HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A Birmingham bribery and corruption case out involving a coal company executive, a lawyer, and a state legislator is becoming an issue in the District 5 congressional race. Democratic candidate Peter Joffrion is trying to associate his opponent Congressman Mo Brooks with the corruption.
Joffrion is calling on Brooks to return certain campaign donations he says are associated with convicted felons. Joffrion is referring to Drummond Company VP David Roberson and Balch & Bingham Partner Joel Gilbert. The two were convicted in a corruption and bribery scheme a few weeks ago. Federal prosecutors say the men bribed a state legislator to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency's expansion and cleanup of a Superfund site in North Birmingham.
Joffrion is pointing out that Political Action Committees connected to both Roberson and Gilbert's former employers have donated to Brooks campaign. Joffrion says it's pay to play politics and North Alabama voters should be concerned.
"Both of those PACS have made significant contributions Mo Brooks political campaign war chest over the years. I think a total of $30,000 plus thousand dollars since 2010. $11,000 of that was during the 2014 election cycle, which is the operative time relative to the events that led to the convictions," explains Joffrion.
Congressman Mo Brooks has responded to Joffrion's call to return the donations.
"Once again, Peter Joffrion's struggling campaign resorts to deceit, lies, and unsubstantiated smears in a desperate attempt to become relevant to Tennessee Valley voters. It is outrageous and callous that Peter Joffrion besmirches the good reputation of Balch & Bingham and its 500+ employees or Drummond Coal and it's 6,000 employees, based on the mistakes of two bad apples."
Congressman Brooks also tells WHNT News 19 in three decades of public service he has a perfect record of ethical conduct.
Federal Election Commission records show both men donated to the PACs associated with their former employers in the last year.