Secretary Merrill: Ethics Commission undermined campaign finance law

December 6, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The law doesn’t matter if you try harder not to break it the next time, according to the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Earlier this week, the five-person commission voted 4-1 to dismiss fines levied by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office for the late filing of required campaign finance reports by six political action committees (PACs) and candidates.

In those cases, the fact that the reporting law had been violated was not in question — one had missed the deadline by more than a month, another took nearly a month. The PACs and candidates who appealed their fines to the Commission were clearly in violation of the reporting deadlines.

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McClendon announces he will run for re-election to State Senate

August 29, 2017

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, August 28, 2017, State Senator Jim McClendon, R-Springville, announced that he will seek a second term in the Alabama Senate. McClendon was elected to the seat in 2014.

Sen, McClendon represents Senate District 11, which covers portions of Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties.

McClendon said in a statement, “I’ll support legislation that helps small businesses grow and create good-paying jobs.”

McClendon added, “I want to focus on making the lives of hardworking Alabama families better, and I’ll continue my efforts to fight for the conservative values we all share.”

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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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Some are using a stalking horse to undermine ethics laws

January 10, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The greatest challenge before the Alabama State Legislature when it returns in February is not the budget, schools or Medicaid. It is the slight of hand chicanery used to undermine the State’s ethics laws.

Since the conviction of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard on 12 felony ethics violations, a coordinated effort has been underway to weaken those laws, with particular focus on how they identify a “principal.” Read More

Incumbent Senator Ousted by Rep. Jim McClendon

June 5, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Senator Jerry Fielding was made a lame duck this week, losing by a landslide to Representative Jim McClendon of Sylacauga.

Fielding, who was elected in 2010 as a Democrat and switched to the GOP in 2012, was in headlines this legislative session when he suggested he might move to pass a resolution praising the cast of Duck Dynasty for the controversial statements made in a magazine interview about both homosexuals and African-Americans, prompting nationwide coverage.
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Establishment Candidates Hold On to Power

June 4, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R Anniston retained their seats in Tuesday’s Republican Primary.  Not only did they win, most of their allies received big wins as well.

Rep. Mike Hubbard crushed challenger Sandy Toomer by 20 percentage points.

Congressman Mike Rogers and former Governor Bob Riley both descended on Lee County with an army of GOP volunteers to canvass neighborhoods on behalf of the speaker.  That all hands on deck campaign strategy and blistering attacks totally overwhelmed the Toomer campaign.  Hubbard said afterwards, “Humbled by the trust you showed in me tonight. Your continued support is validation that our conservative movement is working. As we move forward to the General Election, you have my word to keep fighting for you.”
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Don’t Let Facts Influence The Vote

June 2, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

There will be no tanks on the streets, or soldiers with weapons locked and loaded as we go to the polls on Tuesday.

The only weapon of war that will have been used against the voters of our State, will be propaganda. This killing machine poisons the mind and soul, while leaving the body whole, at least for a time.

So far this election season, the propaganda machine has played mostly to our paranoias, fears and prejudices. This sort of information warfare has become stock-in- trade for modern political campaigns. Whether it’s Sen. Tom Whatley’s campaign photo-shopping an image of his opponent Andy Carter walking at Toomer’s Corner with President Barack Obama, (something that never happened) or Sen. Jerry Fielding a life long Democrat accusing his life long Republican opponent Dr. Jim McClendon of voting with Obama, (an outright lie).
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McClendon Launches July Massacre Out-Raising Opponent 10-to-1

August 5, 2013

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter


MONTGOMERY—An unexpected battle is brewing in Senate District 11 as veteran republican lawmaker, Rep. Jim McClendon,(R-Springville), takes on newly-minted GOP Senator Jerry Fielding (R-Sylacauga). But if early campaign contributions are an indication of the final results, this will not be a heated conflict but a bang and then a whimper.

In what might be called a “July Massacre”, McClendon out-raised Field 10-to-1 in campaign contributions. According to the secretary of state filings McClendon raised $76,130.00 in July with Fielding bringing in only $7,000.00. The FCPA reports show that Fielding has $14,180.92 in cash on hand while McClendon has $156,956.89.
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