Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced a fresh effort to crack down on public corruption, touting a partnership between multiple state agencies, including a new division of the Attorney General’s office created for the purpose.
A statement released by Strange’s office emphasized the consequences of “[c]rimes involving the breach of trust by public officials and employees.” The statement asserted the importance of combating the misuse of taxpayer money, citing the “scarce resources” available to local government.
The partnership consists of both investigators and prosecutors, and will be headed by Special Prosecutor Matt Hart. Agencies represented include the Ethics Commission, the Criminal Justice Information Center, the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Public Safety.
Hart released a statement as well, noting that “[i]nvestigating and prosecuting violations of the public trust is one of the most challenging missions in law enforcement.” Hart also pledged to maintain “the highest standards of professionalism, accountability, and impartiality” as work begins.
The full report from The Birmingham News can be found here.
The efficacy of this partnership remains to be seen. While it may facilitate the exchange of information between various government and law enforcement agencies, it does not, at first glance, appear to change the means by which investigators collect evidence, or the ways in which prosecutors construct their cases. Neither does it appear to address the sharply political undertones of accusations of public corruption, which can influence significantly the course of an investigation.
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