Ethics commission finds probable cause Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison violated ethics law

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Ethics Commission has found probable cause that Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison violated Alabama Ethics Law. His case will be turned over to the Madison County District Attorney's Office for review.

The ethics commission did not specify in their hearing  Wednesday what the specific allegation is against Harrison.

But Harrison, who's been on the Madison County Commission since 2004, said the matter is just "political ado."

He said it involves an email he received from a Birmingham-based vendor who was providing robocall work for his 2016 reelection campaign. Harrison said he received the email on his Madison County account and forwarded to someone in Madison County who had the list of numbers the vendor needed.

But, that could violate Alabama Ethics Law concerning the use of government equipment or personnel for personal gain.

Harrison said he notified the commission that the matter had been reviewed by the Madison County personnel department and Madison County Attorney Jeff Rich.

Rich told WHNT News 19 today that the county cooperated with the commission's investigation and provided its policy on the use of computers, phones and other electronic equipment. And through the personnel department, Rich said, they provided an opinion that no violation occurred based on Harrison's limited use of county email in the matter.

The Alabama Ethics Commission operates under grand jury secrecy, which means they are limited in what they can disclose about cases they review. The body also serves the function of a grand jury, hearing evidence and deciding if there is probable cause for prosecution.

The announcement of a possible violation means the commission thinks there  is enough evidence that he broke the law to move forward. The commission's typical recommendation to the DA's office suggests the matter should be handled criminally or administratively -- prosecutors are not bound by that recommendation -- but there was no indication of a recommendation on Harrison during Wednesday's meeting.

Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard said he hasn't received the complaint.

Harrison said he welcomes a review by the DA's office.



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