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General News    H2'ed 3/1/10

GOP Insider Threatens Christian Coalition Leader Over Gambling

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Message Roger Shuler

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
An associate of Alabama Governor Bob Riley threatened a Christian Coalition leader over gambling issues, according to a lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court in May 2007.

Dr. Randy Brinson, chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, states in the lawsuit that he supported a bill in the Alabama House of Representatives that would tax and regulate gambling and help fund Medicaid. Brinson's support for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Marcel Black (D-Tuscumbia), drew heavy fire from Riley allies.

The most alarming fire came from Dax Swatek, who was Riley's campaign manager in 2006. The lawsuit says Swatek had become a lobbyist for Jones Group LLC, a Montgomery-based public affairs consultant registered to lobby on behalf of Greenetrack Inc., an Alabama gaming facility, among others.

Swatek apparently was more than happy to take money from gambling interests. But he must not have liked the bill that Brinson supported. The lawsuit states:

Not only have negative comments been made about Brinson and the Coalition in the news media, Brinson recently received a personal threat from Dax Swatek during a phone conversation after the April 10, 2007, press conference held by Rep. Marcel Black concerning HB 527. In the conversation Swatek told Brinson he'd "better back off," and said it in a threatening manner sufficient to alarm Brinson. As Swatek represents a powerful gambling interest with an enormous interest in controlling the state's gambling laws, Brinson has taken Swatek's threat seriously.

Brinson and the Christian Coalition filed the lawsuit against Swatek, John Giles, and a number of other parties, claiming the defendants unlawfully seized the organization's Web site and member lists and interfered with its business relations.

Giles was chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama for about eight years until he was forced to resign in August 2006. Swinson became the new chairman, and Giles went on to form a group called Christian Action Alabama.

Under Giles' leadership, the Christian Coalition of Alabama was steadfastly opposed to gambling. But the lawsuit notes that a 2005 Boston Globe article quotes conservative leader Grover Norquist saying that his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, gave $850,000 to the Alabama Christian Coalition, and the money came from an Indian casino in Mississippi.

The lawsuit goes on to note Bob Riley's connections to gambling interests in Las Vegas and Mississippi--and to the money laundering operation of GOP felon Jack Abramoff.

The two sides evidently reached a quick settlement, and the lawsuit was dismissed roughly one month after it was filed. But the 20-page document offers a fascinating look at the seamy intersection between Republican Party politics, religion-based organizations, big-money gaming interests, and criminal enterprises.

We will be examining the lawsuit closely because it speaks volumes about the political climate in Alabama and other conservative strongholds.

Regular readers know that Dax Swatek is a major player in my personal story, largely because his father, Pelham attorney William E. Swatek, filed the bogus lawsuit that started my legal headaches. Evidence strongly suggests that the Swateks, or someone else with close ties to Riley, played a major role in my unlawful termination at UAB. And evidence also suggests they might have played a role in my wife's unlawful termination at Infinity Property & Casualty.

A number of sources have told me that the Riley crowd is famous for such skulduggery. You can rest assured that will be a major line of inquiry when my wife and I file lawsuits against the entities and individuals who cheated us out of our jobs.

Here is one of many posts I've written that says a lot about the Swateks longstanding connections to sleaze. And we have addressed before the Riley crowd's tendency to threaten those they see as opponents.

Consider this from a post I wrote last November:

I've called the GOP tactics financial terrorism. And I've experienced them personally. I've received more threatening anonymous comments on my blog than I can count. And they have not been idle threats.

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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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