Alabama government sector lobbying
This practice is controversial because public funds are spent to lobby for an agenda not subject to direct approval by voters, and outcomes may be contrary taxpayers' benefit.
In 2008, Jefferson County considered hiring a lobbyist for $100,000 a year to help influence the state legislature on county bankruptcy.
In 2009, Birmingham created the Alabama Green Initiative, a collection of municipalities in the area. The group lobbies on behalf of the municipalities to help them attain environmental grants.
Is lobbying worth the cost?
Jefferson County hired a $120,000 a year lobbyist for 2010, but because it evaluates the value of such contracts during its budget deliberations, this contract will not be extended.
The Birmingham City Council has a lobbying contract for federal lobbying with Handprint Bell Consulting. The contract began July 1, 2010, and is $250,000 for lobbying services in fiscal 2011.
Several members of the city council questioned whether the city, which has financial difficulties, should approve another contract. Skepticism stems from the summer of 2009 after several errors were discovered in the company's report to the council. In one of the entries, the company claimed responsibility for securing $10 million in federal money for clean drinking water, but that work was done under a separate contract with the Birmingham Water Works. Some officials also questioned the role the company played in securing $1.42 million to increase the public transit fleet.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations
City and municipal
- Alabama Association of Municipal Revenue Officers
- Alabama City County Management Association
- Alabama League of Municipalities
- Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police
- Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs
- Alabama State Troopers Association
- Alabama Circuit Clerks Association
- Alabama District Attorneys Association
- Alabama District Judges Association
- Alabama Municipal Court Clerks & Magistrate Association
- Alabama State Bar
- "Birmingham law firm recommended for Jefferson County lobbying contract," November 27, 2008
- "Birmingham, Alabama Leads the Way for Green Lobbying: Introduces the Alabama Green Initiative," January 23, 2009
- "The Jefferson County Commission's instincts on county spending and a county lobbyist smell right ," November 18, 2010
- "City Council asks if Birmingham gets its money's worth from lobbyist," July 27, 2010