From the AP today:
The mayor of Alabama’s largest city, Larry Langford, was arrested Monday on federal bribery and fraud charges connected to a multibillion-dollar sewer bond deal that has driven the surrounding county to the brink of bankruptcy.
Federal prosecutors in Birmingham said Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre were charged in the 101-count indictment released Monday. The charges also include money laundering and filing false tax returns.
Langford is accused of receiving $230,000 in bribes from Blount, some of them routed through LaPierre, to influence the bond deals while Langford was president of the Jefferson County Commission. Blount’s firm made $7.1 million in fees from the bond work.
Shucky-darn, that sounds serious, if not terribly surprising. Chicago and New Orleans have nothing on Birmingham when it comes to political corruption. But hey, if it’s politics, shouldn’t at least one of these guys be part of a, you know, political party? Let’s check with CNN, the self-described “network of record:”
Larry Langford, 62, is named in an indictment that alleges criminal activity while he was a county commissioner, said U.S. Attorney Alice Martin.
As president of the Jefferson County Commission and head of its department of finance and general services from November 2002 until about November 2006, Langford put his personal affairs ahead of those of the county, Martin said.
“Our investigation has revealed, and the indictment alleges, that Langford sold his public office to his friends and political supporters,” Martin said.
Also named in the 101-count indictment are William Blount, 55, a Montgomery, Alabama, investment banker, and Albert LaPierre, 58, a Birmingham lobbyist, neither of whom returned calls from CNN.
Well, that’s odd. Still no mention of any party affiliation here. In fact, you have to go all the way down to the twelfth paragraph of the story in Langford’s hometown paper to find out that:
Blount, 55, and LaPierre, 58, have long been considered among the best politically connected players in the state. Blount is a former chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, and LaPierre is the former executive director of the party. Langford is a Democrat.
Well, go-lee! They have parties down there after all!
Anybody think those particular bits of information would have been reported by the AP or CNN if you replaced the word “Democratic” with “Republican?”