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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ethics? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Ethics.

John Archibald is at it again, rightly pointing what we all knew about the ethical situation in Montgomery, and by extension to the rest of  the state, especially us up here in Ana country.  
Ethics are dead in Montgomery; ethics law is next victim
John Archibald | jarchibald@al.comBy John Archibald | jarchibald@al.com 
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on January 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM, updated January 30, 2018 at 11:12 AM
Look. There's no other way to say it.
What's going on in Montgomery is an assault on the once-vaunted Alabama Ethics Law, a volley of bills pounding the walls that separate politicians from personal profits.
Because lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, want to take money as consultants from people who come before the Legislature, like convicted former House Speaker Mike Hubbard did. They want to parlay their positions into jobs. They want to use campaign contributions like slush funds.
I mean, what's the point of being a big shot if you can't turn it into cash?
It's hard even to keep up with all the moves to take authority from investigators and put it in the hands of legislators, to let lawmakers wield more control or rationalize corruption by calling it another name.
Like economic development.
hubbardnow.JPGMike Hubbard, testifying at his trial. Alabama Legislators don't want to end up like him. Rather than change their behavior, they want to change the law. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News via AP, Pool) 
Because legislators know Alabamians love that and they think Alabamians are so dumb they won't notice the poison if it's behind those words.
HB317, sponsored by Rep. Ken Johnson and pushed by Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, is the latest. It would make clear that illegal lobbying, as outlined in the ethics law, does not include economic development or "any other economic development incentive by an any state or local government, agency, department, body, or other entity."
What it does is make legal the kind of crimes Hubbard was convicted of after he took $220,000 from Capitol Cups to help the company market its wares. What did Hubbard do for that money? He gave them a few phone numbers that didn't pan out. And he was Speaker of the House.
That's economic development.
It's remarkable in this environment, in this state that has been dogged by corruption, at this time when Alabama politics is rightly perceived as a cesspool, that legislators would be so brazen and transparent.
Of course dozens have been asked to show up for grand juries to justify the broad use of non-itemized credit cards payments on their campaign accounts. Others are leaving the Legislature complaining that it's too hard to make a living if they can't do it with your hand out.
Good riddance.
Another bill - SB221 by Sen. Trip Pittman - with help from Sens. Rusty Glover, Dick Brewbaker and Bill Hightower - would have the Ethics Commission pre-approve legislators' business arrangements, giving them immunity from criminal charges. And if the politician or the business claims scrutiny could cause them harm, this bill would let them keep the whole thing secret.
Under the rug.
Which is made even worse by other bills - like Sen. Gerald Dial's SB181 - that would eliminate the powers of the lieutenant governor and give legislators more power to appoint and control members of the Ethics Commission.
It's made worse by a bill that would give lawmakers more influence over the supposedly independent Examiners of Public Accounts - which has done more to keep public officials and employees in line than just about anybody.
Sen. Arthur Orr and others - including Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh - have sponsored a resolution to set up a commission to "study and make recommendations for reforming and clarifying the Code of Ethics" by next year.
BLOGGER COMMENTS:  For many of our readers, Orr is "our" senator  He has been on the 'right side' of several issues such has the sheriff food fund problem.  John is a cynic.  He's been following politics too long to be anything else.   But let's see what Orr and Marsh come up with before we jump in their knickers.
It's hard to imagine any of the "reforms" would toughen the law.
Because it's easier to change the law than it is their ways.
We've learned a lot since 2010, when the corrupt Alabama Democratic Party succumbed to a Hubbard-led GOP that promised better.
We learned that corruption is bipartisan and Republicans and Democrats agree the only good handout is theirs. We learned there is no such thing as public service anymore.
The ethics law isn't the problem. It's the ethics.
Or the lack of them.
John Archibald's column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register and AL.com. Write him at jarchib

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Today, Senator Jeff Duncan from South Carolina said he had read the Nunes memo, and it will "shake the FBI to it's core". The memo allegedly details how the FBI has been weaponized against political adversaries. Now that's some corruption Glenda can definitely get behind!
Don't you hope it gets released soon? The American People deserve to know what these corrupt agencies are really up to.

Anonymous said...

If all the rumors are true, there needs to be a nationwide sweep of agents that get involved with this sort of thing.
Right, Glenda?

Anonymous said...

No comment? Maybe Glenda supports illegal actions by federal agents?
How odd, why is that?