We in Alabama have made a name for ourselves.
We are known for our football and for our politics.
The prominence of Alabama football is obvious.
Since 2008, Nick Saban teams have spent all or part of each season ranked #1 in national polls and again this year they are ranked #1–this is the fifth straight year that Alabama has entered the season in the top spot.
The Tigers claim twelve undefeated seasons.
Alabama named #1 in corruption
A study by Illinois State University’s Institute for Corruption Studies ranked Alabama as the most corrupt state in America last year in “legal corruption” (conduct by public officials that is technically legal but unethical) and second in “illegal corruption,” (conduct that is out-and-out against the law).
Recently the heads of all three branches of Alabama government were forced to leave office. Governor Robert Bentley resigned to conceal an affair with an adviser; Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Hubbard was criminally convicted and his lost his position; and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roy Moore was suspended for his actions following a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Oguzhan Dincer, director of the Institute, said the findings of his survey have been mostly consistent since he and research partner Michael Johnston conducted their first annual study in 2014.
“Quite frankly, it’s been pretty sticky, especially states like Alabama,” he said. “Once a state becomes corrupt, it stays corrupt for a while.”
Even more corruption
This year, the corruption continues.
In February 2018, Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives, was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay $50,657 restitution for mail fraud conviction.
Later this year allegations were made in a corruption case brought against state Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills; Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne; lobbyist “Marty” Connors of Alabaster; and G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, who owned Trina Health. Williams, Davis, and Connors were charged with bribery, honest services wire fraud, and honest services fraud. Gilbert was also charged with wire fraud, healthcare fraud, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Williams has since applied for pretrial diversion.
And then in Jefferson County, a Balch & Bingham attorney, Joel Gilbert, and a Drummond Company Vice President, David Roberson, were recently found guilty on all federal charges involving bribery of an Alabama legislator Oliver Robinson. Robinson admitted guilt for conspiracy, bribery, fraud, and tax evasion.
Demand more from our elected officials
Most people would probably agree that Coach Saban is the best college football coach in America. And if he wins another national college football championship, he will likely be remembered as the best football coach in history.
Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn inherited an Auburn Tiger football team that did not win a single SEC game in the 2012 season and then lead Auburn to an SEC Championship and an appearance in the 2014 BCS Championship Game. Auburn beat Alabama last year to win the SEC Championship.
We demand the very best from our football coaches and players.
Let’s demand the same high standards from our elected officials.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
Invite David to speak to your group about a better Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org