Yesterday saw the FBI arrest 11 people, including 4 sitting Alabama state senators in a vote buying scandal. Today we learn that three other legislators, known as “legislators 1, 2, and 3,” agreed to wear wires to record bribe offers being made to them. Legislator #1 has been identified as Benjamin Lewis, who was appointed District Judge of Houston County by Governor Bob Riley, after his participation in the FBI bust.
Doug Jones, a Birmingham lawyer defending Ronnie Gilley, a Dothan casino owner among the 11 indicted, had this to say:
Mr. Lewis didn’t even have a job in Alabama as a lawyer before that appointment. To think that his selection over far more qualified lawyers, and I mean far more qualified as not even close, was not a quid pro quo on the part of the governor to reward Lewis for not only his opposition to the gambling legislation, but his role in the investigation, would be folly.
Governor Riley is staunchly opposed to gambling in Alabama, and though both Riley and Lewis claim the appointment had nothing to do with Lewis’s role in bringing down pro-gambling interests, I agree it is a bit suspect.
And now, I’ll get to listen to months of people defending their own party’s corruption by arguing that the other side is even worse. That’s like LSU claiming a victory for beating Tennessee. Just admit that both your teams suck this year and find someone else to root for.