Thursday, March 15, 2007
On this day:

More Worley stories

Here's a round-up of Alabama press reports on the Worley indictment.
AP: "Worley surrenders on state charges of using office in campaign"

The Montgomery Advertiser: "Nancy Worley booked at Montgomery jail", "Worley alleges GOP 'witch hunt'"

The Huntsville Times: "Former Secretary of State indicted"

The Birmingham News: "Worley faces campaign charge"

Decatur Daily: "Grand jury indicts Worley: Ex-Secretary of State, former Decatur teacher faces charges"
As I said in the last post, it appears that the charges against Mrs. Worley stem from a letter she sent to her employees in April of 2006. The text of that letter follows:
Working together, we have been able to achieve MANY successes in the Secretary of State's office over the past three years. We have also faced several challenges, yet our office is stronger today, more productive, more service-oriented, and more respected than ever before! THANK YOU!

You have probably heard by the state government "grapevine" that I am running for re-election, but I want to ask for your support and your vote in the June 6, 2006, Democratic Primary Election. In 2003, when I entered the Secretary of State's Office, I requested that we not discriminate against anyone because of his/her politics, race, religion, social status, etc. Thus, if you choose to support another candidate, you have every right to make that decision without any problems from me.

I am enclosing an envelope on which you may volunteer, request a yard sign, etc.; however, you may also choose to destroy this envelope. You will be given the same professional respect you have previously been given if you choose the latter.

I will be honored if you will attach the enclosed bumper sticker to your vehicle's bumper or rear window. If you need additional bumper stickers, please call my home/campaign number (555) 555-5555 and leave a message.

Thank you again for your hard work to make the Secretary of State's Office one of the best in state government - in Alabama and throughout the nation.

Sincerely yours,

Nancy Worley
The envelope that Worley included with her letter contained a form that recipients could mail in to her campaign if they wanted to volunteer or contribute money.

Whether any of that violates the law depends - I'm guessing - on how strictly the law is interpreted. The particular law in question states
It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee to solicit any type of political campaign contributions from other employees who work for the officer or employee in a subordinate capacity. It shall also be unlawful for any officer or employee to coerce or attempt to coerce any subordinate employee to work in any capacity in any political campaign or cause.
As I said yesterday, Mrs. Worley should have known better. Still, we need to put this into perspective. From what we know so far, Worley's actions seem to be relatively minor violations of Alabama election law. If this whole case is based on one relatively innocuous letter, a bumper sticker, and a campaign contribution form, it certainly isn't the type of crime that should rise to the level of a felony. If it is a felony, then the law should be changed. Nancy Worley deserves a public rebuke and a slap on the wrist, not time in the slammer.