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Alabama: RGA sez it did not give gambling money to Riley

The Birmingham News reports: Gov. Bob Riley, an anti-gambling candidate, did not receive gambling contributions routed through party groups in his 2002 campaign, national GOP officials said Tuesday.

The Republican Governors Association insisted that national party money sent in 2002 to Riley and the Alabama Republican Party did not come from corporate donors, including former Riley aide Michael Scanlon, whose work for tribal gambling interests is under federal investigation. RGA officials said they have researched their campaign accounts and determined that the money sent to Riley and the state party came from individual donors, not corporations. ...

RGA filed the amended financial records more than a year after Riley's victory in 2002. The records showed two $250,000 contributions. The money came from Capitol Campaign Strategies, Scanlon's Washington firm, which represented Indian tribes with casinos, including the Mississippi Choctaws. The checks were received by the RGA a few days before the election between Riley and Siegelman.

The RGA during that same time transferred huge sums to the Republican National State Elections Committee, which disbursed the money to state candidates and parties around the country, including Riley. In fact, the committee was a major contributor to Riley's campaign in 2002, giving more than $2.5 million.

Scanlon's company gave a total of $500,000 to RGA on Oct. 17 and Oct. 22. On Oct. 17, the Republican state elections committee gave $350,000 to Riley's campaign and $150,000 to the Alabama Republican Party. On Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, Riley's campaign received another $300,000 from the committee, records show. ...

In addition to questions about whether gambling money was helping finance Riley's race against Siegelman, Scanlon's political work is of interest because of the recent indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas on campaign finance-related charges. Scanlon, who also worked as an aide to DeLay, is under investigation along with lobbyist Jack Abramoff for charging exorbitant amounts to Native American clients. The Department of Justice and a Senate committee are investigating. -- Group: Riley contributions not from gambling