Santorum Tells API Supporters “We need you to stand up, take responsibility and fight for our beliefs. Make a difference.”

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Rick Santorum was in Alabama on Thursday speaking to supporters of the Alabama Policy Institute (API) at the conservative non-profit’s annual winter meeting.

The conservative Republican is a former Senator from the state of Pennsylvania and was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in the 2012 Primary season.

Sen. Santorum told the reportedly nearly 1000 gathered API Supporters “We need you to stand up, take responsibility and fight for our beliefs.  Make a difference.”
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Fiscal Cliff Will Affect Most Americans Not Just Wealthy

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

If the President and the Congress choose to take the nation over the fiscal cliff, tax rates will rise to levels not seen since 2000 AD…..and in some cases will actually be higher for some Americans. In 2013, the six income tax brackets of 2012 will be replaced with five tax brackets and more Americans will pay income taxes. The new tax rates will begin at 15% and rise to as high as 39.6%. This year the tax rates began at only 10% percent and rise to just 35%. Most Americans will see higher taxes.
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Republicans React to McCutcheon’s Appointment to Head Powerful Rules Committee

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama’s Republican legislators took to Facebook on Thursday to applaud Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s (R) from Auburn appointment of Representative Mac McCutcheon (R) from Capshaw to head the powerful House Rules Committee.

The post was previously held by Rep. Blaine Galliher (R) from Rainbow City. Galliher vacated the Chairmanship when he vacated his House seat to join Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s staff as Legislative Director.
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Bentley Awards Grants to Fight Drug War

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) has announced a series of grants to Shelby, Talladega, and Chambers Counties help local communities fund drug task forces to fight the trafficking and sale of illegal drugs.

Gov. Bentley said in a written statement, “Illegal drugs are a dangerous and destructive force.” “Illegal drugs not only destroy the lives of the individuals involved, they also cause great harm to families.”  Gov. Bentley said, “Illegal drugs and those who distribute them are a threat to our families and communities.”
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Sessions Says the Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Should Be Public Debate Not Negotiated in Secret

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama went to the floor of the Senate to express his dissatisfaction with the secret negotiations that are being conducted on how to resolve the fiscal cliff crisis that threatens to raise taxes on virtually every taxpayer and plunge the nation into recession in January.

Sen. Sessions said, “I rise today to express my reservations about the fiscal cliff negotiations that are currently underway. Over the last two years, Congress and the President have held an endless series of secret negotiations. There have been gangs of six and eight, a supercommittee of 12, talks at the Blair House and the White House. But the only thing these secret talks have produced is a government that skips from one crisis to the next. Everything has been tried but the open production of a 10-year budget plan as required by law and open discussions of the difficult choices.”
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Roby Taking Part in Holiday Mail For Heroes Program

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery delivered hundreds of Christmas cards from students throughout Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District to Red Cross President and CEO Gail J. McGovern.

The “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program is sponsored by the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes. For the sixth straight year the two organizations have teamed up to help Americans send holiday greetings to service members. Three schools in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District are already participating, including Opp Middle School, Highlands Elementary in Dothan and Forrest Avenue Academic Magnet School in Montgomery, where Rep. Roby’s daughter, Margaret is enrolled in the second grade.
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Bentley In Germany Seeking To Recruit More Aerospace Jobs To Alabama

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) and Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield (R) are in Germany working to bring more aviation jobs to the state of Alabama.

On Wednesday, Gov. Bentley addressed the Aviation Forum 2012 in Hamburg as part of their continued effort to recruit more aerospace jobs to the state of Alabama.
Gov. Bentley said, “With Airbus building its first U.S.-based production facility in Mobile, the entire state is poised for growth. Suppliers can benefit from the same positive business climate that helped us attract Airbus. We’re ready to work with companies and partner with them to bring even more jobs to Alabama.”
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No New Taxes, Big Tobacco and Campaign Contributions: PART TWO The Ties that bind

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Montgomery – In 2010, Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, gave almost $500,000 in campaign contributions that were then funneled into the coffers of GOP leadership and on to republican candidates. 

There as been a fierce opposition by the GOP to raise taxes of tobacco products, while cutting funding to programs that encourage people to quit smoking.

In fiscal year 2012, tobacco-generated revenue for Alabama was $237 million according to tobaccofreekids.org, an organization that is  “a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world.”
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Show. Me. The. Money.

Op-Ed from House Democratic Caucus Chairman Thomas Jackson: “Show. Me. The. Money.”

Money and power. How many times have we picked up a newspaper or turned on the evening news to see a story about the downfall of a person who became consumed with money and power. Too often, these stories are about politicians – the very people we put our trust in to handle our tax dollars and lead our government.

Over the past two weeks, there have been several reports in the news about some questionable financial dealings in the Alabama Republican Party during the 2010 election.

It began with the revelation that the Republican leadership solicited $300,000 from the Indian gaming interests to support the campaign of Attorney General Luther Strange (who has been a strong advocate for prosecuting gaming interests in Alabama) and several Republican state senate candidates.

Last week, it was reported that Speaker of the House and former Republican Party Chairman, Rep. Mike Hubbard, while serving as Party Chairman, contracted out some of the Republican Party’s printing needs to a company that, in turn, subcontracted out those services to a company that Speaker Hubbard owned.

This week, there have been reports that companies owned by Speaker Hubbard were paid over a million dollars from political action committees that were also controlled by Speaker Hubbard.

These shady financial dealings were not limited to the former Republican Party Chairman or the 2010 election cycle.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead hired his nephew to be the real estate agent for the Party on a deal for a new Party headquarters in Hoover. But nepotism was not the only shady part of this deal. The Party paid over $100,000 more than the appraised value of the property.

PAC-to-PAC transfers. Kickbacks. Quid pro quos. You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours. Is this the ethical government the Republicans promised in their “Handshake with Alabama”?

In February of 2010, Speaker Hubbard said, “PAC-to-PAC, that’s going to end. I’m not someone who wants to limit what people or groups can spend supporting the people who they want in office, but whatever anybody contributes should be known. I think we want transparency. I know the word gets used a lot. But that’s really what we’re talking about, pulling the curtain back and seeing where the money comes from and where it goes.” 

But less than two years after the Republicans took control of the state legislature, a Grand Jury in Montgomery ruled that the ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers as passed by the Republican Supermajority was unenforceable because there is no way to determine who is responsible for violations. The Grand Jury also said that in this so-called ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers it was not a crime for a PAC to solicit or receive a contribution from another PAC.

 

Now we know why the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery has been unwilling to pass actual ethical reform or a ban on PAC-to-PAC transfers that has teeth. The Republicans are making too much money off of these PAC-to-PAC transfers and backroom deals to actually attempt to change things.

 

Rep. Thomas Jackson is a Democrat from Thomasville, AL. He is the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and has represented House District 68 in the Alabama House of Representatives since 1994. He is also an Associate Pastor for Church of God in Christ.

 

No New Taxes, Big Tobacco and Campaign Contributions: PART ONE

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

What does the no-new-tax pledge, campaign contributions and a cut in anti-smoking education have in common? In Alabama, it is the flow of Big Tobacco money into the Alabama Republican Party.

That is not to say that Big Tobacco takes side, they just want to win with whoever is in charge.

In 2010, Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, gave almost $500,000 in campaign contributions that was funneled into the coffers of GOP leadership and then to candidates.
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