Pass an ethics bill now

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why would any Alabama representative or senator be against giving the state’s ethics commission the tools it needs to do its job?

We can think of no good reason.

We expect our elected officials to follow rules and demonstrate morality and integrity. Unfortunately, Alabama residents know better than many that such is not always the case.

A former Alabama governor is in federal prison and the mayor of our neighboring Birmingham appears headed for that same fate, both for corruption while in office.

Alabama is the only state whose ethics commission has no subpoena power. If corrupt Alabama government officials are prosecuted, it’s up to the federal government to do so.

That’s why it’s such a surprise that year after year, measures to strengthen the ethics oversight of our elected officials fail.

In this day and age, when citizens have grown so leery of politicians, our elected officials’ refusal to pass real ethics reform acts only to continue the erosion of public trust.

State Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, again plans to introduce legislation to provide some real investigative power to the state’s ethics commission.

Maybe in this election year, true ethics reform in Alabama has a chance to become a reality.

For more information about Ward’s proposed legislation, visit his Web site at To find out more about the state’s ethics commission, visit