(Lawdog’s warning turned out to be remarkably prescient. The Legislature passed part “ethics reform” and part “political payback.” – promoted by countrycat)
With Governor Riley's ethics reform proposals, the Republican Wrecking Crew is at it again and they are making yet another effort to Defund the Left by wrecking the Democratic Party by starving its constituent movements or shutting down the avenues by which its leaders receive contributions.
Now, we have the outlines of Governor Riley's ethics reform package. Two key proposals of Governor Bob Riley's ethics reform package are nothing more than a blatant attempt to defund the Left and the AEA, a key interest group within the Alabama Democratic Party. Those are the proposals to prohibit AEA from collecting dues by payroll deduction and the ban on so-called “double dipping,” i.e., so as to prohibit a member of the Alabama Legislature from holding another government job including public school jobs. Both of these proposals have already passed in a Senate committee.
I am all in favor of real ethics reform, but much of Governor Riley's ethics reform package is not about ethics, and instead it's just a political move and an excuse to weaken his political opponents.
There is nothing unethical about the payroll deduction for AEA, it's simply a means to let a member pay their dues. It's a procedure.
This is not about ethics. This is a political move. It's a move strictly to rig the system in the Republicans favor. It also may be political retaliation. So, ethics reform is, itself, motivated by evil motives.
So, then, key aspects of Gov. Riley's proposed ethics reform are corrupt and cynical. It's an effort to help Republicans and hurt Democrats. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.
Likewise, the ban on “double dipping” is just another way to weaken the AEA and the education infrastructure. It is attempt to ban a situation that helps education groups and Democrats and leave open all sorts of conflicts of interest that favor Republicans. Does someone working in the private sector not have a conflict of interest when voting on measures that affect his or her profession? Why are we not doing anything about that? The answer is that it would not do anything to help Repubicans and the main reason for this proposal is simply to hurt the AEA and help Republicans. Republicans are cherrypicking for purely political reasons.
The “double dipping” ban also has the effect of banning all teachers from serving in the legislature. Why do we want to ban an entire profession from serving in the Legislature? The answer is it helps Republicans.
Republicans want to rig the system in their favor and strengthen their own control over power. Put simply, taking away the payroll deduction would weaken AEA. This is an attempt to weaken a key constituency that tends to support the Democratic party. Put another way, this is an example of Republicans using ethics reform as a ruse to rig the system in their favor.
The Alabama Democratic party is not opposed to real ethics reform. In fact, the Democrats have come out with their own proposals to strengthen reform, including requiring the Secretary of State to create a searchable database of campaign donations.
By the way, I favor good government and transparency, and I support that part of ethics reform. I do NOT have a problem with the three bills that have passed through a House committee. Those 3 bills would ban pass-through pork, ban PAC to PAC transfers and require executive branch lobbyists to register. Those bills actually go to clean up the system, and I am fine with that. But, Republicans should not use ethics reform as a ruse to rig the political system in their favor. Republicans have managed to make even ethics reform into something that is both unethical and corrupt.
Democrats and people of good conscience should speak up to stop this perversion of ethics reform by the Republicans.