Johnny Ford files ethics complaint against AG Luther Strange

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Former state representative and Tuskegee Mayor-elect Johnny Ford filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission against Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange on Wednesday, the same day Ford held a rally in Tuskegee in support of reopening VictoryLand.

Johnny Ford is backed by family and supporters as he announces his candidacy for the state Senate in front of the State House on June 30, 2009. (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser)

Ford accused Strange of threatening raids at VictoryLand, which like Tuskegee is located in Macon County, after taking $100,000 from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians during his campaign in 2010. Within about three weeks in 2010, campaign finance documents indicate the Poarch Creeks contributed $100,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which contributed $100,000 to the Alabama Republican Party, which contributed $100,000 to Strange’s campaign.

“The fact is that the attorney general has unethically used his state office to threaten the constitutional rights of the citizens of Tuskegee by threatening raids on electronic bingo in Macon County, after it is clear and documented, that he received $100,000 as a campaign contribution from the Poarch Creek Indians,” Ford wrote in the complaint he emailed to reporters on Wednesday evening.

However, the Montgomery Advertiser reported on Sunday that on the same day in 2010 that the RSLC entered the $100,000 from the Poarch Creeks into its check log, the RSLC wrote a letter in care of Rob Riley notifying Citizens for a Better Alabama that RSLC was contributing $100,000 to that organization. But the Republican State Leadership Committee, for some reason that was not revealed to the Advertiser, did not report that $100,000 contribution from the Poarch Creeks to the IRS for more than a month, which would change the timeline for the money Ford is alleging went to Strange. Also, there does not appear to be a separate $100,000 from the Poarch Creeks to the RSLC at that time.

Citizens for a Better Alabama was working with Riley’s father, then-Gov. Bob Riley, to fight legislation in the state that would have allowed so-called electronic bingo casinos at certain locations in the state.

Rob Riley and the director of Citizens for a Better Alabama said they did not knowingly accept gambling money.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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