Roy Moore, former Alabama chief justice, came to national prominence when he refused to obey a federal court order to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building. Later, he became embroiled in the “gay marriage” issue when he directed Alabama’s probate judges to continue enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Now, Moore is now vying for the U.S. Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General.
By AFP Staff
Judge Roy Moore’s candidacy for Alabama’s Republican U.S. Senate seat, to be decided in a run-off election Sept. 26, got a shot in the arm last week when news outlet “Alabama Today” revealed Luther Strange, Moore’s run-off opponent, has been involved in a company that “sells” visas to get into the United States.
The news outlet revealed that Strange owns nearly 17% of Sunbelt EB-5 Regional Center, which offers a program whereby wealthy foreign nationals can “purchase” visas from real estate developers for $500,000. Under the program, those foreign nationals, their spouses, and their unmarried children under age 21 are able to apply for green cards.
More than 80% of the 2016 EB-5 visas were given to mainland Chinese investors.
Strange, a former Washington lobbyist, also asked the state legislature to weaken a law that applied to illegal immigration and sanctuary cities when he was the state’s attorney general in 2011. Federal courts had already eliminated some provisions of the law.
Last month, Moore won a three-way primary with 39% of the vote. Strange was second with 33%. Only 20% of Republicans voted for Rep. Mo Brooks. Brooks has endorsed Moore, but the establishment is behind Strange.
As AFP goes to press, President Donald Trump said he will be campaigning with Strange.
The winner of this week’s primary will face a Democrat on Dec. 12 to fill the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who was appointed U.S. attorney general by President Trump.
Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, multiple energy and insurance PACs, Washington lobbyists, and Alabama businesses have either endorsed or provided funding to Strange’s $3.2 million war chest. Moore has only raised some $459,000. Democrat Doug Jones has $288,000 in the bank.
Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU) called on the feds to investigate Strange’s involvement in alleged corruption and the trampling of the civil rights of a father of four young children who was allegedly targeted, falsely arrested, and defamed by one of Strange’s most ardent financial and political supporters.
Then-Attorney General Strange entered a friend of the court brief in a matter against banking collections business lawyer Burt Newsome in August 2016—two years after a judge had cleared Newsome in a criminal case.
Newsome filed a civil suit in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Ala., last month alleging a conspiracy involving malicious prosecution, abuse of process, defamation, several instances of intentional interference with a business or contracted relationship, and more. Part of the evidence is a disappearing voter registration record. Unfortunately, Judge Carole Smitherman sealed the case, allowing for secret proceedings.
Strange’s filing helped the law firm of Balch & Bingham, one of the alleged co-conspirators, gain precedence to reopen the criminal case in Alabama, CDLU suggests. “Strange’s top political advisor and former campaign manager, Jessica Garrison, was ‘of counsel’ at Balch until this past spring, a known revolving-door for political operatives,” said K.B. Forbes, executive director of CDLU.
Smitherman and Strange received more than $15,000 from Balch’s PAC in previous campaigns.