No Comment — August 1, 2007, 2:35 pm

A Very Republican Justice: Judge Mark Everett Fuller, Rep. Terry Everett, and others

The legal career of Alabama Judge Mark Everett Fuller, who presided over the conviction and sentencing of former Governor Don Siegelman, has always been linked to the Republican party. Fuller was appointed as a district attorney by G.O.P. Governor Fob James, and appointed to the bench by George W. Bush with the backing of Alabama’s two G.O.P. Senators, Richard Shelby and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

Moreover, throughout his rise Fuller has enjoyed a close relationship with another key Republican political figure: Congressman Terry Everett, a family friend (and the source of the “Everett” in “Mark Everett Fuller”). They both attend the same Baptist church in Enterprise, Alabama, and public records show that Fuller has donated to Everett’s campaigns, and that he has in the past served as Everett’s campaign manager.

everett

Everett, who ran a small empire of local newspapers, was first elected to Congress in 1992, surprising political analysts when he beat Montgomery-based George C. Wallace Jr. (then a Democrat, now a Republican). “One thing that was curious,” a Montgomery-based political observer (who asked not to be identified) told me, was that “suddenly a lot of outside folks started showing up to manage Everett’s campaign; word was that Everett had reached out for top-tier political campaign support, that he had gone out-of-state.”

In any case, Everett is also a political powerhouse, with seats on three committees of vital importance to his constituency: armed services, intelligence, and agriculture. He is one of the most conservative members of the house, with views that seem well in tune with his district. His grounding in world affairs relevant to the intelligence post is, however, subject to some question. The Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein conducted a test of the basic knowledge of key decision-makers about basic facts related to the current war on terror. Among other things, he asked Everett: “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” He reports the answer:

Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: ‘One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.’

One subject about which Everett is extremely well versed and in which he takes a lively interest, however, is Department of Defense contracting. Which raises some questions for his relationship with Mark Fuller, because much of Fuller’s livelihood comes from a closely-held business that is based almost entirely on federal government contracts (which I’ll write about soon).

My own research did not turn up any specific evidence of what Everett did to help Fuller.Any study of defense contracts is complicated by the frequent invocation of national security concerns to obscure the details of contracts, the process by which they are offered, and the functions involved.But a local Alabama journalist, Glynn Wilson of the Locust Fork Journal, has written that Everett has very effectively looked out for Mark Fuller’s business interests, with the result being a recent and dramatic blossoming of government contracts for Fuller:

As for why Fuller might have risked his own legal and political future to help convict Siegelman, the only answer can be a certain arrogance of power, perhaps because Fuller’s own background reveals interesting ties from his college days to Rob Riley, and from their ties as being campaign managers in Washington when Riley ran his dad’s Congressional campaigns and Fuller ran Everett’s. The record also shows he has major ties to the military-industrial complex operating largely out of Enterprise, Alabama, home to Rep. Terry Everett, who basically acts as Fuller’s paid lobbyist in Washington to obtain federal contracts for his defense-related companies.

Fuller’s entrenched relationships with the statewide Republican power base secured him a seat on the Alabama Republican Party’s prestigious Executive Committee. This was an obvious acknowledgement of his heavy engagement in Republican electoral causes. The Center for Investigative Reporting provides the following:

Fuller, Mark E.
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama

Nominated: August 1, 2002 | Confirmed: November 14, 2002

Summary: Prior to joining U.S. District Court, Fuller was a district attorney and active in state Republican politics. Between 1999-2000, he contributed $3,000 to Sen. Shelby and his political action committee. Sens. Shelby and Sessions recommended him for the bench. Overall, Fuller contributed $7,000 to Republican candidates between 1997 and 2001. Fuller also was the chairman of a Republican congressman’s campaign committee for several years up to his nomination, and was formerly a member of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee.

On the Executive Committee, Fuller would have had oversight responsibility for the party’s activities in Alabama—raising money and mobilizing resources to get Republicans elected to office. And during the period of Fuller’s service on the G.O.P. Executive Committee, Don Siegelman emerged as the nightmare of the Alabama G.O.P.. He had been elected to every major state office, sometimes by wide margins, and he enjoyed electoral strength across the state, including in the normally Republican south which Fuller called home and which was otherwise solidly G.O.P. No other Democrats had such broad appeal.

As might be expected, and as the Dana Jill Simpson affidavit shows, Siegelman was a topic of constant and vexed discussion. From his position on the Executive Committee, Fuller must have known that Siegelman was a target of the Alabama Republican Party. So how is it that Fuller, a man whose career is closely (and publicly) tied to the Republican party, did not recuse himself from a case involving a Democratic former governor who had for years been a target of the Republicans?

Judge Fuller has not responded to a request for comment. I’ll update this post if and when he does.

Next… A Scandal Clouds Fuller’s Departure from the DA’s Office: The Grudge

Evan Magruder contributed to this post.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2016

Standing Rock Speaks

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Prose by Any Other Name

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The New Red Scare

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Separated at Birth

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Priest in the Trees

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Lightness

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
With Child·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley
Article
Swat Team·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As we shall see, for the sort of people who write and edit the opinion pages of the Post, there was something deeply threatening about Sanders and his political views."
Illustration (detail) by John Ritter
Article
Escape from The Caliphate·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"When Matti invited me on a tour of the neighborhood, I asked about security. 'The message has already been passed to ISIS that you’re here,' he said. 'But don’t worry. I guarantee I could bring even you in and out of the Islamic State.'"
Photograph (detail) by Alice Martins
Article
In This One·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Illustration (detail) by Shonagh Rae
Article
“Don’t Touch My Medicare!”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Medicare’s popularity, however, comes with almost no understanding of what the program is and how it works."
Illustration (detail) by Nate Kitch

Amount paid last fall for a Ford Escort driven by Pope John Paul II:

$680,000

92 percent of Mexicans are relaxed by a pleasant-smelling bedroom.

Swedish biologists studying coercive mating in mosquitofish discovered that females’ brains get larger as males’ genitals get longer, and male Madagascar hissing cockroaches were found to attract mates with either their enlarged testicles or their enlarged horns.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today