Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Alabama public universities spend $610k lobbying

An extraordinary AP story about lobbying by the Univ of Alabama and Senator Tom Coburn's efforts to find out more about this corrupt system of political spoils where everybody wins except the taxpayer.

Excerpt

"The University of Alabama System and its three member campuses in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Birmingham led the way in spending with a total of $610,000. Most of that went to Van Scoyoc Associates Inc., a Washington firm well-stocked with former aides to Alabama lawmakers like Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer, both members of the powerful appropriations committees that write spending legislation.

University officials said they were proud of their efforts, insisting that lobbying has been critical in winning federal funding to improve the state's higher education system and economy.

"The return on investment would strike me as being an excellent value for the taxpayers," said Kellee Reinhart, spokeswoman for the University of Alabama System. (Clearly Ms. Reinhardt is forgetting that the same taxpayers who pay State taxes ALSO pay Federal taxes) "We're a $2.5 billion enterprise. We are the largest employer in the state. The volume and complexity of projects for which we seek support certainly benefit from having a streamlined channel of communication."