Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monkey Business in Monkeytown During Alabama's Lame Duck Special Session

North Alabama's heavy hitter Dale Jackson of The Attack Machine reports today on some unsavory business going on during the Flash Harry's and Show Mules exhibit in the Alabama State House under the guise of ethics reforms. Outgoing Governor Riley says this a chance to pass some of the "toughest ethics laws in the nation." Well, he's half right, but he's had eight years to do this and Alabamians are not fooled by this latest attempt at legacy polishing bravado on his part, not all of them that is.

The Alabama Democratic Party released news on December 8th of the lame duck Riley's own recent failings to follow the laws that he is claiming to correct in this special session;
Montgomery - As Governor Bob Riley calls the Alabama Legislature into a special session on ethics, a move he could have made at any time in the last eight years, the Alabama Democratic Party has found that the Governor apparently violated Alabama's Fair Campaign Practices Act. According to disclosure forms on file with the Alabama Secretary of State's office, the Alabama Republican Party reported receiving contributions from the Bob Riley for Governor Committee in the amount of $2,010 on July 22nd and $10,000 on September 27th; however, Governor Riley's campaign has failed to file financial disclosures reporting the donations for the 2010 election cycle as is required by law.
That's the kind of irony that's become the norm rather than the exception because the penalty for late filing is little more than a slap on the wrist and promise you won't do it again, wink wink.

The blame lies with both sides of the aisle for the failure to pass meaningful reforms, but the 2007 veto of ethics reforms lies squarely with Mr. Aqua Net himself and his Bic pen veto. Suspicions were loudly whispered at the time that the veto was to protect the Governor's familial interests from detailed disclosures, and as they say, there's a grain of truth in even the wildest rumor.

One thing's for certain, the facts are irrefutable that this state ranks between 46th and 49th in corruption. It has never shown a real willingness to cut off the money pipeline from lobbyists gone wild and special interests helping our politicians helping themselves to a helluva lot more than they should be. And despite all the posturing going on in Montgomery right now, not one thing they're doing will stop the sale of Alabama's political process to the highest bidders.

Nothing in these current ethics bills will prevent lobbyists from jetting our legislators around on fab getaways and get togethers, with the high and mighty mohair blazered little kings, and wining and dining them on fare that most Alabamians can only afford to treat themselves to a couple of times a year. There will still be the hunting & fishing trips where most of the decisions for legislation are made, (bought) and the late night hoohahs in and around postal code 36104 (aka Storyville ) that brings out all sorts of characters to cavort and cajole with Alabama's politicians the night before session.

The attitude of entitlement on Goat Hill is evident when you walk the halls of the privileged and experience the palpable arrogance and aloofness up close and personal that is Alabama politics. It's the kind of experience that makes one yearn for a bar of Ivory soap and the nearest hose off spot when you leave.

Insiders that attended the public meeting last night in the old chambers of the State (nut) House tell us that they overheard conversations that went along these lines: (lobbyists talking) "We were nervous when we first heard about these reforms, but now that we've seen the bills we can get around them easy." (followed by snarky laughter and pats on the backs)

Unfortunately they're right and this is all just one big display designed to legacy build outgoing Governor Riled Up and give cover to the republican majority that now has the reins of the mule team on Goat Hill. There's a few good ones in there, but for the most part this is the same ol' barrel of monkeys it has always been and the rules of the game are unchanged: paid to play.

*Update--Doc's Political Parlor put up an interesting file detailing Riley's move for the Special Session on ethics reforms in their latest entry.

Governor Riley on Twitter (Ain't he cool wearing shades and on the motorcycle? Please.)  
Riley Lackey Jeff Emerson on Twitter 
Riley chalkboarder Todd Stacy on Twitter
ALLISON audio link to the Alabama Senate proceedings in real time.
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  1. Nice.
    The lobbyists have a soiree' while the public hearing is going on and try to lure the , as you said Max, little kings, away. I'd heard that when I was there too. Good for Dale, but he should go farther and bust them out all the way on this. He went after Parker Griffith hard, same thing needs to happen here.
    And where was talk radio and the media on this????
    Nada, zilch, nothing.
    Bet the ALFA lobbyist was Kim Davis. Sounds like her MO.

