Former Secretary of State Nancy Worley turned herself in at the Montgomery County Jail Thursday and was released on bond. Her surrender comes after a grand jury indicted Worley on charges stemming from her unsuccessful campaign for re-election last year.
During her four years in office, she faced a slew of complaints. They ranged from criticism of her selection of a gas guzzling S-U-V that the state paid for to low morale of a number of employees who were unhappy. One of those was Ed Packard. "I'm hoping that what this means is that the law that protects state employees is going to be enforced."
The indictment charges that Worley broke that law when she wrote a letter to her employees with the words underlined saying, "I want to ask for your support and your vote in the June 2006 Democratic Primary Election."
She went on to say she had always requested them not to discriminate against anyone because of his or her politics, race, religion, social status, thus she says, "If you choose to support another candidate you have every right to make that decision without any problems from me."
Worley's attorney says that last statement means employees were not pressured into contributing to her campaign but Packard sees it differently.
"Aside from it being illegal it just seems wrong for an elected official to request money or other kinds of campaign support from their subordinates because of that employer - employee relationship that could be coercive just by its very nature," he said.
He points to other items Worley sent the employees like a bumper sticker and an envelope to volunteer or request a yard sign. Packard says his complaint represents a number of workers who were reluctant to do anything about it.
"I didn't have any reluctance to file a complaint because I believe it takes people standing up and doing the right thing if we expect the right things to happen," he said.
Nancy Worley faces five misdemeanor and five felony charges. She did not want to go on camera to respond to the accusations against her but she did say, quote, "This is happening to Democrats throughout the country who don't bow down to Republicans."
Her attorney James Anderson says the indictments are "Much ado about nothing."
Nancy Worley was recently elected one of the democratic party's vice chairs. Another vice-chair, Joe Reed says "the indictments don't mean guilt and they don't affect her position with the party at all.