By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Political Reporter has confirmed Alabama Power Company executives notified Bill Canary, CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, that the power giant would not support the upcoming BCA Governmental Affairs Conference in Point Clear and that its employees would not attend the event, according to sources with high level access.
Those with knowledge of the incident say Canary was stunned by the call, querying why Alabama Power was abandoning the conference. He was informed that there were a number of reasons but chief among them was his leadership style, which has led to many Legislative failures. Insiders say the company sees Canary as a liability that it can no longer ignore.
But this is just the latest salvo that shows Canary’s weakness. Washington DC insiders have also confirmed to APR that Canary is not welcome in the offices of the State’s US Senators.
Word has gone out to associations and big special interests that supporting Carney will cost them access to the halls of the US Senate. The DC insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “When as a business you lose access to Richard Shelby you’re out of the game.”
During the 2017 Legislative Session, the BCA failed to deliver on its stated agenda. The once powerful business lobby’s infrastructure package collapsed, as did the latest Alabama Accountability Act changes. Its team of lobbyists couldn’t stop the anti-gay adoption legislation sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, or the Autism Bill. Those two key pieces of legislation, which many in the business community opposed, passed despite their best efforts.
“Billy managed to alienate most of the Senate Republican Caucus and didn’t make any friends in the House either,” said a Senate leader.
The BCA had one win, managing to kill the gun bill sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa).
Canary has yet to develop a tried and true method on how to navigate a State House that is not dominated by former Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was removed from his position last year after being convicted of 12 felony ethics convictions. For the last six years Canary was granted unlimited access and power during Hubbard’s term, but has increasingly made enemies who have had enough of his brash lobbying style, threats and intimidation.
The Senate leader says his petty sniping and schoolyard tactics are now being met by resistance throughout the Upper chamber of the State House. In the House, he tried to confront Speaker Mac McCutcheon in the hallway on the 5th floor. That interaction didn’t play well in the State House.
Recently Canary had his underlings call several State lawmakers to uninvite them to the summer gathering because they dared vote for the Autism bill that helps parents aid children with this debilitating malady. As a result several lawmakers determined not to support the Government Affairs Conference.
However, with the loss of influence in the US Senate and now the rejection of the State’s most powerful energy provider, it doesn’t look good for Canary.
Alabama Power usually represents at least a third of the contributions to BCA’s summer affair, which will surely impact the festivities.