05 Jul 2012
- Last Updated on Friday, 06 July 2012 06:26
- Published Date
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Spencer Bachus are among the most generous members of Congress when it comes to handing out campaign cash to their colleagues and other contenders, according to an analysis of political action committees.
So far in this 2012 election cycle, Bachus' political action committee has donated $271,500 to other candidates, the 11th-highest amount among the leadership PACs. Shelby's has dished out $205,000, the 19th-highest amount, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. And the election is still four months away.
Topping the list is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., at more than $1.3 million, and second is House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, at just more than $1 million.
The center lists 373 leadership PACs active in this cycle that are run mostly by current and former veteran members of Congress. They are separate from their own re-election accounts, but they tend to raise money from many of the same sources. The difference is in how they spend it. Instead of helping their own elections, members use money in their leadership PACs to donate to other members of Congress or challengers in other congressional races.
Shelby and Bachus, both longtime veterans with leadership positions on their respective banking committees who usually have uncompetitive general elections, routinely are in the upper echelons of leadership PAC spending. They help their friends who are in close races, or they help Republican upstarts try to unseat Democrats or win open seats. The donating also helps curry favor with their party's leadership and their colleagues who may have a voice in deciding whether they get a key leadership appointment.
Bachus' PAC, Growth and Prosperity, has so far this cycle cut checks to 62 Republican House candidates and six Senate candidates. Overall, his leadership PAC spending has been on a steady decline since its high point in the 2006 cycle, when he was competing for the top Republican spot on the House Financial Services Committee. That year he raised and spent about $1 million. His colleagues appointed him to the highest-ranking Republican seat on the powerful committee. He is in his last year as chairman.
The bulk of the donations to Growth and Prosperity in 2012 are from PACs affiliated with the industries and companies that are overseen by the financial services committee. Dozens of such PACs contributed the maximum $10,000, such as the American Bankers Association, Goldman Sachs, Regions Financial and the National Association of Realtors.
PACs related to the insurance industry gave the most, $113,000, according to the data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
03 Jul 2012
- Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2012 06:19
- Published Date
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday Alabama Governor Bentley (R) announced officially that Airbus was indeed coming to Alabama. The France aerospace company will construct a $600 million passenger plane production facility employing about 1,000 workers in Mobile. The facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile will assemble the A319, A320, and A321 model airliners which are used by airlines all over the world. The construction phase of the project will create almost 3,200 construction-related jobs over three years.
Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said, “We are going to create jobs we are going to bring investments and we are going to create economic development right here in Mobile, AL.” “We are very proud to be in an American town that we call home.”
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said, "Today, we lift the veil off plans for an industry altering world class aircraft assembly plant as well as the blueprint for South Alabama's economic future. For the better part of a decade EADS/Airbus has not only forged a partnership, but also a deep bond of friendship with Mobile and the Gulf Coast, standing with us during Katrina with more than 20 tons of relief supplies and working alongside us at their engineering facility at Brookley Aeroplex. We weathered and overcame storms that challenged our resolve, yet we never lost confidence that we would one day join hands to make history.”
Alabama Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R) said, “This decision by Airbus shows that Alabama continues to remain competitive with other states in the nation when it comes to recruiting highly sought after industrial prospects and mega-projects. The quality of our world-class workforce and the work ethic of Alabamians give us a considerable advantage, and I believe the affordable utility rates and dependable energy we can provide puts us over the top when compared to other states.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said, “When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, Alabama’s pride and workmanship will soar along with them. We have worked a long time and have put in many hours to make this announcement a reality. This project will create thousands of well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve. Alabama has the best workforce you’ll find anywhere in the country. Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama.”
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama said, “Mobile is advancing toward a historic period of growth and prosperity.”
Airbus Head of Strategy Christian Sherer said that the Mobile plant would be built just like the company’s Hamburg and Toulouse plants. The plant is expected to be up and in full production by 2015. By 2017 the plant will be producing 40 to 50 airplanes a year.
PSC Commissioner Cavanaugh said, “ I am convinced our ability to provide affordable energy to these large industrial utility consumers has helped Alabama land companies like Airbus, Hyundai, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota and so many others across the state.” Twinkle Cavanaugh warned that new EPA regulations could close many of Alabama’s coal powered electricity plants and make it harder for Alabama to attract new jobs like Airbus in the future.
