AG: USS Alabama Trump rally inquiry timeline by Battleship Commission ‘signaled that a decision had already been made’; Commission chairman denies
Earlier this week, a report from Mobile’s NBC 15 revealed the Alabama Republican Party was denied an opportunity to hold an event that would have featured former President Donald Trump during the Fourth of July weekend.
USS Alabama Battleship Commission chairman Bill Tunnell told NBC 15 given it was considered to be a partisan political event rather than just a patriotic event, the commission hesitated to approve the event and, given the time constraints, efforts to hold the event ceased.
Part of the procedure to determine the legality of such an event, as suggested by Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration, was to seek an opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall, who said in June 16 response to the Commission that Commission property could be used for a “partisan political event” with certain conditions.
“Accordingly, the Commission may allow Commission property to be used for a ‘partisan political event’ provided that access to use the property is available for all political parties and candidates on an equal basis and subject to the same reasonable scheduling restrictions,” the letter said.
However, Marshall’s letter questioned the need given the event did not appear to be associated with a “candidate for office.”
“Note, however, that the above analysis may be superfluous to the case at hand, given that the event does not appear to be associated with a candidate for office,” it continued.
Response as follows:
In a comment given to Yellowhammer News, Marshall said the timing of the inquiry suggested the commission had already made their decision on the matter.
“As the letter states, my Office received an opinion request a mere 20 days before the event in question was to be held,” Marshall said. “We immediately responded to say that the event could be lawfully held, but the timing of the request signaled that a decision had already been made.”
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 on Tuesday, Tunnell denied the Commission had already determined not to allow the event to take place. He walked through his version of the timeline and said the circumstances, including limitations of using the U.S. Postal Service, led to the prolonged sequence of events.
He also raised the possibility of the Battleship Commission banning all political events, public and private, at its August meeting.
“The way it stands now, the Battleship Commission will meet in August,” he said. “It does not meet normally in July. We do not meet in August. And the Commission will discuss whether at that time, obviously what’s led up to that point, and we change our policy, or we stand steadfast behind that policy and just don’t do any political events at all, including private events. That would be the attorney general says you can do these things if you treat everybody equally. Well, that would certainly be treating everybody equally.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.