Riley registers as lobbyist

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

Former Gov. Bob Riley, whose last day in office was Jan. 17, has registered as a lobbyist with the state Ethics Commission and told state media that the focus of his lobbying efforts will be education reform and economic development.

Riley, 66, was a member of Congress for six years before serving eight years as governor.

He said he set up his lobbying effort, Bob Riley and Associates, “to be a partner with, or help when I can, this administration, the governor, and the Legislature” especially in economic development and education reform.

Riley said he supports charter schools and merit pay for teachers, and he plans to form an education foundation involving Democrats and Republicans alike to help Alabamians more fully debate those and other issues, such as consolidating public schools in rural areas.

Riley said his new company also would have “a political component,” and that he would be highly supportive of people who “share the philosophies that the Republican Party and I, in general, have espoused for 14 years.”

Riley said he has no plan to run for governor again.

State Ethics Commission Director Jim Sumner said state law bars Riley from lobbying the governor’s office until he’s been out of office at least two years, but the former governor is free to lobby other executive offices, the Legislature and regulatory boards.

Riley listed among his clients Austal USA, to whom his administration gave a $5 million economic development grant in 2005, a state finance department official said. He also represents EADS North America Gulf Coast Asphalt Co., based in Houston; Brett Real Estate, Robinson Development Co. in Saraland; and VT Systems Inc. in Alexandria, Va., parent of a company that operates an aircraft maintenance facility in Mobile.