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"Unclean money"

Roy S. Moore's coattails would not seem to have much to recommend them. He is not on any ballot. He is, by his own description, unemployed. He was booted from his last job, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, by an ethics panel.

But a group of candidates in the June 1 Republican primaries in Alabama is scrambling to show devotion to Mr. Moore, who became a hero to many Christian conservatives last year when he refused to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state courthouse. Mr. Moore is appearing in other people's campaign commercials. He is quoted in their brochures. And on the trail, candidates wear glinting lapel pins in the shape of two stone tablets. ...

But the Business Council of Alabama, which supports Justice Brown, opposes the Moore slate. And the business council's traditional antagonists, the trial lawyers, have poured nearly $1 million into the coffers of the three Moore advocates running for the Supreme Court, said the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, a group in favor of tort reform. The trial lawyers generally do not spend much money in Republican primaries. A spokesman for the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association did not return calls for comment.

Dr. Larry Powell, a professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham who studies political campaigns, said that alliance was a marriage of convenience: the trial lawyers, he said, were spoilers trying to help candidates more likely to lose in the general election. And the public will not much care whom the candidates took money from, he said. "It just cuts into their credibility in terms of their ideological purity within the party itself," he said.

John W. Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, said he was disappointed by the contributions. "I have told them all along that if they take this money they are no longer the Judge Roy Moore slate; they will be publicized as the personal injury trial lawyers' slate," he said. "These are very fine Christian people and they are my friends, but they're taking unclean money." -- The Big Name in Alabama's Primary Isn't on the Ballot (New York Times)