Should Troy King Investigate Beth Chapman?
Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced her opposition to legislation which supports the expansion of the gambling industry in Alabama. The legislation is on the special order calendar in the House of Representatives. Chapman said, “It is my sincere belief that gambling is bad for Alabama families, therefore it is bad for Alabama.”
Chapman said some of those endorsing the legislation are being deceptive. “Anyone who hears that the Christian Coalition endorses any gambling bill should know that the organization has been taken hostage by those who do not support the same family values the average Alabamian supports.”
Like Dan points out, that statement has absolutely no relevance to anything in the job description of Secretary of State. Of course Beth Chapman the individual is perfectly free to express her opinions on gambling and on the Christian Coalition. But Beth Chapman is most certainly NOT free to use Alabama’s resources to promote her personal opinion. And that is just what she did here, using not only the S-o-S office’s time, computers, and perhaps employees, but its prestige to promote her own personal agenda.
The press release has nothing to do with the office of Secretaty of State, yet it is a press release of the Secretary of State. So why did Beth Chapman use the office’s resources for something completely irrelevant to the office? Dan’s commentators were quick to point out an obvious possibility: Chapman’s own plans to run for a higher office.
If that is the real reason for the release, than she has probably violated Alabama Code 36-12-61:
It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of the State of Alabama to use or to permit to be used any state-owned property of any character or description, including stationery, stamps, office equipment, office supplies, automobiles or any other property used by him, in his custody or under his control for the promotion or advancement of the interest of any candidate for the nomination or election to any public office of the State of Alabama.
Or consider Ala. Code 17-1-7(c):
No person in the employment of the State of Alabama, a county, or a city whether classified or unclassified, shall use any state, county, or city funds, property or time, for any political activities.
So how about it Troy Boy? Maybe there is a legitimate reason for the press release, but this sure smells funny. And you can’t be too vigilant about the electoral process, right? Here’s what you said after the arrest of our former S-o-S for using her office to promote her own candidacy:
“It is deeply troubling when a person who was charged with overseeing our election laws is accused of breaking the very laws she swore to uphold, and of betraying the system whose integrity was entrusted to her,” said Attorney General King. “If the people are to have confidence in their government, it is imperative that such allegations be thoroughly investigated, and where evidence warrants, that the case be prosecuted, regardless of who may be affected.”
I’m not asking for an arrest. But I think this deserves a “thorough investigation?” Don’t you?