John Tyson's full written response to Attorney General

By: PRESS RELEASE: Governor's Press Office
By: PRESS RELEASE: Governor's Press Office

MONTGOMERY – John Tyson, Jr., Commander of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, said Attorney General Troy King’s announcement today he will attempt to take control of the task force is a “last-ditch” effort by the casino bosses in Alabama to stop law enforcement and shows King is “determined to do whatever it takes to protect the gambling bosses.”

“If the attorney general gets his way, then the only thing that will be assured is that the illegal slot machine casinos will get to stay open for months and months as the gambling bosses drag out the litigation that the attorney general says he is going to bring,” Tyson said during a news conference on Monday.

“The Supreme Court has issued one clear opinion after another on these illegal gambling issues, but the attorney general refuses to acknowledge those decisions. For example, even though the Supreme Court has made crystal clear that the trial court cannot issue declaratory judgments about the legality of electronic bingo, the attorney general now says that he is going to direct district attorneys to file declaratory judgment actions. His own attorneys indicated to the Governor last week that declaratory judgment actions won’t work. He knows the Supreme Court has said so, and he knows every time they lose one the casinos will just change a bell or whistle on the machines and start the whole mess over. With actions like these, the attorney general corrupts our judicial system and his office by continuing to claim that the law is not clear,” Tyson said.

“The attorney general’s announcement today amounts to a declaration of war on the rule of law. He is determined to undermine the fundamental principle that no one is above the law. He is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the gambling bosses,” said Tyson.

Below is Tyson’s statement at the news conference:

Mr. King’s press conference today is yet another delaying tactic so gambling interests can keep raking in money which they use to try to frustrate law enforcement.

1. The Task Force was created by the Governor of Alabama, and the Attorney General has absolutely no ability to dictate how it will be operated.

2. I was appointed as Commander of the Task Force by the Governor. I serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Attorney General has no more right to replace me than do the casino bosses.

3. The Department of Public Safety and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board are cabinet-level agencies that are under the authority of the Governor. The Attorney General’s suggestion that he has the ability to dictate how they conduct criminal investigations is absolutely wrong. The law gives him no authority to tell those agencies what to do, and he knows it. He has no authority whatsoever to impose a moratorium on the enforcement of the law.

4. The Attorney General has cited no rule of law that entitles him to obtain the evidence held by these law enforcement officials, and I know of none.

5. The Governor has argued in a case already pending in the Supreme Court that the Attorney General should have no authority to override the Governor in pending litigation, and we fully intend to press that point with the Supreme Court.

Now the Attorney General comes saying he is—without authority—going to take over the Governor’s job of enforcing our laws and protecting the criminal process that allows law enforcement to protect all of us – at a time when all Alabamians are experiencing equal and fair law enforcement and we are building a reputation for it that benefits us all.

Mr. King wants to reverse all of that progress and give the casino operators more time to take more money from Alabamians through illegal slot machines and use that money to further corrupt our law enforcement process.

The Governor won’t let that happen, he’s fought corruption and its affects on citizens for more than 7 years.

I have spoken with the Governor and he has told me I am the Task Force Commander and to proceed.

The Attorney General’s suggestion that there has been no progress in 14 months is laughable. The Task Force has won every single issue that has been presented to the Alabama Supreme Court, and the gambling bosses know that the end is near for their ability to continue illegal slot-machine gambling. Their last-ditch option is to try to derail the enforcement of the law by having the Attorney General swoop in and illegally claim to have authority over the Task Force. If the Attorney General gets his way, then the only thing that will be assured is that the illegal slot machine casinos will get to stay open for months and months as the gambling bosses drag out the litigation that the Attorney General says he is going to bring.

Make no mistake. What the Attorney General is doing today is a cynical effort to protect a few of his gambling buddies from equal enforcement of the law. It is part of a long pattern of acts and omissions by the Attorney General to perpetuate this unlawful activity. The Supreme Court has issued one clear opinion after another on these illegal gambling issues, but the Attorney General refuses to acknowledge those decisions. For example, even though the Supreme Court has made crystal clear that the trial court cannot issue declaratory judgments about the legality of electronic bingo, the Attorney General now says that he is going to direct district attorneys to file declaratory judgment actions. The attorney general told the Governor last week that his own lawyers indicated that declaratory judgment actions won’t work. He knows the Supreme Court has said so, and he knows every time they lose one the casinos will just change a bell or whistle on the machines and start the whole mess over. With actions like these, the Attorney General corrupts our judicial system and his office by continuing to claim that the law is not clear.

The Governor has worked in good faith to reach an agreement with the Attorney General on how the law should be enforced. In fact, the Governor just this weekend extended an offer to the Attorney General to see the Task Force’s undercover investigative materials. Even though the Attorney General has complained repeatedly in the past about not seeing those materials, he ignored the Governor’s offer and instead decided to hold a press conference to announce that he wanted to hijack the law enforcement activities of the Task Force.

The Attorney General’s announcement today amounts to a declaration of war on the rule of law. He is determined to undermine the fundamental principle that no one is above the law. He is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the gambling bosses.

The Task Force and Governor Riley are equally determined to fight for what is right, and we will fight to stop the Attorney General’s illegal and destructive activity.


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