Riley heads PAC that funds anti-bingo group

MONTGOMERY, AL -- Gov. Bob Riley is listed as the chair of a political action committee that is raising money for a Birmingham-based anti-bingo group.

But Riley's chief spokesman, Jeff Emerson, said Wednesday none of the checks for GOV PAC go to the mansion at 1142 South Perry Street in Montgomery.

Instead, he said, they are mailed to the PAC treasurer, Kay Craig Nimm of Chelsea. The PAC's official address is listed as a post office box in Birmingham.

The stated purpose of GOV PAC on the secretary of state's Web site is "To elect qualified candidates dedicated to moving Alabama forward."

So far, however, all of the $138,000 the PAC has raised since Jan. 1 has gone to the Birmingham-based Citizens for a Better Alabama, an anti-bingo group.

The Alabama Senate Tuesday night approved a bill would authorize bingo throughout the state if approved in a constitutional amendment by voters in November. The bill must be approved by the House.

Some of the larger donors to GOV PAC include the Drummond Company of Birmingham, $20,000; Dothan businessman John Watson, $20,000; Scott Bridge Company of Opelika, $12,500; Scott Investments of Opelika, $12,500; Wellborn Cabinet of Ashland, $10,000; lobbyist Steve Windom of Montgomery, $10,000; and Opelika businessman Charles Lawler, $7,100. [View the campaign finance reports]

Emerson said the purpose of the PAC is to help candidates and causes Riley supports.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with it," he said. "That's just his address, that's where he lives."

Jim Sumner, executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, said he doesn't see a problem, viewing it from the state's ethics law.

He declined to comment, however, on the public perception of Riley's name being linked to a PAC.

But Dr. Jess Brown, professor of political science and justice studies at Athens State University, said Riley made a mistake in allowing himself to be named the chair of a PAC.

"When you start converting the resources of your office, even in a symbolic way toward fund-raising, you should avoid that and get that done through a third party," he said.

He suggested the governor should use his office as a bully pulpit to deliver his anti-bingo message and sway public opinion.

"I would think that as a matter of prudence that the governor would not want himself as the chairman of a PAC," Brown added.

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  • by Betty Location: Dothan on Apr 6, 2010 at 08:43 AM
    Hold on FBI ! Why not check out Riley while you are in the state ? a lot of rumors on his monies are in question . It should not be difficult for you to find the answers for us . And , oh , yes , Didn't Tyson win a little bit of money in a casino also ?
  • by John Location: Hartford on Apr 1, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    Let's see if someone has the guts to investigate riley and if he has committed any criminal acts as I believe he has put the crook in jail with Bubbha :)
  • by jk Location: dothan on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:43 AM
    Houston County were getting what we deserve. Watson and Downs are running this town and using the Church as cover, keeping everyone else down. This should show now why these local preachers are letting women strip and state stores sale liquor , but we cant have grown folks playing games w there own money!!! Also, keep the current DA and he'll continue to look the other way also.
  • by Lawrence Location: Ozark on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:59 AM
    This, to me, just confirms the fact that he is still trying to pay back the Mississippi and indian bingo bosses for their help in his campaigns for governor. Such a loser! He should really be ashamed of himself. Just look at the state of things in Alabama and he is still wasting money on things like this! Outrageous
  • by Anonymous on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:40 AM
    Riley, you are so obviously corrupt. You are a disgrace to your job. Pure, bottom of the barrel, scum.
  • by Rodney Location: Dothan on Apr 1, 2010 at 09:57 AM
    Why doesn't this not surprise me? Go "LAME DUCK" go!!!!!
  • by jc Location: Dothan on Apr 1, 2010 at 09:52 AM
    good job Riley!! glad to know while funds for social services for the handicapped are being cut, and schools are closing across the state, at least YOUR priorities are in line!!! ha ha ha ha
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