Walker County has no easy answers for financial mess

August 24, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, August 21, 2017, State Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and State Representative Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) met with the Walker County Commission six days after voters went to the polls and rejected a sales tax that the Commission had billed as Walker County’s only way to avoid bankruptcy.  The voters said. “No” and now the Commission is looking for alternatives.

Sen. Reed said that he has been looking at several possibilities. Reed thanked the Commission for working with them in a collaborative manner.  The sales tax, “Was the best option.”  “We have spent the last 15 months working toward that option. That opportunity has come and gone.”

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What’s the prescription for the opioid problem?

August 18, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

If you’ve lost a loved one to drug abuse, as I have, anger and sadness might color your resolve to fight a war against a substance, rather than address the causes that drive someone into the arms of darkness.

We have been told by the President of the United States and the US Attorney General that there is an opioid epidemic and that war has been declared against it. But, we are ignoring the factors that lead to its use.
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What can we learn on the Plains of Weehawken?

August 9, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

“If we had an Attorney General, there’d be a Grand Jury,” said a retired judge referring to revelations in APR’s exit interview with Ethics Commissioner, Dr. Stewart Tankersley.

Examples of collusion, questionable opinions, and other suspect activity, he said, “should be before a Grand Jury, and we should ask them: ‘What do you want us to do with this?'”

Speaking truth to power or shining a light on a brood of vipers undoubtedly has consequences both negative and positive. At the moment, Tankersley is feeling the wrath of those he has criticized.

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Tankersley Exit Interview: Final 

August 7, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

“Somebody should do something.”

After nearly five years of being rebuffed for his common-sense stance on the Ethics Commission, Dr. Stewart Hill Tankersley is doing something significant: Exposing institutional corruption and the particular failings of the Commission, sworn to hold every public official to the letter of the law.

Tankersley’s interview with APR confirms what close observers of the Commission have seen over the years.  By peeling back the ugly mechanisms of an almost lawless Commission, Tankersley has exposed  members who routinely entertain ex parte meetings with those seeking favorable outcomes on advisory opinions. Will it stop?  Will these revelations curtail the practice of granting sweetheart rulings for lawyers, lobbyists and their well-heeled clients? Will the Legislature step in and follow through on the ethics reform package prepared by the Attorney General’s Office for last session?

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What’s the going rate?

July 27, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

What are we to make of an Attorney General who takes campaign donations from a lawyer/lobbyist who would gut the State’s Ethics laws?

In the political world, friends give campaign donations, but political action committees, lawyers, lobbyists, and businesses invest; and they expect a return on their investment.

So, it is with our State’s Attorney General Steve Marshall. He has taken campaign contributions that can be linked to people and industries with a special interest in matters before the Attorney General’s Office. And now, he has taken two contributions from a PAC led by Edward “Ted” Hosp who has aggressively lobbied to roll back Ethics reform. Marshall received two contributions from Hosp’s GoodPac: one for $2,500 on June 12, and another one for $2500 on June 13.
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Government affairs or an orgy of greed and corruption?

July 24, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

How much food and booze does it take to wash away embarrassment and shame? Is money the seductive elixir that so easily chills honest introspection, that allows our State’s leaders to dine freely on the spoils of corruption?

In August, many of the State’s top leaders will embark on an annual pilgrimage to Point Clear for the Business Council of Alabama’s (BCA) Governmental Affairs Conference.
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A curious case of Canarys

July 19, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

It has become common to hear lawmakers say “BCA is the new AEA.” This statement refers to the fact that, under the leadership of convicted felon, former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, the Business Council of Alabama has risen to control the State’s Legislative agenda, much like the Alabama Education Association did in years past.

So egregious is BCA’s CEO Billy Canary’s latest behavior that he is receiving widespread criticism not only in Montgomery but in Washington DC, as well. High-level operatives and agents say Canary is no longer welcome in some Senate and Congressional offices. Lawmaker’s in the Nation’s Capital, as well as Montgomery, are set on isolating him until the BCA Board sees the light.
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Do words have meaning? A closer look at Subsection (g)

July 12, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Subsection (g) of Section 36-25-13 of the Code of Alabama 1975, is often overlooked because, on its face, this portion of the Alabama Ethics Code seems pretty straightforward (if you are not a lawyer looking to help your client find an exception to the two-year revolving door provision of the code).

Former Acting Finance Director, Bill Newton, intends to open a consulting business. So, he asked the Alabama Ethics Commission to grant him permission to use his years of government service as leverage, to provide professional services/advice, request information from public officials/employees, to aid his potential clients, under what they hope may be an exception to the two-year ban on such activities.
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What kind of change will come?

July 10, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When the Alabama Republican Party swept into power during the November 2010 elections, they promised us change. In his book, Storming the State House, Mike Hubbard wrote of that November evening, “It would fundamentally change the direction of Alabama, and of my own life, forever.”

Republicans have controlled Alabama’s State government for nearly seven years, and the only justification they offer for their shortcomings is, “It would have been worse under the Democrats.”
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APR stands by Rogers report

July 5, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

An article published by The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) has drawn fire from campaign operatives for freshman Senator Luther Strange and his attorney at his old law firm, Bradley Arrant.

An email containing a letter from Bradley partner Joseph B. Mays, Jr., was received by APR on June 30, in which he demands, “…removal and retraction of false and libelous statements in an article on your website titled, ‘Source: State Rep. Offered Superfund Bribe with Strange Present.'”
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