In recent months, a political bribery scandal has gripped Alabama involving the state's largest coal company and the powerful, politically connected law firm it retained to fend off a federal effort to clean up a badly polluted North Birmingham neighborhood--an undertaking that could result in major financial liability for the company. The controversy has already ensnared one state lawmaker, and it has cast attention on the actions of other Alabama politicians, including the one ultimately responsible for overseeing the bribery case and potential environmental litigation: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But his ties to Drummond and Balch extend beyond the usual political contributions. Last year, according to documents obtained by Mother Jones and the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, Sessions intervened to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency action at issue in the bribery case, and he did so just weeks after conferring with Balch lawyers. Sessions could potentially be a witness for the prosecution in the case his agency has been overseeing. And that would pose a serious conflict of interest. Yet Sessions, who filled a key Justice Department position with a Balch lawyer and who was prepped for his confirmation hearing by an attorney at the firm, has so far taken no steps to recuse himself.
Oct-25-2017, 11:55:02 GMT