Ethics Commission clears Tuggle as Speaker’s Office Chief

Ethics Commission clears Tuggle as Speaker’s Office Chief

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Ethics Commission on Wednesday cleared outgoing State Rep. Mark Tuggle to serve as chief of staff for House Speaker Mac McCutcheon provided he does not engage in lobbying to “personally benefit himself, his family, or any business with which he is associated” for two years.

A ‘revolving door’ provision within the state’s Ethics Code prohibits former lawmakers from lobbying the Legislature for two years after they leave office. Similar restrictions exist on the national level, all to prevent lawmakers from seeking potentially lucrative lobbying jobs from firms trying to win their votes while they are still in office.

The Commission held that “communicating information relating to policies or positions that will affect the Office of the Speaker is an exception to the definition of lobbying… but lobbying for an agenda outside of the interests of his employer is not.”

That means Tuggle can talk to lawmakers and advocate for the Speaker’s agenda, a critical function of the Speaker’s top adviser.

Alabama Daily News reported in May that Tuggle was rumored to be replacing outgoing chief of staff Jimmy Entrekin, who recently became general counsel for the Legislative Services Agency.

Wednesday’s advisory opinion is the first official confirmation that Tuggle is going to the Speaker’s Office. Rep. Tuggle and Speaker McCutcheon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the full Ethics Commission advisory opinion by clicking the image below.