  2. Here, here! You just made my evening Max.

  3. "Whut we have heah is a failure to communicate"

    Get a rope.

  4. Those bills have more holes in them than sieve and the attitude in the chambers last night was not one of change. This is one big joke on Alabama. Lobbyists were all over the place and they did not seem the least bit worried. Glad to see Dale slapped that idiot Rep. Jackson who showed himself with his really stupid remarks. Not one person I went with walked away with the slightest glimmer of hope. Well, not hope for change anyways, we all just hoped we'd wake up from what seemed like a nightmare.

  5. Fun with phraseology, love it!
    How about this one "Still Crazy After All These Years"
    They are y'know.

  6. Do you think maybe the puppeteers are using Riley's ego to their advantage to help prop up Bentley who's going to need it one day? Get what I'm saying? I don't think this would be happening if Byrne was the governor-elect, he has far too much between his ears to have let this happen before he took office. Somebody's playing games.

  7. I think they are acting like the buffoons they all are. Like this Big Mule Act II is something to be real proud of. They are a disgrace. The last years the state has gone backwards and I would not want to see 8 more years of no forward movement for any real progress - I think that group exiting is telling themselves - Mission Accomplished. What a bunch of jerks.

  8. Riley was on MSNBC's Morning Joe just recently and Joe Scarborugh ended the segment with: "Run for president. Do for America what you did for Alabama."
    God help us, but if Massa Haley runs don't think Ol' Bob won't be having visions of Mr. Riley goes to Washington.
    Strangely the sound does not work properly, might be his really bad way too hick accent, but there is a transcript and CC. You'll have to sit through a commercial of a chick in really bad bubble coat hawking dandruff shampoo first.


  9. He has a really good radio show with pod casts of segments. Beats the hell out of anything in the local Birmingham market. One host yesterday morning spent almost the entire time of his show congratulating himself and whoring for votes in the Best of Birmingham.(Matt Murphy WAPI) Birmingham market sux.

  10. Sources tell us:

    To look for some possible alternate bills with some repubs supporting them and or putting them up.

    Amendments to defang are on the ready. Some written by lobbyists themselves.

    Look for a flurry of 501.C3 filings (Bentley has opened that door putting his inaugural ball money under a "foundation.")

    It will be the next election cycle before a lot of this comes to light and the huge loopholes show themselves.


  11. Obviously the herd has a couple of renegades according to the Montgomery Advertiser:

    Senators approved the double-dipping ban along mostly partisan lines, with Republicans voting for the ban and Democrats voting against it. Republican Sen. Rusty Glover, a public school teacher in Mobile County, voted against the bill.
    Glover said voting for it would seem to be admitting his conduct had been unethical for the last eight years he has served in the Legislature and worked as a high school teacher.

    Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road voted against the payroll deduction ban. He said he supported stopping the deduction of money for political action committees, but not for dues to those organizations.
    Brewbaker said the move would hurt associations of state troopers, retired state employees and other groups.

    Tone f'n deaf what a surprise.

  12. Update is very useful, Senator Bedford is on the floor now (12:00) and compared SB2 to terrorism of sorts....

  13. Max, you rock! Thanks for the links to interesting real time info. "Tit for tat, get you back" haha Doe Vivian Figures practice these quips?

  14. NY Times ran a good article about ethics reforms special session on Dec 1.


  15. Not worth the paper it's written on, big surprise. I hear Scott Beason is going to host Matt "the big dummy" Murphy's radio show next Friday. That ought to be rich. He was the only choice huh? State sponsored radio WAPI. It may not be illegal, but it smells and is pushing ethical boundaries at the the very least. Not surprising for Citadel Broadcasting.



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