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Alabama ranks 14th in former legislators turned lobbyists

MONTGOMERY, (AP) - A new national study shows Alabama tying Arizona for the 14th highest number of former legislators who have become lobbyists trying to influence their former colleagues.

The study by the Center for Public Integrity in Washington shows that 31 former legislators were registered to lobby the Legislature in 2005.

Texas led the study with 70, followed by Florida with 60.

Virginia had the fewest, with six, according to the study.

Half the states had 24 or more former lawmakers registered to lobby state government in 2005.

Jim Sumner, executive director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, said ex-legislators turn to lobbying because of the money it pays.

"I think they see it as a lucrative way to make a living, after serving," Sumner told The Birmingham News.

A legislator receives about $31,000 annually in compen- sation, but a contract lobbyist, who represents several clients, often makes more than $100,000 a year, and some make more than $500,000 a year, said George Clark, a former representative who now lobbies for Manufacture Alabama, an association of companies that make paper, chemicals, textiles, steel and other products.

Crum Foshee left the Legislature in 1994 after 24 years in the House and Senate representing Covington County and its neighbors.

Foshee said he had little choice but to lobby when he got out because he had spent so much time on his legislative duties that he had lost his peanut and cotton farm in Red Level.

Foshee, whose first clients were engineering companies seeking state highway contracts, said lobbying provides "a decent living."

Determining lobbyists' income in Alabama is difficult because unlike many states, Alabama does not require lobbyists to report the salaries or fees they receive.

Besides Foshee and Clark, other former legislators who were registered with the state to lobby in 2005 were: George Bailey, John Baker, John Beasley, James Campbell, George Clay, William Cosby Jr., Robert Crowe, Ryan deGraffenried Jr., Joe Fine, Steve Flowers, Dewayne Freeman, Bob Gafford, Taylor Harper, Bob Hill Jr., Roy Johnson, Fred Jones, Beth Marietta Lyons, Bob McKee, John McMillan, Walter Owens, John Rice, David Stout, John Tanner, John Teague, James Warren, Mike Weeks, Nolan Williams, Steve Windom and Greg Wren.

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Information from: The Birmingham News

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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