7 Things: Executive overreach feared in Alabama and beyond, more troops to leave Afghanistan and Iraq, Doug Jones keeps casting irrelevant votes and more …
7. Huntsville CEO indicted
- Paul Daigle, a Huntsville CEO, has been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and false claims. This was in his attempts to defraud the Defense Department in relation to the war in Afghanistan.
- According to investigators, Daigle used underqualified workers, causing the government to overpay for labor, and he told employees to falsify education records. Some of the charges are in relation to false billing where the government was charged for work that wasn’t related to the agreed-upon contract.
6. State Sen. Cam Ward new Pardons and Paroles director
- Governor Kay Ivey has officially announced that State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) will become the new director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles on December 7.
- Ivey noted Ward’s “career as an attorney and public servant,” adding that she’s “confident that his background and experience will position him to closely follow the letter of the law while providing individuals every opportunity possible to rebuild their lives post-incarceration.”
5. Americans want a relief package
- In a new Hill-HarrisX poll conducted from November 10-13, 77% of people want to see a coronavirus relief package passes as soon as possible. Support for another package has seemed to grow as negotiations seem to continue to stall or not happen at all. The survey included 2,762 registered voters.
- In the survey, 23% of people oppose another relief package. Broken up by party, 78% of independents, 89% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans support another relief package. Even 67% of those who say they voted for President Donald Trump support relief.
4. More irregularities and voter issues as the 2020 election goes on
- For the second day in a row, over two thousand votes were found during a hand recount in Fayette County that were not included in the final tally of votes, but Georgia’s secretary of state said there were several backup steps that failed to catch the issue, which he said falls on workers who didn’t follow the procedures. This latest mistake added 1,577 votes for President Donald Trump and 1,128 for Joe Biden.
- In Michigan, two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted against the certification of the general election results. This area has 43 different jurisdictions, including Detroit. The Republican chair of the committee cited incomplete information and unexplained discrepancies between ballots cast and the number of absentee ballots that were counted as reasoning for her vote. Hours later, the two Republicans collapsed under pressure and changed their votes but asked Michigan’s secretary of state to look into the issues they noted hours earlier.
3. Jones continues to vote against Trump
- U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is now on his way out and a “lame duck” senator until January 3, and he’s continued his reputation of irrelevantly voting against President Donald Trump on judiciary picks.
- Most recently, Jones voted against the cloture on the nominations of Kristi Haskins Johnson for the U.S. Southern District of Mississippi, Benjamin Joel Beaton for the U.S. Western District of Kentucky and Toby Crouse for U.S. District of Kansas.
2. Trump pulling more troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan
- America’s seemingly never-ending wars will see fewer troops engaged in them by the time the Trump administration wraps up after President Trump ordered the Pentagon to reduce the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2,500, according to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.
- Resistance to this came from all sides, including inside the Pentagon where leadership has argued that further troop withdrawals will hurt peace talks in Afghanistan and jeopardize the missions that have been going on for long over a decade.
1. Emergency powers under scrutiny at many levels
- As more states move towards lockdowns, the Business Council of Alabama has launched, “Keep Alabama Open,” a program that opposes the potential for a nationwide lockdown and argues Alabama’s leaders can best handle Alabama business. The program commends Governor Kay Ivey for “continuing to exercise thoughtful leadership in this unprecedented time.”
- Baldwin County Republican Party chairman Michael Hoyt recently spoke about the issue of lockdowns and how much emergency power is given to the executive branch of government during these times. Hoyt said, “We don’t elect dictators on the state level, and we don’t on the national level. They do have to be held accountable, and they will by the people.” He also detailed that he’s unhappy with the language in some of the emergency powers granted to the governor in Alabama, saying that “the governor can declare this emergency, and it can be for public health reasons and last for 60 days unless she extends it by proclamation with no end in sight…I think we’ve really got to look from top to bottom at our emergency management statutes and really claw back the authority of the governor’s office and the state health executive. It’s really concerning.”