor Larry Langford a deal where they would plea to a minor misdemeanor he would choose to walk away too or Roy Johnson. “I almost bet they would have chosen to walk away with a plea to a minor misdemeanor ethics charge too.”
Present Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was appointed by Bentley after Bentley appointed then Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Lou Campomenosi with the Common Sense Campaign of Alabama who was the emcee of the event said, “Those words strike true to me because she has done it.”
There is a crowded field for the Republican nomination for attorney general. In addition to Martin and Attorney General Marshall, former Attorney General Troy King and former Trump Alabama Campaign Manager Chess Bedsole are also running for the office.