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General News    H3'ed 4/20/11

Is Lawsuit Cash Having a Negative Impact on Progressive Politics?

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Message Roger Shuler

Should progressives be concerned about Doug Jones' willingness to make money by jumping in bed with a member of the Riley clan? What about Jones' apparent determination to now push tainted nominees to a Democratic administration?

Regular readers know that Bob Riley has ties to GOP felons Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. And yet Doug Jones, who now seems to have the Obama administration's ear, is comfortably aligned with Bob Riley's son.

In short, the George Beck nomination has GOP fingerprints all over it--and Doug Jones helped bring the nomination to life. Is Doug Jones interested in promoting justice in a state that has been riddled with Bush-era corruption? Or is he interested in protecting the interests of Alabama's moneyed elite, ensuring that the Rileys and their allies will never be held accountable for the skulduggery of the past eight to 10 years? Is Doug Jones interested in pushing the Democratic Party forward or holding it back?

Some background might help answer those questions.

Doug Jones served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Clinton administration and developed the reputation as a civil-rights crusader for his successful prosecution of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing case.

Not long after returning to private practice, Jones became involved in federal litigation connected to the accounting fraud at HealthSouth. When federal prosecutors in Montgomery targeted Siegelman, Jones became the former governor's defense attorney--even though he already was involved in a lawsuit against Richard Scrushy, who would become Siegelman's co-defendant.

That clear conflict of interest is one of several questionable actions Jones has taken in recent years. Another was the decision to include Rob Riley in the HealthSouth litigation. A reasonable progressive now might ask: What side is Doug Jones on?

Did the alliance with Rob Riley pay off? Apparently the answer is yes.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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