Challengers take aim at Congressman Bachus - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Challengers take aim at Congressman Bachus

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Congressman Spencer Bachus is under investigation for possible insider trading, and he isn't very vocal about it.

However, his challengers are making noise taking to the airwaves and their congressional campaign sites with messages to his constituents.

A UAB communications studies professor believes it's in Bachus' interest to let this issue die and for his challengers to tread carefully.

One month before the march primary, Bachus, the chairman of the House Financial Services, is under investigation by the Office of Government Ethics for possible insider trading.

In a statement, he said "I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight. I respect the congressional ethics process. I have fully abided by the rules governing Members of Congress and look forward to the full exoneration this process will provide."

However, attempts to interview the congressmen in person or by phone have been unsuccessful so far. His office is still looking into it.

UAB's Dr. Larry Powell believes this investigation is a liability.

"Someone is going to have to make extended emphasis on the implications that the indictment might come down. It's going to hurt him. It's a question of whether it's going to be enough," said Powell.

His challengers aren't shying away from the subject.

Judge David Standridge said over the phone, "it is concerning. This is part of the reason I've been encouraged to enter the race."

Senator Scott Beason's statement on his campaign site read, "Alabamians need to be sure that their representative is looking out for them, not lining his own pockets."

William Barnes posted to his, "I call on the people of Alabama's 6th Congressional District to conduct a serious evaluation of Congressman Bachus [sic] career. Is this who we want to represent us in Washington D.C.?"

Al Mickle put on his Facebook page, "Would you like the most Conservative candidate to serve you? Or would you care for someone who serves themselves?"

But Powell says challengers need to be careful because Bachus is still popular among the Republican Party and his constituents.

"There's going to be a lot of voters who aren't disappointed in the job he's done and will go in there and vote for him on reflex action," he said.

Powell doesn't believe this takes any pressure off Beason who has faced criticism over the immigration law and comments made during the bingo bribery trial. He says that extra baggage gives Bachus an advantage.