The $7.9 million in unrestricted funds that Riley transferred from the state's BP oil spill account was earmarked for litigation relating to the oil spill and to anti-gambling efforts, according to a Legislative Fiscal Office memo.
"I know they transferred money for legal expenses," Riley said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
He said details were handled by his former chief of staff, who could not be immediately reached for comment.
The deal immediately produced howls of protest from several quarters. Alan Collins, of myfoxal.com, reported that a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Office confirmed the deal:
"According to the Office of Attorney General, it plans to spend those funds in FY 2011 and FY 2012 on salary, benefits, and professional services expenses incurred for litigation related to the oil spill and gambling," the memo said.
The transfer occurred three days before Riley left office.
Legislators, understandably, had questions about an attempted end run around propriety--and perhaps the law:
"Somewhere along the line, Bentley should say I'm governor of this state and I should have a say about the money being transferred," Birmingham Rep. John Rogers said.
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