The narrative that an Alabama environmental group, activists and some journalists sold in November sounded menacing: “Indictments had been brought against Donald Trump
‘s Regional EPA appointee Trey Glenn
and former business partner, Scott Phillips
, a state environmental board member.” But the problem with this narrative, in their own words, is that these charges were an effort of the environmentalists at Alabama’s GASP themselves.
GASP claimed in a November tweet, “Just so y’all know, Gasp made this possible. We were the ones whose presentation was shared by Glenn and Phillips. We paid for the exhibits in PACER so we could piece this story together. We did the leg work and the organizing. We need your support to keep doing it.”
Once GASP “did and the leg work and organizing,” the indictments were spearheaded and pushed for by Ethics Commission lawyer Cynthia Propst Raulston.
If Raulston’s maiden name sounds familiar, it’s because her sister, Stacie Propst
, is the former the Executive Director of GASP.
Stacie Propst and others took issue with the fact that a presentation she was to give before the Alabama Department of Environmental Management
(ADEM) commission, which Phillips sat on, was given to Glenn before the meeting. The presentation, which had been formally submitted to the commission, was already subject to Alabama’s open records laws, but that didn’t stop Propst’s supporters from crying foul once it was brought to light Phillips shared it with Glenn (who then shared it with his clients).
AL.Com’s John Archibald
described Propst’s in a column
decrying the fact it was shared saying, “So Propst walked headlong into a buzz saw. She was, according to videos and minutes of the meeting, greeted with tough questions about data, degrees of health danger and whether you’d have to have a condition that makes you eat dirt to be harmed…”
Certainly, there’s more to the charges being brought than just GASP and their former executive director’s sister, right? Kyle Whitmire from AL.Com broke the news of the indictments with a statement provided by the ethics commission. Whitmire reported, that, “The Alabama Ethics Commission lead the investigation after being asked for help by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.” He supported that with the following statement from the commission.
“The Alabama Ethics Commission is committed to working with Alabama’s District Attorneys, and all enforcement agencies, whenever needed and asked to do so, to ensure enforcement of Alabama’s Ethics laws on behalf of the citizens of Alabama; and these indictments are evidence of that,” Alabama Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton said in a press release.
“I want to recognize the hard work from the Jefferson County DA’s office which requested our assistance in this important matter; and from our office, Cynthia Raulston, the Commission’s General Counsel, as well as Special Agents Dustin Lansford, Byron Butler and Chief Special Agent Chris Clark for their hard work and dedication to the enforcement of our Ethics laws.”
That would be great except, The former Jefferson County DA, Mike Anderton, under penalty of perjury, has filed a formal declaration with the Circuit Court of Jefferson County that directly contradicts Whitmire’s reporting and the referenced Ethics Commission press statement. In it he says that Raulston was behind the entire case and that his office “had no plans to present any related matter to the grand jury.” He goes on to say his entire role in the case was just to facilitate Raulston’s use of the Jefferson County grand jury again, at her repeated request.
Read Anderton’s declaration, as filed, below:
So at the end of the day either the statement and claims from Allbrighton are factually incorrect or the sworn statement from Anderton is. Fortunately, we have the answer to how this all started, the tweet from Gasp says it all.
So what’s next for those involved? At the February 11 arraignment of Glenn and Scott, where the charges were changed and some dropped, the defense filed for dismissal of the case in part for “malicious prosecution.” The judge made it clear that he would hold a hearing on the motion and that Raulston should be prepared to deal with the facts. The facts seem to point very clearly to misconduct on the part of the Ethics Commission and toward malicious prosecution.