June 24, 2019

Guess what happens when people who operate like Hillary Clinton --- thinking rules don’t apply to them --- take over a bureaucracy. This seems to have happened in Alabama, and it may have been going on a long time. When the new sheriff of Marshall County, Phil Sims, took office in January, he found a cardboard box in a closet containing five smartphones, government issue, with multiple holes drilled all the way through them.

Of course, they probably weren’t under subpoena (though perhaps that’s now subject to change), as Hillary’s devices and those of her aides were. But still.

Sims had defeated longtime Sheriff J. Scott Walls in the June primary election, but this was the first time he’d been allowed to enter his new office. (This reminds me of the time the outgoing administration nailed my office door shut in the Arkansas State Capitol!  It happened.) He saw right away that the iPhones and Androids belonging to the outgoing sheriff and his top people had been destroyed, the hard drives had been removed from the computers, and mass quantities of records were just gone.

Many thousands of dollars were missing, too.

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Nine out of ten incoming Alabama sheriffs interviewed by ProPublica (as part of a year-long investigation they conducted with said that last-minute actions by their predecessors had had negative impact on their offices and, by extension, the public. There was even vandalism –- including juvenile pranks such as pouring raw rice down the drains. The rice had been purchased to feed prisoners, but instead its fate was to swell up with moisture and clog the pipes. The people who did this were allegedly grownups.

Alabama has 67 sheriffs, and they run the show in areas that are outside city limits. These include small towns, unincorporated farmlands and suburbs. The sheriffs get to choose what laws to enforce, whom to arrest, and what assignments their deputies should carry out. They run the county jails and partner with the federal government and other agencies. They may be rural, but some of them are in charge of multimillion dollar budgets.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has cited some of these outgoing sheriffs for abuse of power, and this may be one of those examples of a broken clock being right twice a day.

It appears that there has been a great deal of misappropriation of funds by these sheriffs. They operate their fiefdoms with very little oversight. Six incoming sheriffs have asked for state audits of their offices’ finances and will decide what to do with the results after they see them. Apparently, a lot of money disappeared or was wasted when funds are needed for things like radar detectors, body cams, uniforms, bulletproof vests, tasers and ammo. Sheriff Sims would have bought new handguns for his deputies; the ones they currently carry are over 20 years old. Before they leave office, the outgoing sheriffs typically blow through a lot of money on unnecessary items, apparently to keep the money out of the hands of their successors.

Anyway, the destroyed smartphones and other devices and the corrupt “no-rules-for-me” attitude at work in some of these offices made me think of you-know-who, and we’re reminded of why character counts at every level of government. We know they’re not all going to be Andy Taylor of Mayberry, but the bar certainly needs to be raised. And let’s hope that by the time these incoming sheriffs are ready, in turn, to leave their offices, they won’t have become as jaded and petty as their predecessors.


Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection — ProPublica

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Comments 1-25 of 36

  • Marilynn Hoyt

    06/26/2019 01:04 AM

    Of one thing I am very sure, this didn't happen when Sheriff Joe left office.

  • Bill Goldsby

    06/26/2019 12:41 AM

    I believe it is time that a Federal Law is passed that effectively requires that once the election is certified. The incoming elected official is allocated a space in the office, along with a shadow to all communication to and from the outgoing official! An Audit is done immediately completed for a department or agency the incoming elected official is taking over and any purchases be approved by both outgoing and incoming officials to ensure continuity in the switch over. And also make sure of no misappropriation of funds or equipment!

  • Alison Kingsberry

    06/25/2019 03:21 PM

    This swamp keeps getting bigger...................just think we would all of been kept in the dark had Hillary Clinton won the presidency.

  • Debbie Baxter

    06/25/2019 03:21 PM

    Yes, these acts are very similar to Hillary Clinton's behavior. The deep state just keeps getting deeper!

  • Jen Y.

    06/25/2019 02:38 PM

    Mr. H. I love your newsletters, but I am an avid reader since a child. In this era, many are not readers and I attribute that to the IPhone. I am wondering if there’s a way to shorten your newsletters so that people will read them? My son is a “real” writer for a living and has lived all over the world. He writes very clean with less words because of the very thing I mention that people stop reading, many times, after two minutes. It’s not just the snowflakes. This is a suggestion:) Thanks!!

  • Michael Galloway

    06/24/2019 10:28 PM

    My comment is reference the Iran story. Of course other nations, that are not our allies would want Joe Biden to be the next President. Biden VP of phony Obama, announcing everything about our military plans and maneuvers in advance to our enemies. Obama gave billions to Iran under the worst deal in history and threatened to draw "red lines" in the sand and then do nothing. Obama and Biden did not respect our military, our veterans or our nation. But enemy nations would be thrilled to see incompetent Joe Biden elected in 2020, so they can blackmail and take advantage of the United States. And other nations who are too concerned about political correctness and their open borders would be thrilled to see Joe Biden as the next President, but would be nothing less than disastrous !!!!
    I hope a huge massive conservative majority remembers this when voting in 2020, along with all the other issues and scandals of the Obama/Biden long disastrous eight years, ruining our economy, disrespecting our military and law enforcement, lying to the American people about health care and the list goes on and on.
    Anyone with a half a brain or less would not want to go back to Obama/Biden politics or Democrat politics ever again!!! Just look what the Democrats have done in the last 2 1/2 years and particularly since they took over the House. Don't think for one minute that their agenda would not continue, as it would, and our nation would never be the same. High taxes, corruption, open borders, socialist agenda, weakened military, weakened economy would become again all too common under any Democrat in the White House !!!!
    Stay awake, stay alert and be informed America and don't buy into the mainstream media agenda or the Democrat agenda!!!

