Troy King

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Troy King
Photo courtesy Office of the Alabama Attorney General
45th Alabama Attorney General
In office
2004 – January 2011
Preceded by William H. Pryor, Jr. (R)
Succeeded by Luther Strange
Personal details
Born ( 1968-08-22) August 22, 1968 (age 46)
Elba, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Paige King
Children 3
Residence Montgomery, Alabama
Occupation Attorney
Religion Baptist

Troy Robin King (born August 22, 1968) is the former attorney general of the state of Alabama, United States. He previously served as an assistant attorney general and a legal adviser to both Republican governors Bob Riley and Fob James. King was appointed by Governor Bob Riley in 2004, when William Pryor resigned to accept a federal judgeship. He then defeated Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson, Jr., in the 2006 election by a 54-46% margin.[1] He sought a second term but was defeated in the Republican primary, securing 40 percent of the vote to the roughly 60 percent by Luther Strange.

Personal[edit]

King was born in Elba, Alabama where his father was a real estate agent. King credits his interest in politics to being told at age 10 by his father that a canceled family vacation was the fault of President Jimmy Carter.[2] He is a Baptist. King received his undergraduate degree from Troy University and is a 1994 graduate of the University of Alabama Law School.[3] Numerous references have been published accusing Mr. King of an extra-marital affair with a young male aide which hurt his political aspirations. Mr. King denies the affair took place.[4]

Issues[edit]

Pharmaceutical pricing[edit]

In January 2005, Attorney General King filed a suit against 79 of the nation’s leading pharmaceutical companies for defrauding the state Medicaid agency. King accused the companies of misrepresenting and inflating wholesale drug costs charged to Alabama, costing hundreds of millions in overpayments by Alabama taxpayers.[5] In April 2008, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state, allowing more than one pharmaceutical company to be tried at the same time in the proceedings,[6] allowing the state to try the remaining cases faster. While the state tried at least four cases and received favorable verdicts totaling several hundred million, and negotiated settlements of $89 million,[7] and as of May 2009, King had won nearly $300 million in jury verdicts and settlements,[8] on October 16, 2009, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the verdicts entered against the pharmaceutical companies and rendered judgment in their favor. "The court ruled 8-1 that the state did not have to rely on the drug companies' information in deciding what prices to pay pharmacists for prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients. The justices said state officials could have done their own research and determined the correct price."[9]

Tracking sex offenders[edit]

King brought attention to the need for new laws requiring the tracking of released sex offenders by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet (the kind used by parolees and others under judicial monitoring) during the 2005 Legislative Session. He continued to wear the bracelet until the legislature passed tougher laws requiring the monitoring of parolees and convicted sex offenders.[10]

Gambling investigation and controversy[edit]

Background[edit]

King made opposition to gambling a theme of his tenure. In addition to prosecuting several local electronic gambling operations and introducing anti-gambling legislation in every session of the legislature since becoming the attorney general, he also opposed gambling expansion for the Native American tribes in Alabama.[11] In 2006, King asked the United States Department of the Interior to deny an application by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to expand their gaming operations in Alabama.[12] King later filed a lawsuit against the department to keep it from pressuring Alabama to permit video gaming on Alabama reservations.[13]

Conflict with Governor Riley[edit]

In 2009, however, King found himself in conflict with Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Riley argued that there is no distinction between electronic bingo machines and slot machines, which are illegal in the state. King has insisted that although he objects to any form of gambling, Alabama has approved several constitutional amendments which have legalized the machines. King's office has issued an opinion in line with previous federal court rulings which establish that there can be an electronic version of common games, such as the card game, Solitaire, which can also be played on a computer.[14] On June 28, 2009, the Birmingham News reported that King did not reference findings from the National Indian Gaming Commission in his 2004 report on gambling, which stated that some of Alabama's electronic bingo machines appeared to be class three gambling devices. King said that the only factors to consider are if the constitutional amendments approved by the citizens have legalized these machines, and whether the National Indian Gaming Commission considers the machines Class Three or Class Two is a federal designation and not relevant under Alabama law. Riley said, "I think the reason it has expanded exponentially across the state is because the attorney general has given a legitimacy or creditability by saying he thinks it is legal, and he is wrong."[15] King said that to interpret the change of games from paper gambling to electronic gambling would be judicial activism. The Birmingham News agreed with King that the best body to decide this matter is the state's legislature, but that body had been in a deadlock over the issue for years.[16] Both the governor and the attorney general filed briefs before the Alabama Supreme Court asking for a decision on the legality of the machines.[17]

