Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler wants to be governor so bad he can taste it – and can’t resist writing about it. Which is the bigger joke: Jim Zeigler self-publishing a campaign book or being dumb enough to hawk it via an official press release from the State Auditor’s office?
It seems fitting, given Zeigler’s rather erratic behavior at times, that the publisher declined to list it in either the “history” or “fiction” categories, instead placing it in the “Humor” category.
But humor aside, let’s consider the ethics of this press release. For sure, Zeigler didn’t. Even though the Alabama Ethics Guidelines for Public Officials and Employees is a detailed, 24-page document, even someone with a short attention span could surely make it to page 2:
You can read the entire revised ethics law here.
Apparently our State Auditor had an inkling that his recent foray into self-publishing was skirting at least the spirit of the law, so he assured readers that it’s just not so:
Zeigler says he will make no money off the book, since 100% of the proceeds go to promote the book to Alabama residents.
Since Zeigler is a lawyer and State Auditor, he surely understands how to read a legal statute, and it seems clear that the concepts of “personal gain” and “personal benefit” aren’t limited to money. Here’s the “personal gain” he expects from the book:
“Whether I will run for governor or re-election as auditor depends partly on the people’s response to the new book.
Zeigler says he expects other potential candidates for governor to copy this “Zeigler tactic” and publish books on their own, “mostly ghost-written by the usual suspect.”
Zeigler says he got the idea for the book from potential presidential candidates who release a book about a year before they make a decision on running for president. “Potential candidates for governor have not written their pre-campaign books, but that has now changed. Just watch. Watch what an impact this book will have on the upcoming race for governor,” Zeigler predicted.
If public officials aiming for higher office could legally use their office staff time and email accounts to promote their candidacy with books and other campaign swag, why aren’t all of them doing so? It’s truly had to believe that former-Speaker and convicted ethics felon Mike Hubbard didn’t think of this little scheme.
Keep in mind that Zeigler makes $86,000/year in his current job – and here is how he spent his first year in office:
- He worried about the danger of a United Nations takeover of Alabama.
- He blamed Oprah Winfrey when George and Lurleen Wallace’s portraits were moved.
- He hung out with neo-Confederates.
- He urged Alabamians to take guns to church with them.
- He palled around with domestic terrorists outside women’s clinics.
- He visited Limestone County to campaign against a tax increase to fund the local school system.
- He started his own weekly radio show.
Zeigler’s press release is, like all communications from his office, an exercise in self-aggrandizement and narcissism worthy of our current President.