Ethics Commission withdraws McCalla opinion after charities line-up

December 8, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In a unanimous vote on September 1, 2016, the Alabama Ethics Commission issued advisory opinion 2016-24, which it believed clarified the question regarding public officials soliciting lobbyists and principals for contributions to a charitable organization, operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The issue was raised by the nonprofit group, Friends of McCalla.

After approving the opinion in a 5-0 vote, the Commission gave a 30-day window for public comment; however, it was extended past the 30 days to December 7.
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Bentley’s Security Team Testifies Before Grand Jury

October 20, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—If there are still questions as to who is the target of the Special Grand Jury impaneled in Montgomery County the arrival of several members of the Governor’s security detail and SBI Director on Wednesday should remove all doubt.

At approximately 8:30 am on Wednesday reporters from The Alabama Political Reporter observed at least five or more of Gov. Robert Bentley’s personal security team entering the Grand Jury room located on the second floor of the Montgomery County Court House.
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Ethics Commission: Not Subject to Ethics Laws

October 12, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Here’s a little-known fact: The Alabama Ethics Commission is not governed by the laws it is charged with enforcing.

That was made abundantly clear when Commissioner Judge Charles Price voted with a conflict of interest at an Oct. 5th Commission meeting. The conflict arose when he voted yes on an Advisory Opinion that permitted the City of Montgomery to give money to the local Chamber of Commerce. Price, a retired Montgomery Circuit Judge, is a board member of the chamber and will shortly become its president.
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Who Has the Moral Authority to Lead Ethics Reform?

September 19, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Even before former Speaker Mike Hubbard’s conviction on 12 counts of public corruption, due to criminal ethics violations, his minions were spinning a narrative that the laws, under which he was indicted, were hastily prepared and passed without question (merely a deceptive plan to cast doubt on his indictment).

To say that the 2010 ethics laws passed rapidly and without the body’s full understanding may be right, but to believe they were not conceived without purpose and understanding by those wrote them, is a lie.
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Alabama Residents’ Living Hell

September 7, 2016

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate is back this week to continue debate on how to handle BP settlement money from the horrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but no matter what happens, this special session is an absolute failure.

The session was called by Gov. Robert Bentley mainly to authorize a lottery vote for Alabama. That’s not going to happen. Whether the BP issue is settled is also in doubt.
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Procedure For Speaker’s Nomination Submitted

August 1, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The House Republican Caucus selected an ad hoc committee to suggest voting procedures for the next Speaker. The caucus will convene in Montgomery on August 2, to nominate a replacement for disgraced former Speaker Mike Hubbard. Caucus rules instituted by Hubbard requires members to abide by the caucus majority vote, when the entire house meets for the final election.

The Alabama Political Reporter obtained a copy of the suggestion from the ad hoc committee, which was chaired by Rep. Bill Poole and comprised of Representatives Jim Carns, Alan Baker, Becky Nordgren and Phillip Pettus.
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“We” Being The Operative Word

August 1, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Words are powerful. They can inspire hope or fear, pride or prejudice. Words can heal or destroy. As Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Alabama is not at a crossroad. We are at the edge of a cliff, where real leadership is desperately needed to keep the government from falling into the abyss.
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Zeigler Opposes Decision for Taxpayers to Spend up to $200,000 Defending Bentley

July 11, 2016

By Brandon Moseley and Susan Britt

Thursday July 7, 2016, State Auditor Jim Zeigler responded to committee approval of $200,000 for legal contracts including for Bentley’s defense in Collier lawsuit.

Auditor Zeigler said, “This is a double whammy on the taxpayers of Alabama. They have already been hit with the cost of Bentley’s spending. Now that he has been sued, taxpayers will be hit again with his legal defense. This is so unfair. An ordinary citizen would have to pay his own defense costs. Bentley got himself into this, and he should pay his own legal costs to try to get himself out.”
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Gaston Will Not Be Candidate for Speaker of the House: McCutcheon Announces Candidacy

June 23, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, June 22, Acting House Speaker Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) announced in a statement that he will not be a candidate for the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) announced late on Wednesday that he is running for Speaker of the House.

Acting Speaker Gaston said, “After careful thought and much prayerful consideration, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Speaker of the House when the Alabama Legislature convenes again. While I am deeply grateful to the constituents, colleagues, friends, and family who have encouraged me to seek the job, I do not feel God calling me in that direction.”
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Todd Promises Reforms if Elected Speaker

June 22, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Most of the Alabama members of the Alabama House of Representatives are straight, male, Republican men. But, that is not deterring the only gay, female, Democrat from declaring her candidacy to be the next Speaker of the House. Not only has State Representative Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) publicly announced her candidacy, she has a list of twelve campaign promises for her House colleagues, if they come together to make her the first openly gay Speaker in the history of the Alabama House.
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