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Sunday, January 29, 2017
Strange in a strange position, Decatur Daily, Sunday, January 29, 2017
Blogger Comment: Strange is Stranger than ever. Bribery, blackmail, or what? If you have wondered how Alabama Politics has gotten so corrupt just read the below opinion in today's Decatur Daily.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is either the governor’s best ally or worst enemy. It is disturbing that the public will not know which until after the governor decides whether to appoint Strange as U.S. senator.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange singlehandedly halted impeachment proceedings against Gov. Robert Bentley, after which he appealed to Bentley to appoint him as a U.S. senator. And Bentley also would appoint the next state attorney general — the same one who would decide whether to continue an apparent investigation that derailed, at least for now, the impeachment proceedings.
It’s a messy situation that will leave no one looking good.
The Alabama House Judiciary Committee was well into an impeachment investigation when Strange brought the work to a screeching halt Nov. 3. Strange sent the committee a letter asking it to stop its investigation, citing “related work” being done by his office. Prior to that, an attorney for the committee had complained Bentley’s office was not cooperating with the investigation and sought to subpoena the governor’s office.
Even in November, Strange’s request seemed odd. If in fact the Attorney General’s Office or a grand jury were investigating Bentley, there was no obvious reason an impeachment inquiry and the criminal investigation could not proceed simultaneously.
Since November, Strange has provided no information to the public about any investigation he is conducting. Indeed, the only apparent significance of his Nov. 3 letter has been to derail the impeachment inquiry.
Strange’s role in halting the impeachment investigation became even more troublesome when he met with Bentley for an interview, requesting that the governor appoint him to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy that will arise if Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, is confirmed as the next U.S. attorney general. Strange is asking Bentley to do him a huge favor — allow him to run for the U.S. Senate seat in 2018 as an incumbent. And Strange is currently the only impediment to continuation of an embarrassing impeachment investigation into Bentley’s conduct.
The extent of the conflict gets even murkier.
If Bentley appoints Strange to Sessions’ seat, the governor gets to appoint Strange’s replacement. That same replacement will be in a position to influence whether an investigation of Bentley continues. If Bentley fails to appoint Strange and is later subject to an indictment, it will look a whole lot like Strange is exacting revenge.
This is a bad start to Strange’s aspirations for higher office.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where either Strange or Bentley comes out of this tangled web untainted.