If you’ve ever wondered just how campaign contributions from casinos magically end up in the right hands of decision makers, Jarrod Massey, a casino lobbyist spills the beans during his 9 day tenure on the witness stand of the Alabama gambling corruption trial.
According to court records and the Anniston Star, Massey who pleaded guilty to bribery, used Alabama’s gambling corruption trial to give jurors a lesson Tuesday in how to keep voters from knowing that a candidate’s campaign contributions are from casino interests.
On the stand, Jarrod Massey described how he moved around campaign contributions so they could not be traced back to him and his boss, Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley.
Massey described how he sent his money and Gilley’s money to a series of PACs, where it could be mixed with other contributors’ money or sent to other PACs before donations were given to a candidate.
“They could have moved it multiple times,” he testified according to the Anniston Star.
According to the the Anniston Star, under questioning by a defense attorney for indicted Sen. Quinton Ross, Massey said that though a candidate might be unaware of the origin of the money, he always had “a gentlemen’s agreement” with the PAC operators about which candidates were supposed to get the money and he described how Ross was informed of a contribution.
According to the court records and the Anniston Star, Massey said he arranged for $5,000 of Gilley’s money to go to a PAC operated by Montgomery lobbyist John Teague in early 2009. He then got Teague to write a check for $5,000 from his PAC in June 2009 that was delivered to Ross. He said Ross, a Montgomery Democrat, was told the money originated with Gilley, but no one looking at Ross’ campaign finance reports would be able to trace the donation to Gilley. Gilley has also pleaded guilty.
During the nine day stint on the stand, Massey testified that Gilley had signed an agreement to give him $2.7 million to distribute to candidates in the 2010 elections, but he only got between $270,000 and $300,000 before Gilley’s casino in Dothan was forced to close in January 2010 resulting in Gilley experiencing financial problems.
It is noteworthy that the moves Massey was making weren’t always illegal. In fact, it was only in Decemeber when some of the practices used by Massey were made illegal by the Legislature when it rewrote campaign finance laws to ban the transfer of money between PACs.
Currently, that ban is being challenged in court by the Alabama Democratic Conference.