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Alabama Power gives AG King Braves box seats

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama Power Co. treated Attorney General Troy King, his family and friends with free use of the company’s luxury box at Turner Field for an Atlanta Braves baseball game on July 28, and only last week reported it to the state Ethics Commission after The Birmingham News asked about the trip.

A power company lawyer said the company gave King 14 tickets for the baseball game and the use of the company’s skybox, which was occupied solely by King, his family and members of his church, The News reported in a story Sunday.

Comparable boxes rent for more than $2,000 a day, according to the report, citing information on the Braves’ Web site.

King said it was not a conflict of interest to accept the use of the skybox. King said it posed no more of a conflict than taking a campaign contribution.

As attorney general, King represents Alabama Power’s customers before the state
Public Service Commission, which decides such things as how much the power company is allowed to charge for electricity.

After The News asked about the trip, Alabama Power reported the expenses to the Ethics Commission on Friday.

Alabama Power spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander said the tickets given to King to distribute had a face value of $45 each.

Five were for King’s family. and the rest were for his church choir members, Kurlander said.

King said he was offered the tickets by Alabama Power because his church choir had been asked to sing the national anthem.

“The choir ultimately ended up canceling the trip because they did not have enough choir members sign up to go,” King told The News.

King said his family and the family of two choir members decided to go to the game anyway.

Even though he handed out the tickets to the skybox, King said the other families were
Alabama Power’s guests, not his.

State law requires lobbyists and companies to file a report with the Ethics Commission any time they spend $250 or more per day entertaining a public official.

Although the responsibility for reporting the costs falls on the companies picking up the tab, Ethics Commission Director Jim Sumner said he urges elected officials to make sure such expenses are reported.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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