Exclusive: King responds to allegations

Attorney General Troy King
Attorney General Troy King

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email
FOR Eileen Jones

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When he took office Attorney General Troy King promised to give the people of Alabama good, trustworthy and honest government, but lately he's been under close scrutiny, especially when it comes to the ethical operation of his office.

While the attorney general has not been accused of any crime there are a lot of questions about reports that his office is being investigated by a federal grand jury.

For a little more than five years, King has been the 'top cop' for the state of Alabama, and in March, 2004 he had big plans.

"I can't answer questions for you about what this grand jury is or isn't looking at," AG King said during an interview Monday. "The only two people who can answer those two questions, it seems to me, are Alice Martin who's in charge of the United States Attorney's office in Birmingham and Tom Scaret, who's in charge of The Birmingham News."

The Birmingham News did break the story about the investigation.

"I can't tell you what they're doing. I don't know," King said.

When asked if the AG was concerned, even after employees current and former had been subpoenaed, King replied, "You don't have to be concerned...if everybody tells the truth and there's no...the Bible says 'The truth shall set you free.'"

There are reports that the grand jury is looking an event in early 2007 involving Alabama Power. The Attorney General's office represents customers before the Public Service Commission if there is a request for a rate increase. But two years ago King, his family and church friends attended an Atlanta Braves game compliments of Alabama Power. The tickets included a $2,400 per-day skybox.

"There were tickets that were provided to me and to my wife and to our children. Not all of these other tickets that had been erroneously reported were given to me," King explained. "They weren't given to me."

King said the other tickets where given to church members who "had independent relationships with people at the power company."

By taking or accepting a gift from Alabama Power when he's suppose to be representing people who have to pay Alabama Power, did King think it sent a bad impression? "We complied totally with the ethics law," King said. "We have never compromised the work of this office even once."

King says he reimbursed the folks for the food for him and his family at the game, and the ticket price, he says, was under the $250 limit that a public official can receive.

Looking back, he says if he had it to do over again he would not have done it. "I would not do anything that could cause somebody to have doubts about the effectiveness of this office....If we don't want public officials to accept anything of value, we can change the ethics law. We can prevent that. That wasn't the law then. That's not the law now."

The Birmingham News reports a federal grand jury maybe investigating AG King's travel, purchases and gifts.