Alabama’s ethics law was last updated in 1992. Since then, we’ve had multiple legislators indicted, and reportedly one of the largest investigations into public corruption in the country. The BGA Integrity Index ranks Alabama 4th in the nation in terms of public corruption. If ever there was a need for ethics reform, Alabama has it.
Requiring mandatory ethics training for all elected officials, mandatory disclosure of all money spent lobbying [Currently, we only require lobbyists to report anything over $250.], and giving the State Ethics Commission subpoena power would be a good start. Increased transparency should also be a goal for the next legislature. A ban on PAC to PAC transfers would bring some clarity to campaign contributions. It is almost impossible to trace the source of donations to candidates when they have been washed through multiple PACs. Additionally, Governor Riley has commendably put the state’s checkbook online, but the system is difficult to use and understand, and doesn’t always have up to date information. Improving this site in a searchable format would also be a step in the right direction.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure the legislature passes real ethics reform:
1. Call your legislator and let them know you want ethics reform.
2. Call Governor Riley and let him know you’d like a special session called on ethics reform.