Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL) — the freshman Blue Dog who joked that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “might even get sick and die” — received campaign donations from at least three of the defendants who were indicted this week in an FBI bribery probe in Alabama, while a fourth defendant was a key supporter during his 2008 Congressional campaign, Roll Call reported.
As we told you earlier this week, eleven people in Alabama, including four current state legislators, three lobbyists and two businessmen with casino interests, have been charged for their roles in an alleged conspiracy to influence pro-electronic bingo state legislation.
Bright, one of several Democrats who have distanced themselves from Pelosi, was supported by Rep. Harri Anne Smith (I) in his 2008 race. This year, Bright has been supporting Smith, who is running as an Independent because Republicans wouldn’t allow her to run as a GOP candidate, in large part because of her decision to endorse Bright, said the newspaper.
Roll Call reported:
Of those who have been indicted, Bright received a $1,000 donation from influential Alabama lobbyist Robert Geddie in 2003 and a $500 donation from Geddie in 2007. Alabama gambling magnate Milton McGregor gave Bright a $1,000 donation in 2007, while lobbyist Tom Coker cut Bright a $1,000 check during his 2008 Congressional bid.
A Bright spokesman distanced the candidate from those who donated to his campaign.
“In 11 years in public office, Congressman Bright has received thousands of contributions from people across Alabama, many of whom contribute to both Republicans and Democrats,” Lewis Lowe told Roll Call. “They are supporting Congressman Bright’s policies and leadership, not the other way around. Congressman Bright does not condone illegal activity of any kind and believes the jury will be the ultimate arbiter of innocence or guilt for those recently indicted.”
McGregor, the 71-year old businessman with a controlling interest in two casinos including one called Victoryland, allegedly agreed with an unnamed legislator who said he wanted the authority to say to his colleages: “if you fuckers fuck us on this [legislation] … there will be no peace… We’re coming after your ass.”
Another defendant in the FBI case, lobbyist Jay Walker, was a top strategist for Georgia Republican candidate Mike Keown, who is running against Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) in Alabama.