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Report says senator paid by school his bill aids

AUBURN (AP) — A state senator is being paid nearly $6,000 a year by a private military school that receives state funding through bills he sponsors, the Opelika-Auburn News reported Monday.

The newspaper said Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, has for years sponsored bills to provide state funding to Lyman Ward Military Academy at Camp Hill.

Little has been on the payroll at Lyman Ward since 1988 and has received the same pay of $665 a month for nine months since then to lecture at the school on government issues at least once a month, the newspaper said.

Little has introduced a bill this session to appropriate $249,760 to Lyman Ward Military Academy.

Little said even though the school is private, the appropriation has been a regular feature in the state budgets since 1914.

He said he teaches "at least on a monthly basis" and attends "graduation every year" for the $5,985 he is paid annually.

"I go up at least on a monthly basis as my schedule permits," Little said. "I say I teach, but what I do is lecture on government and issues such as taxation and help explain how government and our legal system works."

Talks to parents

Little said he also talks to parents who are considering sending their children to Lyman Ward, a boarding school with less than 300 students from all over the country. He said he should be the lawmaker to sponsor appropriation bills for Lyman Ward, since the school is in his district.

Little sponsored appropriation bills for Lyman Ward the past three years, when the military school received $144,000 in 2004 and $193,328 in both 2005 and 2006.

Hugh Evans, general counsel for the Alabama Ethics Commission, said the state ethics law does not prohibit legislators from working for state agencies or private organizations that get money from the state.

Speaking generically and not talking about any specific case, Evans said the law also does not prohibit lawmakers from voting on or sponsoring legislation, like a budget, that benefits a number of organizations including the one for whom he or she works.

But Evans said the law does prohibit lawmakers from taking action that benefits only themselves or the organization paying them.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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