Alabama governor criticized for gaming proposal

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) is being criticized by his Democratic and Republican rivals for his proposal to limit the expansion of gaming in the state.

State Sen. Lowell Barron (D) is playing up Riley's ties to Jack Abramoff. Riley's former press secretary when he was in the U.S. House was none other than Michael Scanlon, who donated $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association, some of which was funneled to Riley's gubernatorial campaign in 2002. Riley also took $1,000 campaign contribution from Abramoff and his wife in 2000, money he has since given to charity.

At the time, Scanlon was working for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The tribe, owners of a successful gaming enterprise, was trying to prevent the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized tribe in Alabama, from expanding its own gaming business. Riley has balked at negotiating with the tribe for Class III games and his administration has repeatedly questioned the legality of the tribe's casino machines.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Riley's GOP rival for the upcoming primary, is also criticizing Riley. He says Riley is only taking a stance against gaming for political gain.

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