GOP Attempts To Silence Alabama Gubernatorial Whistle-Blowing Candidate

Jan 12, 2010, 08:00 ET from


WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An attempt to silence Alabama gubernatorial candidate Bill Johnson has been launched by his own county's GOP. Johnson, a 2010 Republican candidate for governor, is banned from speaking at GOP events in Alabama for blowing the whistle on current Republican Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Johnson is a former Riley cabinet member; he was director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), a large state agency managing over $240 million per year in federal and state grants. Johnson led Riley's grassroots efforts for his successful bids for Congress in 1996 and Governor in both 2002 and 2006. Johnson has worked closely with the Governor for over a decade.

Last year, Johnson became aware of possible conflicts of interest on the part of the Governor involving the giving of favorable contracts to close relatives and accepting money from Indian tribes involved with gambling while opposing gambling efforts by other parties. As a cabinet member, Johnson was required under Alabama law to report any perceived or actual conflicts of interest. Having both a legal and moral obligation, he made the difficult decision to put aside all party affiliations and friendships and report these conflicts to the U.S. Attorney's office of the Northern District, Alabama, as well as the FBI. He also left the Governor's office.

Upon announcing his candidacy for governor last June, Johnson immediately began receiving a series of threatening letters -- culminating in a death threat -- that he believes were related to his knowledge and reporting of Riley's wrongdoing. In order to stop the increasingly serious threats that had become a growing concern to his wife and children, Johnson went public with the facts and called for an investigation by the Alabama Attorney General and local district attorney's office. A link to Johnson's request for an investigation, a summary of the charges, and copies of the threatening letters can be found at

Among the conflicts raised by Johnson are concerns that the millions of dollars received by the 2002 Riley Campaign for Governor from Mississippi Indian casino owners are shaping the Governor's position on gaming in Alabama and are the catalyst for Riley's 2008 launch of an anti-gambling taskforce. These types of "contributions" precipitated the Jack Abramoff scandal and are still under investigation by the Department of Justice and United States Congress.

In addition to the threatening letters to Johnson's home, a new threat against Johnson has emerged from the Alabama GOP itself in the form of a formal resolution banning him from speaking as a GOP gubernatorial candidate. The GOP resolution, which can be found at, states that because Johnson raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest by a "hard-working and popular" Governor, Johnson should be banned from speaking as a GOP candidate. The resolution, sent to executive committees in all 67 Alabama counties, originated in Johnson's home county which is led by a hand-picked Riley supporter.

The ( campaign calls for full Department of Justice and Congressional investigations into the conflicts of interest raised by Bill Johnson. "This is not the first time that Bob Riley has been tied to corruption," said Restore Justice spokesperson and attorney Kevin Zeese. "His name keeps popping up for his involvement with Jack Abramoff, bags of cash payoffs from Indian casino interests, unethical political patronage, manipulation of his 2002 election, and the targeting of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Now he is trying to silence Bill Johnson, a close insider who witnessed first hand Bob Riley's corrupt activities. Johnson's allegations appear to indicate blatant criminal conduct and obstruction of justice in violation of federal statutes. Clearly, because of Alabama's sad history of corruption and political protection, we demand a high level criminal investigation authorized by the Attorney General."