JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Longtime Democratic political operative Ike Brown says a new Mississippi law doesn’t apply to him because he believes it can’t be retroactive.
The law, which took effect July 1, says nobody convicted of a felony can serve in the leadership of a political party.
Brown, of Macon, was convicted in 2007 of discriminating against white voters in majority-black Noxubee County. A federal judge barred him from having a role in the county’s elections, but the order expired in December 2012.
Brown told The Clarion-Ledger that he wonders why Republicans who pushed the new law are worried about who serves in Democratic leadership roles.
Brown said he’s not trying to pass laws to push Republicans off their committees, but he still believes he is destroying the GOP through political moves.
Attorney General Jim Hood, who is a Democrat, issued a nonbinding legal opinion in June that supported the new law. The opinion was in response to an inquiry by the law’s author, Republican Rep. Rita Martinson of Madison, who asked Hood specifically whether the new law would ban Brown from participation in political party leadership roles. Hood said it would.
Brown is one of three Democratic Party officials convicted of felonies who the party ruled can continue to serve on their county executive committees despite a new state law that prohibits felons from serving on political executive committees.
In August, the administrative committee of the state Democratic Party sent a letter to Brown, Louis Armstrong of Jackson, and William Catledge of Houston terminating them from the Democratic executive committee in each of their home counties.
But this past Saturday, the state Democratic Party executive committee ruled the proper procedure hadn’t been followed to remove Armstrong, Brown and Catledge.
Ryan Brown, chairman of the Rankin County Democratic Party, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the state committee was split over trying to remove the men from their party roles. Brown said he is among the members who want them gone.
“Ike’s corruption over the years has put a taint on our party and helped get more Republicans elected than Democrats,” Brown said.