There’s a trick that’s often used in Alabama politics — one that Kay Ivey seems to know well. This trick comes in many different forms, and is disguised under many different names, but it is always essentially the same.
It’s pretending to do something while in reality doing nothing.
While that basically sums up Ivey’s entire tenure in politics — can anyone tell me anything of true importance that she’s ever done? — it is especially true when it comes to her alleged “clean up” of Montgomery politics.
Ivey was back at it again on Wednesday, claiming in a statement through one PAC-funded spokesperson or another that she has been cleaning up the corruption in state government. A claim that was made laughable by the indictment later in the day of the fifth state lawmaker in the last year.
But in the post-fact world created by Trump and wallowed in by desperate Republicans, the reality didn’t slow Ivey. She went right ahead proclaiming that she’s “cleaned up” Montgomery.
How has she allegedly accomplished this?
According to her campaign, by banning lobbyists from serving in the executive branch, replacing half of Bentley’s cabinet and disbanding several task forces. Her camp also told al.com that executive orders signed by Ivey would prevent nepotism in state contracts and force more accountability for companies receiving economic incentive deals.
All of that is utter nonsense.
It’s worthless, toothless, meaningless nonsense that wouldn’t have prevented a single one of the crimes for which any of the recently indicted or convicted state lawmakers were accused.
And one of those executive orders, Ivey violated herself.
That one about banning lobbyists from serving in the executive branch? Ivey cast the deciding vote for Eric Mackey, a registered lobbyist, to serve as the state superintendent of education — a position that makes him part of the executive branch.
And another — requiring accountability for economic incentive deals — is so laughable, it’s hard to imagine anyone typing it on purpose.
The fact is Ivey helped strip away some of the most important ethics laws that govern those economic incentive packages — those deals that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars that our lawmakers hand out in secret — and made them even more secretive.
By signing HB317 a few months ago, Ivey ignored the advice of prosecutors — some of whom played pivotal roles in the convictions of state lawmakers on ethics charges — and instead made it easier for lawmakers to steal your tax dollars.
But don’t take my word for that, take the word of the numerous Republicans. The not-exactly-liberal voices of Dick Brewbaker and Trip Pittman who took serious issue with the bill.
Brewbaker said it carved out a “broad exception” to the ethics laws for “a large group of people.” Pittman said the bill would harm transparency of the economic incentive deals and said it created “an opportunity for mischief.”
What it actually did was further muddy the waters that former House speaker Mike Hubbard was swimming in. And it made that whole line between bribery and recruiting industry a bit more blurry.
Which should come as a shock to no one, since the day Hubbard was convicted of 12 felonies, Ivey issued a statement saying she was praying for Hubbard and his family “through the uncertainties of this difficult time.”
Which makes it sound like Hubbard was diagnosed with an illness instead of being convicted for being a crook.
Maybe Ivey doesn’t know the difference. Maybe she’s been in Alabama politics and the state’s Republican Party for so long that corruption is just a way of life.
Maybe that explains why she’s accepted well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Jimmy Rane, one of the men from whom Hubbard was convicted of receiving a bribe. Maybe it explains why she’s also been flying all over the state on a plane owned by Rane.
Maybe Ivey genuinely doesn’t see the problems. Maybe she thinks this is all normal and that Alabama voters have become so accustomed to being robbed blind by the Alabama GOP that they’ll just go along with it. Maybe she thinks you’re all too stupid to understand that she’s helped facilitate the political graft instead of stop it.
Or maybe she spent so much time on that plane, we can chalk it all up to altitude sickness.