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Friday, May 29, 2009

Riley's Office: 'Davis Too Busy Playing Politics'

Gov. Bob Riley’s office is firing back at U.S. Rep. Artur Davis over a letter that he sent today about the state's administration of stimulus funding.

In a press release from the office, Riley's office accused Davis, who is running for governor, of not knowing much about the federal stimulus bill Davis voted for, on not being aware that Alabama is ahead of federal requirements on transparency, on not being aware of transportation projects being funded in his district and for being too busy playing politics to call the governor to express concerns.

Riley’s Communications Director Jeff Emerson issued the following statement in response to a letter to the governor that Davis released to the media:

“This is obviously more about the congressman’s campaign for governor than anything else. His own poll numbers revealed that after running for governor for more than a year, he was barely ahead of a candidate who hadn’t even announced yet. Plus, the fact that he issued this “letter” as a press release before he actually sent Governor Riley a letter is further proof that this is just a campaign gimmick. There’s no basis for his complaints. None. Not only has Alabama reported every stimulus dollar it has received, we have done it before Congress requires us to. The stimulus law Congressman Davis voted for but did not read doesn’t require states to report spending on stimulus dollars until Oct. 10. Alabama is already complying with every reporting requirement and is already reporting how it is spending stimulus dollars. If the congressman believes stimulus money is not flowing to people quickly enough, he needs to scoot on down to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and complain about that. It’s been three months since the law was signed and the Obama Administration has paid out less than 6 percent of the money to the states. Officials from the Riley Administration have previously met with Congressman Davis’s staff to discuss stimulus dollars. They raised none of these concerns at the time. He’s apparently not paying attention to the transportation projects being funded in his district. Just today, the Alabama Department of Transportation is accepting bids for projects in Wilcox, Sumter, Marengo, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties totaling up to $11.6 million. In addition, the Alabama Department of Transportation has submitted and approved stimulus road projects in every single county in the congressman’s district. All this information is available online and has been for some time. The congressman states something else in his press release that he knows is absolutely not true. Governor Riley did not “reject” stimulus dollars. The law Congressman Davis voted for but did not read makes Alabama ineligible to receive these dollars under our current state law. Maybe he should’ve offered an amendment to make Alabama eligible, but he didn’t. Since the Legislature did not pass a bill to make Alabama eligible for this money, our state can’t receive it. It is not up to Governor Riley. Anytime the congressman wants to really discuss an issue – instead of pulling a campaign publicity stunt – he knows all he has to do is call Governor Riley.”

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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