Candidates weigh in on Monday's corruption investigation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP/WSFA) - The Democratic nominee for Alabama governor, Ron Sparks, says the timing of the gambling indictments a month before the election is suspicious and must be questioned.

"These are accusations, not convictions," Sparks said Monday, "And just because these indictments have been handed down does not mean that gaming is going away. That is why I have been so relentless since day one that we must strongly regulate and tax gaming. If we had a plan to regulate gaming 7 ½ years ago, these kind of things would not be happening today."

The Republican nominee for governor, Robert Bentley, says the indictments are an example of what's wrong with Montgomery politics.

"Following the announcement today by The Justice Department we must now allow the justice system to take its course," Bentley said. "I have been a champion for transparency in government. The indictments handed down today are an example of exactly what is wrong with Montgomery politics. As Governor, I will be a vigilant force against corruption of any kind, regardless of party affiliation. Today's announcement bruises Alabama's reputation. I believe maintaining a clean and open government are the only ways to prevent such things from happening again."

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who lost to Sparks in the Democratic primary, also chimed in on the indictments Monday. He says they are an embarrassing spectacle. He said candidates, including Sparks, should return contributions they received from any of those indicted.

"Instead of denouncing the overwhelming evidence of corruption, they have denounced the nonpartisan Department of Justice employees who uncovered wrongdoing," Davis said. "Amazingly, the suggestion has even been made that prosecutors should have deliberately delayed the indictment to avoid hurting pro-gambling candidates. These are not the views of numerous Democrats and Independents needed to win in November."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)