Friday, December 30, 2016

DC corruption silence

Since November 10th, I have made efforts to elicit comment from the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington and from other leaders in Alabama government and politics, concerning President-Elect Trump's Contract with the American Voter and its plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion.

I have sent tweets multiple times to Senators Sessions and Shelby and to Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell, and also have sent tweets to Governor Bentley (who will appoint a successor to Senator Sessions) and to contenders that the Governor has interviewed.

The only responses have been from Representative Byrne, who said he supported term limits, and from Perry Hooper, who said he was co-chair and campaigned across the state for Trump's #draintheswamp agenda.

The efforts that have been made are memorialized in the below blog entries:
Trump's contract with American voter, November 10, 2016
AL Cong'l delegation lobbying ban positions, December 6, 2016
Contenders for Sessions seat, December 13, 2016
Is fighting DC corruption an AL priority, December 18, 2016
PBS News hour, December 29, 2016
Tim Lockette, January 4, 2017
Further ideas for fixing Congress?, January 6, 2017
Luther Strange's $309,000, January 12. 2017

Update 1/3/17
Now we know the reason for the Alabama sounds of silence about Wash DC corruption.
Republicans in Congress have been busy conspiring to eviscerate Congressional ethics.

Edit: During the day, the President-Elect pulled the Republicans back.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

PBS Newshour

Would the Alabama legislative delegation please watch the below video from last night's PBS Newshour and offer their comments. Thank you.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Is fighting DC corruption an AL priority?

I wish for the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington to make a priority of restoring honesty and accountability, and cleaning up corruption and special interest collusion, as promised by the President-Elect in his Contract with the American Voter. See The 2018 citizens' unity Congress.

Are Alabama's representatives in Congress going to make it any priority of theirs to help advance this in 2017? (Rep. Byrne has said he supports term limits (see Term limits), but I don't know what Rep. Byrne plans to do in 2017 to advance that.)

One of the President-Elect's proposed measures is a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

Regarding the lobbying ban measure: Is that something individual members of Congress could implement for themselves and their staffs without Congressional action as a whole? If yes, are Alabama's representatives in Congress willing to undertake that immediately for themselves and their staffs? Answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated.

Since the President-Elect has famously taken to Twitter for communicating directly to voters, might Alabama's legislative delegation in DC do similarly, and further extend the same to two way communications between the Representative and his or her constituents? Such a use of Twitter could be the start of new transparency and accountability in our governance. Please consider this suggestion. I will initiate here from the constituent side by using the #alpolitics, #al01, etc. hashtags.

Thank you.

12/28/16: See AL Cong'l delegation lobbying ban positions;  Contenders for Sessions seat.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Contenders for Sessions seat

Dear Governor Bentley,

In the 2016 Presidential election, the American people heard for eighteen months about a rigged, broken, and corrupt Congress and political system. This came from both Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side.

It culminated with Donald Trump's Contract with the American Voter, in which the President-Elect committed to embark immediately on a plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington. The Contract proposed six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC. These are:
★ FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
★ SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).
★ THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
★ FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
★ FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
★ SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

In deciding whom you will appoint to replace Senator Sessions in Congress (assuming he will be confirmed as Attorney General), I urge you to think about the importance of cleaning up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington DC, and how well your appointment will advance that objective.

Thank you.

UPDATE 12/21/16 Persons reported under consideration
It has been reported that Gov. Bentley has interviewed  suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Judge Roy Moore; U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville; former state Rep. Perry Hooper of Montgomery; Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston; Associate Justice Glenn Murdock; Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur; Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper; and Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster.
Inquiry is made to those persons about what their positions and commitment are for restoring honesty and accountability, and cleaning up corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC.
The list of contenders for Sessions seat grows with this report of Bentley interviews of state Attorney General Luther Strange, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby,  U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, businessman Tim James,  and state Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

AL Cong'l delegation lobbying ban positions

Will the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington please announce their positions regarding the President-Elect's lobbying ban proposals. Please report whether there are any Congressional bills you are supporting or will support and other steps you will be taking for a lobbying ban for Congress and Congressional staffs.

Washington Post
Trump administration will ban lobbyists, enact five-year lobbying ban after leaving government


Donald Trump’s transition team on Wednesday announced that registered state and federal lobbyists will not be allowed to serve in the Trump administration, and people who leave the administration will have to wait five years before they can become lobbyists.
“It goes back to Trump’s goal to make sure people aren’t using government to enrich themselves,” transition spokesman Sean Spicer said on a call with reporters. “The key thing for this administration is going to be that people going out of government won’t be able to use that service to enrich themselves for a five-year period.”
Every person who joins the administration will be asked to sign a lobbying ban form that states they are not a registered lobbyist. If they are, they will have to provide evidence of their termination.
The policy comes after days of criticism over Trump’s inclusion of lobbyists on the transition team, despite his campaign pledge to keep special interests out of Washington.
On its face, the lobbyist ban appears stringent, but it could be easily skirted if a lobbyist were to deregister to be eligible to join the administration. One sign indicates that it may already be happening: A close aide to Pence who is a Washington lobbyist, Josh Pitcock, filed paperwork with the Senate on Monday to terminate his status as a federal lobbyist. Pitcock advised Pence during the presidential campaign, and has lobbied for the state of Indiana since 2013, earning $280,000 a year to lobby on a wide range of issues including health-care marketplace exchange rates and resources for the state’s response to the Zika virus, lobbying records show. Pitcock did not immediately return a request for comment.
The five-year ban is something Trump proposed on the campaign trail in October, and it greatly expands on lobbying ethics rules that impose a one-year or two-year ban — often referred to as a “cooling-off period” — on lawmakers and administration officials becoming lobbyists after leaving government.

The five-year ban will make it harder for Trump to recruit people to work in the administration. It is common for administration officials at all levels to join the law and lobbying industry after leaving government because their policy expertise is highly valued by firms and companies. Limiting people’s post-government employment prospects for five years will probably discourage many people in the Washington policy community, lobbyists or not, from wanting to join the administration.

Update 12/7/16 The President-Elect has also proposed term limits for Congress. See Term limits. I have also asked our Alabama delegation about this: