Strange sets record straight on appointment to U.S. Senate - Montgomery Alabama news.

Strange sets record straight on appointment to U.S. Senate

Senator Luther Strange speaks in Montgomery Tuesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Senator Luther Strange speaks in Montgomery Tuesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

U.S. Senator Luther Strange, R- Alabama, was in Montgomery Tuesday to discuss the Senate's record in Washington. But it's his record in Alabama politics that he wanted to set straight. Specifically, Strange, the state's former attorney general, wanted to clear the air surrounding his controversial appointment to Congress.

When asked why critics continue to discuss his appointment by now ex-Governor Robert Bentley, Strange insinuated politics is fueling the fire.

“I think people that are critical of my appointment boil down to a handful of people that were in the Mike Hubbard camp,” Strange stated, referring to the former House speaker convicted on 12 felony ethics counts and removed from office. “We took a lot of heat over the years for prosecuting the speaker of the house that was convicted,” Strange stated.

Then-AG Strange's office was investigating Bentley at the time he was appointed to now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senate seat. Some saw Strange as using the investigation as leverage for the appointment. Specifically, critics point to a letter Strange sent the House Judicial Committee that asked them to suspend their impeachment investigation into the governor’s office while his office looked into related matters. 

Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler said Tuesday he is looking into whether Strange's appointment can be investigated, stating he believes Strange was rewarded with the seat for keeping Bentley's scandals a secret and for failing to investigate them.

“The letter we sent them before the election, before anyone knew Donald Trump would be elected President, came out of a meeting we had with the legislative leadership," Strange explained. “It’s a joint meeting of the legislature at our office that they requested. The point of the meeting was to make sure our investigation was unimpeded and their impeachment proceedings, as they unfolded, were unimpeded so that we were working together.  That was something we, unfortunately, couldn’t talk about at the time because they were investigations that were ongoing.  It was a cooperative effort to get to the bottom of the truth." 

The change in leadership at the governor’s office could signal a change in the date set for a special election for Strange’s senate seat. Bentley came under fire for setting the election for June 2018, as opposed to early 2017 as some interpreted the law to require.

The auditor said he will ask a judge Wednesday to move up the special election so Alabamians can vote sooner on who they want their next senator to be.

“Either way, I’m a candidate, so it doesn’t matter either way,” Strange stated.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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