November 2009 Alabama Supreme Court ruling[edit]

In November 2009 the Alabama Supreme Court released a decision on the Whitehall Bingo Case, establishing a six-point test for electronic bingo, thereby ruling that electronic bingo could exist in Alabama, but that is must meet the six-point test. Both the attorney general and the governor had mixed reactions. King felt the decision helped his position, but noted questions still lingered when he spoke to the Birmingham News: ""We have a clearer test. We do not have a clear test." More cases are expected to be filed and everyone expects the battle for electronic bingo to continue.[18] The next week, King issued a letter to the state's district attorneys, asking them to enforce the new test issued by the Supreme Court, saying he was confident that they would do so. More challenges and more lawsuits were expected and King reiterated his feeling that the only long term solution to gambling is for the Legislature to "give the people of Alabama the chance to vote yes or no."[19]

May 2010 Alabama Supreme Court ruling[edit]

On May 21, 2010, the Alabama Supreme Court handed down a finalized ruling that answered lingering questions in the gambling debate between King and Governor Riley. The court's ruling had two components: first, that the governor does indeed maintain the constitutional authority to approve law enforcement actions without the approval of the attorney general, and second, that any law enforcement operation conceived and operated by the governor cannot be seized by the attorney general, and any previously seized operations must be immediately turned over to the governor's appointed special counsel.[20] The relevant section of the Supreme Court ruling states that "we hold that the actions of the attorneys and other officers authorized by Governor Riley to act in this case are not “nullities,” despite the lack of approval by the attorney general and the district attorney, and that the attorney general may not take over or countermand the litigation efforts of those officers in either the trial court or in this Court. The counsel authorized by the governor have the right to represent the state in this case and to see it through to completion." [21]

Death penalty stance[edit]

King is also a staunch proponent of the death penalty. When many states voluntarily suspended executions during U.S. Supreme Court litigation over lethal injection, King continued to seek setting execution dates in Alabama.[22] King's support of the death penalty created a controversy when, in 2007, a district attorney in suburban Birmingham supported commuting the death sentence of an accomplice in a case in which the actual shooter had escaped the death penalty because he was a juvenile. King received support in the controversy from the victim's family,[23] and from death penalty supporters,[24] for his efforts to seek the death penalty for the accomplice. The incident led a wide, bipartisan coalition of local district attorneys, as well as newspaper editorials, to criticize King.[25]

Voter fraud investigations[edit]

King launched a series of voter fraud investigations as a result of complaints following state and local elections. The probe included an indictment against the Hale County former circuit clerk,[26] officials in Evergreen following a municipal election[27] and Perry County officials following complaints registered with the Secretary of State after the mayoral runoff in Marion.[28] King also launched investigations into Bullock, Jackson and Lowndes counties but claimed obstruction by the federal government,[29] prompting the Mobile Press-Register to publish an editorial calling for the Department of Justice to cooperate with King.[30]

Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1998[edit]

After his appointment as attorney general in 2004, King replaced former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor as defendant in the case of Williams v. Morgan.[31] This case unsuccessfully sought to enjoin the state of Alabama from enforcing the Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1998, a law prohibiting the sale of any “device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs,” commonly known as “sex toys.”[32] As the state's attorney general, King defended the law.[33] King’s stance was praised by religious conservatives, but it also subjected him to considerable criticism from editorial writers and civil liberties advocates, one of which mailed King an inflatable pig sex toy.[34]

Formal recusal of the Attorney General's Office while investigating Alabama community college system[edit]

In late 2006, King was forced to recuse his entire office from the ongoing investigation of abuses in the Alabama community college system when it emerged that he had asked community college chancellor Roy Johnson to hire the mother of one of King's employees. It later emerged that King had also asked Johnson for community college system financial support for Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL), an international advocacy group composed of Alabama families who have been addressing crime victims' needs [35]—and a group which has supported King.[36] King's office continued to provide investigative support, which resulted in a guilty plea by Johnson in the related federal investigation.[37]

Accusations of improper receipt and gift reporting[edit]

In early 2007, an investigative article published by The Birmingham News revealed that King and a group from his church had accepted free tickets, food and skybox access to an Atlanta Braves baseball game from Alabama Power Company the previous season. Alabama Power had not reported the gifts to appropriate ethics agencies, as required, until contacted by the News. King attended the game with his family and church friends. The total food bill was more than $1,200 for everyone in King's group, plus others in attendance. The skybox normally rented for $2,400 a day.[38] Because King, as attorney general, was legally responsible for representing Alabama Power customers before the Alabama Public Service Commission he was criticized by The Birmingham News for accepting the gifts.[39] King reimbursed Alabama Power $486 for his family's food, but did not reimburse it for food eaten by the company's other guests, including his church group. King denied wrongdoing in the matter and argued that Alabama Power was responsible for reporting the matter and should have done so appropriately.[40]

