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Opinion | The Republican Party has a problem

Greed is consuming the Republican Party.

From top to bottom, state and national, today’s GOP is filled with men and women who will shirk any ideal, sell out any person or group and subvert any ethics laws to enrich themselves and their friends.

If you doubt this, do me one favor: Read the New York Times’ Sunday piece on Scott Pruitt’s history as a political freeloader.

Read about the documented evidence of his shady deals with lobbyists that enriched only Pruitt. Read about the regulations he chopped down to help the friends who put money in his pocket. Read about the legislation he backed when it helped him buy a bigger house, a stake in a minor league baseball team and move his family into a gated community.

After you read it all, do one more thing: Think about all of the Alabama politicians who are doing the same things.

Hell, one of Pruitt’s bestest buddies is former Alabama AG Luther Strange. When Pruitt was the AG in Oklahoma, he and Strange used to sue the EPA together all the time.

And of course, there was Strange, selling out the people of North Birmingham, going to bat for a big coal company that poisoned the earth instead of going to bat for the people. And all the while, APR learned, Strange was raking in fat checks from that coal company.

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But maybe, you’re thinking, the next Alabama AG was better.

Nope. Worse.

Not only did he use an alleged backroom deal with a disgraced former governor to land the appointment to AG, he’s been hauling in buckets of cash in campaign contributions from people currently under investigation by his office or from the lawyers representing them.

Well, Josh, you’re saying to yourself, what about the folks at the Public Service Commission? Surely they could be some help.


The former president of the PSC, Twinkle Cavanaugh, has taken in so much money from companies she’s supposed to be regulating, I can’t believe she’s not required to wear sponsorship patches like a NASCAR driver.

Over the years, Drummond Coal, that disgraced coal company I mentioned earlier — the one that was wrapped up in a federal bribery case — has dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Cavanaugh’s campaign accounts. And over the years, ol’ Twinkle has come through, ensuring lax regulations and higher-than-they-should-be energy rates.

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And good news: she’s running for lieutenant governor. A heartbeat away from the top chair in the state.

The current occupant of that chair, Kay Ivey, isn’t exactly a friend to ethics, herself.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Ivey signed a bill that rolled back ethics laws that required all lobbyists in the state to register and follow strict rules. Now, because the laws preventing public officials from profiting from their offices were just too stringent (LOL), the bill Ivey signed excluded “economic developers.”

Why would she have signed such a bill — particularly when polling showed it was extremely unpopular among voters? It probably has nothing to do with the fact that this was a Business Council of Alabama-supported bill and the BCA dumped $20,000 in Ivey’s campaign account in February.

Speaking of the BCA — the Republicans’ well-funded answer to AEA — there’s a mess among its ranks, as APR’s editor in chief Bill Britt has been exposing for the past week. Current head Billy Canary, one of the most loathed men in politics, is seemingly being shoved out, because top BCA donors believe he’s useless.

But the guy who runs the BCA board, Perry Hand, who is also the chairman at Volkert Inc., an engineering company, is trying to keep Canary around. And no one can really figure out why. After all, if the BCA’s top donors want Canary to pound sand, why would Hand stand in the way?

Britt might be onto something: Hand’s company, Volkert, has been raking in government contracts. To the tune of more than $20 million in 2018 alone.

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That’s up from less than $5 million just a few years ago, when Hand grabbed control of BCA’s political contribution PAC, Progress PAC. And suddenly the money spigot was flowing like crazy.

You see what I mean?

All of those millions of dollars exchanging hands, but let me ask you: Do you think you’re seeing any of it?

Your water and air are dirtier. Your state government is more corrupt with less oversight. And there is no indication things will be improving soon.

Because greed has consumed the Republican Party.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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