We continue to elect embarrassments



By Jeff Martin

Nothing makes a better case to eliminate the constitutional office of state auditor, than the constant antics of current State Auditor Jim Zeigler. Don’t misunderstand, Zeigler, to my knowledge has never advocated that the office was unnecessary and a waste of public dollars, but with all the time he appears to have on his hand to involve himself in almost everything political is proof enough there is no need for an elected state auditor.  

   Truth is the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, who has the authority to perform audits of all entities receiving or disbursing public funds, could easily take over the state auditor duties of counting office furniture. 

   Zeigler has often used the state auditor’s office for political grandstanding since winning election in 2014. He once tried to interview a piece of furniture during the Bentley sex scandal and he came out in defense of Roy Moore during his sex scandal and received national ridicule when he compared that situation to the birth of Christ saying “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter,” and continued; “there’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

   Foot in mouth, it happens to Zeigler a lot.

   A few weeks ago Zeigler committed the act of fear-mongering when he sent several official press releases warning capitol visitors to stay away from downtown one particular afternoon because “of the likelihood of unruly crowds,” Zeigler continued that he “expected arrests, mostly for misdemeanors and that a crowd of 2,000 protesting lack of Medicaid, LGBT rights and housing funding might try to enter the capitol and other state buildings.”

   The Poor People’s Campaign was the rally he was referring. They were rallying to draw attention to the issues of hunger. The 50 or so people peacefully protesting had all gone through nonviolent civil disobedience training.

    One of Zeigler’s concerns was his office was closest to the capitol rotunda and front steps. I guess that he feared a storming of the building and the possibility of being held hostage by the group consisting mainly of clergy, but it was either that or he is just a blatant bigot.

   Ironically, it was just a couple of months ago when Zeigler hosted two gun rights groups allowing them to hold a rally on the state capitol grounds. That day, Zeigler told the crowd of about 150 gathered on the capitol lawn that “rules banning guns from the rally site were ironic and unconstitutional and that the capitol grounds belong to the people.”

   Zeigler sent no press release warning people to stay away from the capitol the day people came to rally for guns. Hell, he was inviting them. Sounds like a double standard to me, as if he implies his ‘friends with guns’ are welcome to protest on state property, but not those damn peaceful liberals who just want to bring attention to issues of hunger.

   Recently, Zeigler surrendered his law license to the Alabama State Bar. A search on the Alabama State Bar’s website details Zeigler’s surrender under a heading of “Discipline Notices,” but goes on to indicate that Zeigler surrendered his license voluntarily. Representatives from the Alabama State Bar would not go into further detail.

   When asked for an explanation, Zeigler told Inside Alabama Politics “I never intend to go back into the practice of law. When I finish public service, I intend to go back to my original occupation- investigative reporter. I resigned the bar association voluntarily.”

  It is believed that Zeigler was about to lose his law license for disciplinary reasons and rather than continue fighting and the matter becoming public, he “voluntarily” gave up his license to practice law.

   It doesn’t take a genius to know a candidate in the middle of a statewide election doesn’t just voluntarily surrender their law license, even if you don’t plan to practice law.

   As you read this, the primary election is over and I imagine Zeigler has been celebrating and is well on his way to being elected to a second term, without so much as a runoff, even though he faced two viable GOP contenders.

   Leaving me to wonder, why does Alabama continue to elect embarrassments?

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