Alabama legislators arrested on corruption charges
Four current Alabama state legislators and an employee of the state’s legislature are among 11 individuals facing charges for their roles in a conspiracy to bribe legislators for their votes and influence on proposed legislation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The others arrested include three lobbyists, two business owners and one of their employees.
State Sens. Larry Means, James Preuitt, Quinton Ross Jr., and Harri Anne Smith “corruptly solicited, demanded, accepted and agreed to accept money and things of value from their co-conspirators and others, intending to be influenced and rewarded,” according to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division and Assistant Director Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The people of Alabama, like all our citizens, deserve to have representatives who act in the public’s interest, not for their own personal financial gain,” Breuer said in a statement.
Alabama businessmen Milton McGregor and Ronald Gilley also were arrested in the case. During the 2009 and 2010 Alabama state legislative sessions, McGregor and Gilley, along with others, allegedly paid the accused legislators to pass pro-gambling legislation that would have been favorable electronic bingo facilities, according to DOJ. The alleged bribes in the case include $2 million in campaign contributions to Preuitt and the use of country music stars in Preuitt’s reelection campaign, a $100,000 payment to Means, and various other campaign contributions to the other defendants.
Also charged in the case were Joseph Crosby, an employee of the Alabama Legislative Reference Service who received $3,000 per month from McGregor to take official action on his behalf, McGregor’s lobbyist Thomas Coker, Gilley’s employee Jarrell Walker Jr., and Massey’s employee Jennifer Pouncy. The charges include conspiracy, federal program bribery, extortion, money laundering, honest services mail and wire fraud, obstruction of justice and making a false statement.
Read the DOJ press release on the arrests.