MONTGOMERY — A bill to exempt economic developers from state ethics rules governing lobbyists passed the Alabama House of Representatives overwhelmingly Thursday. The vote was 94-4, with three abstentions.
The legislation is seen as essential by the state’s economic development community, which argues that treating site selectors like lobbyists and requiring them to publicly disclose their clients will result in Alabama missing out on the next Mercedes, Honda or Mazda-Toyota type of projects. Read more.
A former director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, who’s now the regional administrator for the EPA, has been indicted on state ethics charges related to the case in which an executive of Drummond Corporation and a partner in the Balch and Bingham law firm were convicted earlier this year.
Onis “Trey” Glenn III, who directed ADEM from 2005 to 2009 and later was appointed by President Donald Trump to head the EPA in the southeastern states, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury of multiple charges sought by the Alabama Ethics Commission.
In addition, Scott Phillips, who was once an Alabama Environmental Management commissioner and later a business partner with Glenn, also was indicted on multiple ethics charges.
As of Tuesday evening, the indictment documents had not been filed on Alacourt, the state’s online court filing system, so neither the exact number of counts nor the details of each count can be independently verified. However, the Ethics Commission released a brief statement with some details, confirming that the indictment — handed down by the grand jury Friday — was for “use of office for personal gain,” “soliciting and/or receiving a ‘thing of value’ from a principal, lobbyist or subordinate of a lobbyist,” and receiving money in addition to that received in one’s official capacity.” Read more.