Anthony Castaldo perjury incident[edit]

Later in 2007, Anthony Castaldo, a former investigator with the attorney general's office was charged with perjury by District Attorney David Barber.[41] During the trial, Castaldo submitted an affidavit that King ordered him to investigate a Birmingham-area judge for political reasons. Castaldo also alleged that he was punished when a year-long investigation showed no evidence of wrongdoing by the judge.[42] After other investigators took over the case, King secured an indictment against the judge, but the charges against the judge were later dismissed.[43] Castaldo was acquitted of the perjury charge and later resigned his position within the attorney general's office.

Staff salaries[edit]

In 2008, an investigative story by The Birmingham News reviewed the salaries paid by King to members of his staff. One aide to King was being paid $57,504 a year–-almost the salary for starting lawyers—within three months of graduating from college. This staffer was initially paid $39,456 a year as an "intern" while still enrolled in college. The department's chief of staff said that the aide in question traveled extensively with the attorney general and "is almost indispensable in terms of the many functions he carries out in this office." King's salary of $164,000 is tied by law to that of the Supreme Court Justices who, along with King, are among the highest paid in the nation.[44] King was criticized in a newspaper editorial by The Montgomery Advertiser saying the salaries were "out of line for their experience and qualifications."[45] King did not change the salaries.

Gasoline price gouging investigation[edit]

In September 2008, in the aftermath of hurricanes Gustav and Ike, King's office began processing more than 2,500 complaints regarding gasoline prices under Alabama's price gouging statutes.[46] A month later, a King spokesman said the investigations remained "ongoing" as the prices begin to return to lower levels.[47]

Defeated in race for second term[edit]

After having been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2010, King announced his re-election campaign for attorney general on March 9, 2009.[2][48][49] King was an early supporter of the 2008 presidential campaign of Arizona Senator John McCain and served as the Alabama chair of the McCain campaign.[50] King was defeated in a landslide by Luther Strange in the GOP primary on June 1, 2010.[51]

Professional experience[edit]