  • Anne Turner

    06/24/2019 10:25 PM

    I attended a major Protestant main line church yearly assembly. One speaker who has been the victim of persecution for religious reasons in a foreign country, cautioned that Americans are not prepared for the coming persecution of those who are Christians in this country and that we should prepare. This probably applies to Jews as well, as we can already see anti -semetism resurfacing. A few denominations have succumbed to the liberal line going against once held beliefs. However, many have not. Christians are accused of hate because many cannot accept same sex marriage, trans, etc, plus babies being murdered near birth. Jesus taught us to hate the sin but to love the sinner and I find that to be pretty characteristic of true Christians. We are all sinners and your sin is no worse than mine. It is very hateful to accuse Christians of being hateful. One would have to go very far to be as hateful and nasty as the progressives have become. They truly are becoming deranged. It is almost like a mass hysteria has overcome the country. I am full of fear that one of these people will become President

    The President has many unfortunate personality characteristics, but I do not understand how he can be considered racist. The progressives are really the dividers and thus racist. They keep setting people apart. This administration has equally provided an economy to benefit all. Progressives keep people down, telling them they are a lessor people and need help about everything. It is paternalistic, much like slavery was. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you, you poor downtrodden, incapable people.

  • william morley

    06/24/2019 10:14 PM

    Have a deeply rooted audit, then put them in jail with those they put in there. You can bet they will find that money to buy their way out.

  • Carl Smith

    06/24/2019 09:08 PM

    Anyone remember the outgoing Clinton istas' removing the C's from phones and Computers? Childish you say?

  • Carl Smith

    06/24/2019 09:01 PM

    In most counties in America the Sheriff is THE TOP law Enforcement for the ENTIRE county even over local Police. My understanding is the local Director of Emergency Management ( is appointed ) and in an emergency can tell EVERYONE what to do thus making him/her an UN-Elected CZAR! What Constitutional Protections? We don't need no stinking Constitutional Protections!

  • Joe Wilkerson

    06/24/2019 08:53 PM

    Sounds like a bunch of #good ole boys who have their way way too long.

    On another subject, I just hope Pres. Trump will pull the triger and nuke Irans nuclear sites if and when the time should ever come. I pray for the rapture before then though. This will literally be hell on Earth here.

    God bless you and your family for all the good you've done and are doing


  • Daniel Lach

    06/24/2019 08:16 PM

    In my wildest imagination, I could never have believed that our country is so full of corruption, conspiracy and evil. Sad, Discouraging, its way past time to fight back. I blame it mostly on "progressive" liberal ideas which has slowly but surely eroded a once honest country.

  • joseph orsini PhD

    06/24/2019 06:21 PM

    ILLEGALS will not be stopped by the Dems - they want to get the CENSUS count UP, especially in "Sanctuary Cities". Pelosi's "2 weeks" is just a delaying tactic.

  • Andrea Wilson

    06/24/2019 05:18 PM

    Yes, I live in Mobile and just read that article about the sheriffs last week. I am NOT from Mobile, but it was embarrassing nonetheless. Although, I think it could happen anywhere these days. Aw well, Jesus is returning soon!

  • E. Berniece Evans

    06/24/2019 04:54 PM

    I doubt very much if anything ever happen to Hillary and Bill Clinton, if there had been any real
    evidence even from the beginning, they would now be in Prison!!!

    Berniece Evans

  • Lynn Taylor

    06/24/2019 03:58 PM

    There needs to be accountability after auditing!

  • jack macdonald

    06/24/2019 03:43 PM

    Their parents forgot to teach them morals and this was followed by the failure of our schools to hammer it home. No consequences for those who practice corruption.


    06/24/2019 02:57 PM

    Just like in DC power corrupts. That is why their pay should be halved and their terms limited to no more than four.

  • James Norvell

    06/24/2019 02:50 PM

    Why are we surprised? This is merely ancillary to the two-tiered justice system. Abuse of the justice system, basic rights and the people's money for the benefit of those in power. It is pervasive because there are rarely, to never, consequences.
    Each year, we edge closer and closer to either subjugation or revolution.

  • Gloria Grace Prosper

    06/24/2019 02:42 PM

    Power corrupts. And absolute power...translation: no accountability...corrupts absolutely.

  • Amelia Little

    06/24/2019 02:36 PM

    Wonder what, if any consequences the outgoing sheriffs will face if it is found they are guilty of crimes? Wonder also, if the people of those counties were wanting a new sheriff in town for many years, but might have been "persuaded" to make sure the votes continued to the (corrupt) sheriffs.

  • Robbie Mize

    06/24/2019 02:26 PM

    Wow! I am from Alabama and in close proximity to Marshall County. I had not even heard this! Someone was doing a great job of covering it up I guess. I am embarrassed. But I can tell you that I know our sheriff personally and his family...and he's doing a great job so I can be proud of him and rest assured this kind of stuff will not be happening under his watch.....he led the charge here to get the law changed about monies not used for prisoners food allowance to be stopped from going into the pockets of the sheriff.

  • Felix Owen

    06/24/2019 01:43 PM

    It sounds like you are describing the situation in St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana. Last year the DA went to prison and this year the past sheriff has been charged with numerous charges, including rape. Additionally, his top deputies are also in trouble.
    I thought this was unique to Louisiana politics, but apparently it is widespread. So sad that a few bad apples can spread their rottenness to that profession and taint some very professional law enforcers.

  • Terri Moore

    06/24/2019 01:31 PM

    I wish that I did not believe this but I do. Too many times nobody is held accountable for the wrongs being done.

  • Mitzi Cole

    06/24/2019 01:19 PM

    My little ole home town's, in far southwestern tip of Kentucky, population - a little over 2,000, county jailer also fell victim to corruption a few years back. The new county jailer started out great, but over the years succumbed to corruption. He got 7 years in prison. Keep these stories coming Governor.