By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In his last-ditch effort to build momentum in Tuesday’s runoff race, former Attorney General Troy King rolled out a series of late endorsements from recognizable Republican names, including Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and former State Rep. and Trump Alabama campaign chairman Perry Hooper, Jr.
But the biggest name to throw his support behind King at the very end was Roy Moore, the former Alabama Chief Justice and erstwhile U.S. Senate candidate.
In a mail advertisement sent to 50,000 Alabama voters, Moore described King as “the leadership we need.”
“I fully support Troy King for the office of Attorney General. He has the leadership, experience, and dedication to do an outstanding job,” Moore says.
Moore’s endorsement of King was a surprise to some because the two seemed to have opposing legal views on gambling. In fact, as Chief Justice, Moore repeatedly ruled against the arguments supported by King that led to the proliferation slot machine casinos in Alabama.
As Attorney General in the mid-2000s, King held that Alabama’s charity bingo amendments allowed for slot machine-like “electronic bingo” games despite state statutes outlawing any such devices. His infamous feud with then-Gov. Bob Riley led to dramatic legal showdowns and even a federal corruption trial over an attempt to pass pro-casino legislation.
In late June, AL.com’s Lily Jackson reported that King’s campaign received about $90,000 from out-of-state companies with ties to gambling.
Now, a closer look into the endorsement raises even more questions about Moore, King and the issue of gambling.
The mail piece was paid for by Christian Conservative Values PAC, a newly registered political committee with the stated purpose “TO SUPPORT CANDIDATES AND ISSUES THAT PROMOTE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE VALUES AND MORALS,” according to its filing on the Secretary of State’s Electronic Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) Reporting System.
That group sounds about right for Moore, whose career in public service has been defined by his moral crusades on issues related to his Christian beliefs.
However, the group’s name might belie its true purpose.
On its July 13 campaign finance report, Christian Conservative Values PAC shows one expenditure and one contribution, both for $10,000. The expenditure was to WT&S Consulting to pay for the Moore mailer. The contribution was from Anchor Management, a Las Vegas-based slot machine and gambling systems company.
According to its Bloomberg profile, Anchor “serves as a diversified gaming technology company for states, municipalities, and gaming programs around the world. The company’s operations are conducted under three divisions: gaming machines, gaming operations, and gaming systems. The gaming machine segment develops and places proprietary games in third party casinos.”
Before being acquired by International Gaming Technologies in 2001, Anchor’s Wall Street trading acronym was SLOT.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Christian Conservative Values PAC Chairman and Treasurer Heather Wilson confirmed that the political committee had financed the Roy Moore mailer but declined to answer any questions about the advertisement or the donation from Anchor. She requested that questions be submitted by email, but did not respond when they were.
Moore’s endorsement of King was originally posted on Facebook pages affiliated with the judge, but those posts have since been removed.
Through a spokesman, Roy Moore’s wife Kayla denied having any knowledge that the $10,000 pro-King advertisement was paid for by a slot machine company.
“Judge Moore supported Troy King because of his longtime support for Judge Moore,” his wife said. “Judge Moore had nothing to do with the financial details or the mailer. Judge Moore stopped video poker gambling in Alabama during his first term as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Judge Moore has never supported gambling nor has gambling ever supported him.”
Leaders of Alabama’s Christian conservative community hope that is the case.
Dr. Joe Godfrey, president of Alabama Citizens Action Program, said he had heard rumors of the endorsement’s ties to gambling this week.
“I have learned through the years that a lot of things are said and done in the name of Christianity that are not Christ-like,” he said. “I would hope that Roy Moore was deceived. If he was not, I am very disappointed in his involvement with gambling. Gambling preys on those least able to lose money in their lives and is based on deception.”
A spokesperson for the King campaign declined comment for this article.