ABI, FBI question legislators at Alabama Statehouse - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

ABI, FBI question legislators at Alabama Statehouse

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Republican and Democratic leaders of the Alabama State Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives were asked to attend a meeting in the offices of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation Thursday. The topic: possible corruption of the recent Senate-passed bingo bill.

Present at the meeting were Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Zeb Little, Senate Republican Minority Leader Jabo Waggoner, Speaker Seth Hammett, Democratic Majority Leader Ken Guin and Republican Minority Leader Mike Hubbard. 

Also present were members of the ABI, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the public corruption section of the United States Department of Justice.  

Members said they were asked if they knew of any corruption occurring in the Legislature concerning the bingo bill to which each legislator is said to have responded "No". 

The meeting lasted approximately 20 minutes and was said to be a sort of courtesy meeting to let members know what was going on.

Members also said they would cooperate completely in any investigation.

"The timing of this smells to high heaven," said several Democratic senators in a written statement. "Gaming has been a contentious issue for the last four years in the Alabama Legislature. But within 48 hours of a successful vote on electronic bingo in the Senate, in swoop investigators."

Those senators - Senate Pro Tempore Rodger Smitherman, Zeb Little, Lowell Barron, Roger Bedford and Hank Sanders said they believe Governor Bob Riley is behind the effort and, "We believe this is a blatant attempt to undercut the people's right to vote on the bingo issue, something that a large majority of citizens support, and to ensure the death of this legislation."

Governor Riley's office immediatly issued a statement saying it had no idea the meeting was being held and is not involved in any way with the investigation.

"From what our office was told by people in the meeting, the investigation is being run by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC," said Riley's communications director, Jeff Emerson.

WSFA 12 News contacted the FBI which confirmed an ongoing investigation. The Bureau would not confirm any reports of possible pending arrests.

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