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MONTGOMERY, AL - Leaders from Alabama's major political parties are now reacting to Monday's news of the arrest of 11 on corruption charges.
"Today's indictment of several Alabama political figures highlights the importance of having a fair and impartial justice system. We understand that the role of the Justice Department is to work to root out government corruption at all levels, and are deeply disappointed that arrests had to be made. Elected officials from both parties, as well as an Independent, were involved in today's events and each person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. For any party or political campaign to attempt to make today's events a partisan issue hurts both the justice and political systems in our state.
"The Alabama Democratic Party is greatly concerned by the timing of these arrests and their possible collateral influence on voters only four weeks out of a major election. These indictments were sealed and these arrests could have been made after the November 2nd election, because under Alabama law, any person convicted of a felony cannot serve.
"We are confident that the Justice Department will continue to handle this matter fairly and objectively and will see it to a swift conclusion. However, we do express great concern over the amount of prior knowledge some in Republican circles may have had about these investigations prior to today's events.
"Today's arrests also serve as a stark reminder of why Alabama voters need an opportunity to cast a straight up or down vote on gaming in Alabama. As long as unregulated gaming and loose campaign finance laws exist in Alabama, the potential for wrongdoing also exists. As evidence by today's events, the gaming issue continues to consume too much of our state and federal resources in legislative and judicial arenas when it can easily be resolved by a final vote of the people.
"Alabama voters must be allowed to settle this issue once and for all with a popular vote on Constitutional Amendments that will either outlaw or allow all forms of gaming, and if gambling is legalized; allow the state to regulate it, tax it, then prosecute to the fullest extent all that violate these subsequent laws."
Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, issued the following statement:
"The ongoing investigation and subsequent arrests should serve as a referendum on the culture of corruption that has been prevalent in Montgomery for far too long. It is our hope that today's action by the Obama Justice Department will lead to a systematic change in the Alabama Legislature, and one that will put transparency back into the people's government."