Gov. Bentley said, “I want to thank everyone involved – from Airbus to our Alabama Department of Commerce to leaders of the City of Mobile and Mobile County. They, along with local economic developers and federal partners, helped bring this project home. “We all worked together for a common goal, and success is the result. Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship.”
Airbus already has an engineering center in Mobile that employs 200 workers. This will be the first Airbus assembly plant built in the United States.
03 Jul 2012
- Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2012 06:17
- Published Date
A coalition of groups seeking to overturn the state’s immigration law said Monday that Attorney General Luther Strange should issue new guidelines to law enforcement based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.
In particular, representatives of the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and National Immigration Law Center said they believed the justices had limited implementation of Section 12 of Alabama’s immigration law, which allows law enforcement to check the immigration status of those they have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country unlawfully.
Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said they had collected complaints of “racial profiling and prolonged detention” in the enforcement of the law.
“There’s a more basic issue of human values here,” she said on a conference call Monday. “We as Americans expect to go about our business lawfully without having law enforcement demand to know our right to be here.”
In a statement, Strange said Monday he had “great confidence” in law enforcement’s approach to the immigration statute.
“Racial profiling is not, and will not be tolerated in Alabama, and our law enforcement agencies adhere to strict guidelines that prohibit racial profiling,” he said.
“This office has worked closely with law enforcement in their development of training for all officers through the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission and other agencies, and we will continue to do so as needed.”
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three provisions of an immigration law in Arizona that served as a model for Alabama’s. The justices allowed Arizona’s “reasonable suspicion” provision to stand, saying the implementation of the provision needed to be demonstrated, and possibly adjudicated in state court.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that “detaining individuals solely to determine their immigration status would raise constitutional concerns.”
Kennedy did, however, say there were situations where the law could be read where checks could be conducted constitutionally, such as an “authorized, lawful detention.”
AG ANNOUNCES ALABAMA TO RECEIVE ALMOST SIX MILLION DOLLARS FROM GLAXOSMITHKLINE TO SETTLE DRUG MARKETING AND PRICING CLAIMS
03 Jul 2012
- Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2012 06:17
- Published Date
From the Office of Attorney General Luther Strange
(MONTGOMERY)--Attorney General Luther Strange announced today that Alabama and various other states and the federal government have reached an agreement in principle for the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.
Under the terms of the settlement, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve allegations that GSK engaged in various illegal schemes related to the marketing and pricing of drugs it manufactures. As part of the settlement, GSK will pay to the states and the federal government a total of $2 billion in damages and civil penalties to compensate various federal healthcare programs, including Medicaid, for harm allegedly suffered as a result of the illegal conduct. As part of this settlement, Alabama will receive a total of $5,909,500 in recoveries from GSK. In addition, GSK has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges relating to drug labeling and FDA reporting and has agreed to pay a $1 billion criminal fine in connection with those allegations.
The state and federal governments alleged that GSK engaged in a pattern of unlawfully marketing certain drugs for uses for which the drugs were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); making false representations regarding the safety and efficacy of certain drugs; offering kickbacks to medical professionals; and underpaying rebates owed to government programs for various drugs paid for by Medicaid and other federally-funded healthcare programs. Specifically, the government alleged that GSK engaged in the following activities:
- Marketing the depression drug Paxil for off-label uses, such as use by children and adolescents;
- Marketing the depression drug Wellbutrin for off-label uses, such as for weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction, and at higher-than-approved dosages;
- Marketing the asthma drug Advair for off-label uses, including first-line use for asthma;
- Marketing the seizure medication Lamictal for off-label uses, including bipolar depression, neuropathic pain, and various other psychiatric conditions;
- Marketing the nausea drug Zofran for off-label uses, including pregnancy-related nausea;
- Making false representations regarding the safety and efficacy of Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, and the diabetes drug Avandia;
- Offering kickbacks, including entertainment, cash, travel, and meals, to healthcare professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictan, Zofran, the migraine drug Imitrex, the irritable bowel syndrome drug Lotronex, the asthma drug Flovent, and the shingles and herpes drug Valtrex; and
- Submitting incorrect pricing data for various drugs, thereby underpaying rebates owed to Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs.
As part of the settlement, GSK has also agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges that it violated the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) in connection with certain activities. The government alleges that GSK introduced Wellbutrin and Paxil into interstate commerce when the drugs were misbranded, meaning containing labels that were not in accordance with their FDA approvals, and that GSK failed to report certain clinical data regarding Avandia to the FDA.
