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MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007
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EDITORIAL

How Troy King can make asset out of a liability

Melvin Cooper is optimistic about Alabama Attorney General Troy King’s future despite an ethical lapse.

“The media has done him a favor because I think Troy will be a fine attorney general and you won’t see this happening again,” Mr. Cooper said after the press caught Mr. King accepting Atlanta Braves tickets and the use of a skybox from Alabama Power Co.

“Once burned,” Mr. Cooper continued, “it’s somebody else’s fault. Twice burned, it’s your fault.”

We hope Mr. Cooper, the retired founding director of the Alabama Ethics Commission, is correct. But remember another incident: Mr. King asked then-Post-secondary Chancellor Roy Johnson to help another person get a job while the attorney general’s office was investigating Mr. Johnson. And Mr. King refuses to admit he made a mistake about the Braves episode, which began as a church outing.

“If more people would spend time with people they go to church with, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir (and) at baseball games and (going to) children’s puppet theaters with their kids, Alabama would be a better place, not a worse place,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Alabama would also be a better place if our attorney general were part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Mr. King is lucky that his bad moves came out after he won the Nov. 7 election. Now he has almost four years until the next election to redeem himself.

First, he should tell us that he’s a changed man, that he will avoid even the hint of a conflict of interest. Second, he should lead the charge to reform ethics and accountability laws. He could start by embracing Gov. Bob Riley’s proposal to make elected officials report every gift they receive.

“An easy way to do it is make everyone report everything,” the governor said. “If it’s a cup of coffee, just list it.

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