Alabama to call special session over anti-corruption measures

Alabama Governor Bob Riley is calling a special session of the Legislature designed to debate and pass the toughest anti-corruption laws in the country. The session will begin on December 8 and will address a package of reform measures proposed by the Governor and his supporters.

The Governor has been working on legislators to create this package for the past two years.  When Republicans took control of the state legislature for the first time in more than 130 years on election day he saw his chance to deal with the issue immediately. According to the Governor, there has been support for these rules in the past but they have always been thwarted by the Democratic majority in the legislature.  Despite these claims, the measures appear to have at least bipartisan interest if not support.

The new rules would include:

  • full disclosure of spending by lobbyists on all public officials and public employees;
  • an end to unlimited gift-giving by lobbyists and others to public officials and public employees;
  • a ban on pass-through pork spending;
  • subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission;
  • the outlawing of all transfers between political action committees;
  • creation of an online, searchable database of lobbyists’ disclosure reports so citizens can see who is trying to influence their elected leaders and how.

The proposed changes represent the first time any such rules would be imposed on state legislators in Alabama’s history. The fact sheets and actual bills detailing the reform measures will be available to the public online before they are officially introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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