Ethics Commission punts decision, creates more confusion

August 17, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Despite pleas from its executive director and legal counsel, the Ethics Commission on Wednesday elected to table a decision on an opinion that defined some economic development site consultants as lobbyists.

The non-decision allows the five-person Commission to avoid making a public decision on the matter – instead shuffling it off with hopes that the state Legislature will correct it through legislation – but it will do little to ease confusion about the matter, executive director Tom Albritton said.

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Tuscaloosa millionaire developer files Ethics Complaint against Luther Strange

August 10, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Millionaire Tuscaloosa real-estate developer Stan Pate has filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Luther Strange alleging his acceptance of an appointment to the US Senate was improper and violated the State’s ethics laws, APR has confirmed.

The ethics complaint, filed Wednesday with the Alabama Ethics Commission, alleges that Strange violated state ethics laws in three different instances: by announcing his desire to be appointed to the Senate, by accepting an interview with former Gov. Robert Bentley during an active criminal investigation his office was overseeing, and by suspending the House’s impeachment investigation into Bentley.

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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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EXCLUSIVE: Pope deposition indicates ALSDE collusion, smear campaign

August 2, 2017

By Bill Britt and Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

A deposition given by the Alabama State Department of Education’s Chief Information Security Officer appears to substantially support a report provided by a staff attorney that found a willful attempt by certain ALSDE staff and a State School Board member to smear a superintendent candidate.

A full copy of the deposition of chief security officer David Pope, taken in May, was obtained by APR. It has never been released to the public and ALSDE denied numerous requests from APR for a copy of the report.
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The Alabama Ethics Commission is failing us

August 1, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Ethics Commission has become a joke.

Let’s all stop pretending that this five-man panel, along with its Executive Director and legal counsel, are any sort of a defense against corrupt public servants or a means to punish public corruption.

They’re not.

Not consistently.

And not without an air of corruption and good-ol’-boy backroom dealing surrounding nearly everything they do.

Need examples?

Well, first off, read Bill and Susan Britt’s interview with outgoing commissioner Stewart Tankersley. Secondly, consider all of the problems this bunch has created when a simple, straightforward interpretation of law was all anyone expected.
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Moore and Brooks share stage at Tea Party Forum in Wetumpka

August 1, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, July 31, 2013, the Wetumpka Tea Party held what they billed as a top three Republican candidates forum.  Based on polling that has been made public, they invited only the top three candidates out of the Republican field of nine: former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, Congressman Mo Brooks, and US Senator Luther Strange.

Wetumpka Tea Party founder and President Becky Gerritson said that Strange has a Senate confirmation vote Monday night, so only Moore and Brooks were actually on stage.
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Brooks accuses Strange of prosecutorial misconduct

July 26, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, June 24, 2017, US Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) was in in Pell City meeting with the St. Clair County Republican Executive Committee.  Rep. Brooks said that when this campaign started he said that he would focus just on the issues unless he was attacked.

Since then Senator Luther Strange (R) and his allied PACs have spent a fortune on negative ads attacking Brooks.  Brooks said, “I have come under attack from one of them so the gloves are off.”
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Here’s why everyone keeps raising questions about Luther Strange’s campaign contributions

July 7, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, Dom Gentile, a Republican candidate for US Senate in Alabama’s Special Election, asked in a letter for the Alabama Ethics Commission to investigate campaign contributions made to current Sen. Luther Strange by Drummond Coal.

Strange, who was appointed to the Senate in February by former Gov. Robert Bentley, has come under fire of late for his involvement while attorney general in Alabama with an EPA superfund site in north Birmingham.
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A sad day for education in Alabama

June 22, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The dumbest conspiracy in the recent history of Alabama’s Department of Education took center stage on Wednesday during a heated, dumpster fire of a State Board of Education meeting.

With board members routinely raising their voices to speak over each other, backhanding insults and tossing about serious allegations of fraud and malfeasance, a department attorney outlined what he deemed a “tawdry scheme” to undermine the superintendent candidacy of a longtime State Educator.
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NPR audience boos Jim Zeigler

June 13, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, June 10, 2017, NPR broadcast its “Weekend Edition Saturday” from Birmingham’s Lyric Theater. State Auditor Jim Zeigler was the only Republican invited on the show. Zeigler said afterwards that he was also the only guest interrupted and booed by the largely Democratic live audience.

Show host Scott Simon asked Zeigler if Donald Trump was good for the brand?

Zeigler replied, “Yes, he is. His base is still with him. And those that were against him are still against him. They’re a lot louder against him, but on Friday, the President proved that he is able to move forward with his agenda. He went into his infrastructure agenda and his plan to cut out some of the regulation and new projects going forward. And this can be huge for America, both businesswise and getting our infrastructure repaired. So the President’s going forward and is not going to be distracted by this issue or any other.”
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