Alabamians are bracing for a sweeping political prosecution that alleges influence-peddling at the highest levels of state government. Again.
The witness list reads like pages torn from a Who’s Who in Alabama. Again.
Pundits are saying the trial will shine a light on how things actually get done in Alabama politics. Again.
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, whose trial on ethics charges is set to begin in March, is just the latest in a string of high-profile politicians who have faced prosecution in recent memory.
Two of Alabama’s past six governors have been convicted while in office and sent to prison, one on a bribery conviction he still is appealing and the other for appropriating inaugural campaign funds for personal use. Now a lawmaker is asking the attorney general to investigate rumors that current Gov. Robert Bentley has used state resources for personal purposes, rumors that surfaced after Bentley’s wife filed for divorce in August.
Given all of this, it’s no surprise that Alabama scored a 67, D+, on the State Integrity Investigation, an assessment of state government accountability and transparency by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. While the score places Alabama in 7th place among 50, the highest-ranking state, Alaska, received a grade of C, and 11 earned Fs.
Alabama’s overall score was somewhat lower than what it received the first time the project was published, in 2012, when it was given a C-, though its ranking that year was 17th. The two scores are not directly comparable due to changes made to improve and update the project and methodology, such as eliminating the category for redistricting, a process that generally occurs only once every 10 years.