  • Legal Advisor, Governor Bob Riley, 2003–2004
  • Assistant Attorney General, 1999–2003
  • Deputy Executive Secretary, 1997–1999
  • Acting Executive Secretary, 1997
  • Deputy Legal Advisor, 1995–1997
  • Legal Advisor, 1995.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Mission Accomplished for Attorney General". The Montgomery Advertiser. November 8, 2006. p. A-2. 
  2. ^ a b "King Relies on Small-town Values as He Mulls a Gubernatorial Run". Mobile Press-Register. November 24, 2008. p. A1. 
  3. ^ "Troy King". Alabama State Bar Directory. 
  4. ^ "McCain runs from the Troy King scandal". Daily Kos. 
  5. ^ "Alabama becomes 18th state to sue over pricing of drugs ALABAMA MEDICAID State sues drug makers over pricing". The Press-Register. January 8, 2005. p. 1B. 
  6. ^ "Court clears way for trial against drug companies". The Press-Register. April 19, 2008. p. 1B. 
  7. ^ "Drug Lawsuit State to Receive $89 Million". The Press-Register. May 23, 2009. p. 1B. 
  8. ^ "MEDICAD Settlement details finalized". The Press-Register. December 24, 2008. p. 1B. 
  9. ^ "Ala. Court Rejects $274M Verdicts In Drug Cases". The Associated Press. 
  10. ^ "Law and Order Measures Big at Session". The Huntsville Times. July 28, 2005. p. 1B. 
  11. ^ "Alabama Gambling Taskforce". The Birmingham News. March 27, 2009. p. A12. 
  12. ^ "King Opposes Gambling Request". The Montgomery Advertiser. July 30, 2006. p. B3. 
  13. ^ "Judge Agrees to Let Creek Indians Join Gambling Lawsuit". Mobile Press-Register. April 28, 2008. p. B1. 
  14. ^ "Rift between AG, Governor." WSFA TV Montgomery available at http://www.wsfa.com/global/story.asp?S=10191697
  15. ^ "AG Troy King, Gov. Bob Riley Sparr Over Bingo Report. Birmingham News available at http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/06/ag_troy_king_gov_bob_riley_spa.html
  16. ^ "Alabama courts need to resolve quickly the fight over electronic bingo." Birmingham News available at http://blog.al.com/birmingham-news-commentary/2009/06/our_view_alabama_courts_need_t.html
  17. ^ http://www.al.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-27/1245609451126140.xml&storylist=alabamanews
  18. ^ "Alabama Attorney General Troy King: Supreme Court bingo ruling helps, but questions linger" Birmingham News available at http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/11/post_215.html
  19. ^ "King asks 18 district attorneys to enforce bingo ruling" Gadsden Times available at http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20091117/NEWS/911179990/1016/NEWS?Title=King-asks-18-district-attorneys-to-enforce-bingo-ruling
  20. ^ [1], Bloomberg Business Week
  21. ^ [2], Supreme Court of the State of Alabama
  22. ^ "Editorial: Hop on the Execution Train: Ol' Troy's Revving to Go". The Anniston Star. April 23, 2008. 
  23. ^ "The Birmingham News". September 21, 2007. p. 5C. 
  24. ^ "Letter to the Editor: Editorial Should Embolden King's Case". The Birmingham News. September 18, 2007. p. 6A. 
  25. ^ "Editorial: Troy King's War". The Birmingham News. October 29, 2007. p. 6A. 
  26. ^ "Former Hale County Circuit Clerk Arrested on Voter Fraud". The Press-Register. March 19, 2008. p. 1A. 
  27. ^ "Runoff Voting Records Seized". The Press-Register. November 1, 2008. p. 1A. 
  28. ^ "Perry Complaint of Voter Fraud Made". The Press-Register. July 18m 2008. p. 1B.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  29. ^ "Alabama AG Says Justice Department Obstacle in Voting Probe". The Press-Register. June 24, 2008. p. 1A. 
  30. ^ "Opinion:Cooperation Needed in Voter Fraud Probe". The Press-Register. June 28, 2008. p. 8A. 
  31. ^ Williams v. Morgan, 478 F.3d 1316 (11th Cir. 2007).
  32. ^ Ala. Code § 13A-12-200.2(a)(1)
  33. ^ "Ban on Sex Toys Targeted". Mobile Press-Register. December 4, 2007. p. A1. 
  34. ^ "Woman Fighting King on Sex Toys". Mobile Press-Register. November 14, 2007. p. A1. 
  35. ^ About VOCAL International
  36. ^ "State AG Solicited Target of Inquiry". The Birmingham News. January 28, 2007. p. 1A. 
  37. ^ "Johnson Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks". The Birmingham News. April 1, 2008. p. 1A. 
  38. ^ "King Used Alabama Power Sky box.". The Birmingham News. January 14, 2007. p. 1A. 
  39. ^ "Editorial: No Interests in Conflicts". The Birmingham News. April 8, 2007. p. 2B. 
  40. ^ "Alabama Power Only Reported Gift Following Newspaper Query". Mobile Press-Register. January 15, 2007. p. B2. 
  41. ^ "Castaldo Trial Begins Today". The Birmingham News. March 5, 2007. p. 2B. 
  42. ^ "AG King Led 'Witch Hunt' to Remove Bessemer Judge, Investigator Says". The Birmingham News. September 11, 2007. p. 1A. 
  43. ^ "Indictment Against King Dismissed". The Birmingham News. October 17, 2007. p. 1A.  (The judge's name was also "King.")
  44. ^ "AG King Boosts Top Aides’ Salaries". The Birmingham News. July 27, 2008. p. 11A. 
  45. ^ "Editorial: King's Pay Practices Questionable". The Montgomery Advertiser. August 7, 2008. p. A7. 
  46. ^ "State AG Office Receives Gouging Complaints". The Anniston Star. September 18, 2008. p. 1. 
  47. ^ "Area Gas Prices Finally Return to Lower Levels". The Anniston Star. October 22, 2008. p. 1. 
  48. ^ "Hubbard Keeping Options Open for 2010". Opelika-Auburn News. January 18, 2008. 
  49. ^ "King to run for AG in 2010". Press-Register. March 13, 2009. 
  50. ^ "Presidential Fever". The Huntsville Times. November 9, 2007. p. 8A. 
  51. ^ http://www.local15tv.com/news/local/story/Troy-King-Defeated-in-Attorney-General-Race/7gF3sgLoeUC-qRR_wyNZkg.cspx

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Pryor
Attorney General of Alabama
2004 – 2011
Succeeded by
Luther Strange