The settlement is based on four qui tam actions brought by private individuals pursuant to state and federal false claims acts and filed in or transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, as well as investigations conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the Civil Frauds Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
A National Association Of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the investigation and analysis of the claims and conducted the settlement negotiations with GSK on behalf of the settling states. Team members included representatives from Massachusetts, California, Colorado, New York and Ohio.
02 Jul 2012
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 06:52
- Published Date
Facility is Key Part of Governor’s Strategic Plan to Strengthen Alabama’s Economy
MOBILE – Governor Robert Bentley on Monday joined with Airbus executives, economic development leaders, and other officials in formally announcing that Airbus has chosen Alabama as the site of its first U.S.-based production facility.
The facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile will be used to assemble the industry-leading family of A319, A320, and A321 aircraft. The entire project represents a $600 million total investment and is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs within the production facility when it reaches full capacity. In addition, the construction phase of the project is expected to create nearly 3,200 construction-related jobs over a three-year period.
“When Airbus aircraft take to the skies, Alabama’s pride and workmanship will soar along with them,” Governor Bentley said. “We have worked a long time and have put in many hours to make this announcement a reality. This project will create thousands of well-paying jobs that the people of this area need and deserve. Alabama has the best workforce you’ll find anywhere in the country. Airbus has recognized all that this state can offer expanding industries, and the company is making a significant new investment in Alabama.”
The Airbus project is a strong example of the economic development projects targeted by Accelerate Alabama – a long-term strategic plan for attracting a broad range of industries and new jobs. Accelerate Alabama was created by the Alabama Economic Development Alliance, which was established by Governor Bentley last year.
Aerospace is one of 11 specific business sectors that Alabama is pursuing for additional development as part of the Accelerate Alabama plan.
“Winning the Airbus project will, indeed, accelerate Alabama,” Governor Bentley said. “This type of project is exactly why I created the Alabama Economic Development Alliance. This is why we have the Accelerate Alabama strategic plan. With the Airbus project, we are seeing positive results that will lead to new jobs while strengthening the state’s economy and advancing our position in the global marketplace.”
The Alabama Department of Commerce is the lead agency administering the Accelerate Alabama plan. The agency is led by Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, who was appointed by Governor Bentley.
“The Airbus decision to create a final assembly line facility is a further sign that Alabama has developed a strong international reputation as a state that fosters success and profitability for companies that choose to invest here,” Secretary Canfield said.
“We are excited about this prominent addition to our growing reputation as a center for aerospace technology and manufacturing,” Canfield added. “This announcement is further evidence that our five-year strategic economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama, is the correct path for future capital investment and job growth in our state.”
Construction of the new Airbus facility is expected to generate $162 million of additional demand for goods and services in Alabama. As the facility comes online, its earnings will be a major benefit to the local and state economies.
“This decision to assemble our popular A320 Family aircraft in the U.S. is great news for our industry partnerships in the U.S. and supports Airbus’ strategy on several fronts,” Airbus President & CEO Fabrice Bregier said. “The U.S. is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world – with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years, and Airbus will be helping to meet that need with aircraft manufactured here. Furthermore, this facility creates new manufacturing jobs and further enhances the partnership between Airbus and its supplier-partners and their employees – a very large percentage of which are located here in the United States. Lastly, it facilitates long-term growth throughout the company in a manner consistent with our goal of expanding our global industrial base.”
“The time is right for Airbus to expand in America,” Bregier added. “Mobile is now becoming part of Airbus’ global production network, joining our successful and growing assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse and Tianjin.”
Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Aircraft assembly is projected to begin in 2015. By the year 2017, the facility is expected to produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year.
“I want to thank everyone involved – from Airbus to our Alabama Department of Commerce to leaders of the City of Mobile and Mobile County. They, along with local economic developers and federal partners, helped bring this project home,” Governor Bentley said. “We all worked together for a common goal, and success is the result. Airbus and its parent company, EADS, have been great citizens of Alabama for years, and we are excited to build on our wonderful relationship.”
Airbus currently operates an Engineering Center in Mobile, which is also located at Brookley Aeroplex and employs more than 200 engineers and support staff. The company also operates an Airbus Military Customer Services Operation, which supports U.S. Coast Guard aircraft.
Additional manufacturing sectors that are targeted for growth as part of Accelerate Alabama include the automotive, agricultural products, steel/metal, forestry products, and chemicals industries. Information technology, biosciences, enabling technologies (robotics, etc.), distribution/logistics, and corporate operations are also major components of the long-range industry diversification plan.