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Alabama Probate Judge In Charge Of Elections Above The Law

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Houston County Probate Judge Luke Cooley believes she is above the law.

For four years Cooley has failed to file financial disclosure statements with the Alabama Ethics Commission as required by Alabama law. Alabama's Ethics Commission whose office is in Montgomery, have no financial statements on file for Judge Cooley subsequent to the filing of her 2003 statement in April 2004.

Like the now deceased infamous Leona Helmsley who once stated “only the little people pay taxes”, Cooley appears to believe she like Helmsley is above the law. Apparently Cooley, a Republican, considers herself not required to follow Alabama’s laws regarding elected officials.

How can Houston County trust elected probate judge Luke Cooley to discharge the duties of her office truthfully especially with regard to elections when she has failed to file financial statements as demanded by Alabama Law with the Alabama Ethics Commission for the past four years?

Cooley is in charge of business licenses, automobile registration, elections and probate duties yet, she is unable to take care of her own personal business requirements as an elected official.

How many years prior to 2003 did Cooley fail to follow the law and file financial statements with the ethics commission?

The Alabama Code specifies the following with regard to filing with the ethics commission:
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Section 36-25-14 — Filing of statement of economic interests.

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(a) A statement of economic interests shall be completed and filed in accordance with this chapter with the commission no later than April 30 of each year covering the period of the preceding calendar year by each of the following:
(1) All elected public officials at the state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities.
(2) Any person appointed as a public official and any person employed as a public employee at the state, county, or municipal level of government or their instrumentalities who occupies a position whose base pay is fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more annually.
(3) All candidates, simultaneously with the date he or she becomes a candidate as defined in Section 17-22A-2, or the date the candidate files his or her qualifying papers, whichever comes first.
(4) Members of the Alabama Ethics Commission; appointed members of boards and commissions having statewide jurisdiction (but excluding members of solely advisory boards).
(5) All full-time nonmerit employees, other than those employed in maintenance, clerical, secretarial, or other similar positions.
(6) Chief clerks and chief managers.
(7) Chief county clerks and chief county managers.
(8) Chief administrators.
(9) Chief county administrators.
(10) Any public official or public employee whose primary duty is to invest public funds.
(11) Chief administrative officers of any political subdivision.
(12) Chief and assistant county building inspectors.
(13) Any county or municipal administrator with power to grant or deny land development permits.
(14) Chief municipal clerks.
(15) Chiefs of police.
(16) Fire chiefs.
(17) City and county school superintendents and school board members.
(18) City and county school principals or administrators.
(19) Purchasing or procurement agents having the authority to make any purchase.
(20) Directors and assistant directors of state agencies.
(21) Chief financial and accounting directors.
(22) Chief grant coordinators.
(23) Each employee of the Legislature or of agencies, including temporary committees and commissions established by the Legislature, other than those employed in maintenance, clerical, secretarial, or similar positions.
(24) Each employee of the Judicial Branch of government, including active supernumerary district attorneys and judges, other than those employed in maintenance, clerical, secretarial, or other similar positions.

(b) Unless otherwise required by law, no public employee occupying a position earning less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per year shall be required to file a statement of economic interests. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) or any other provision of this chapter, no coach of an athletic team of any four-year institution of higher education which receives state funds shall be required to include any income, donations, gifts, or benefits, other than salary, on the statement of economic interests, if the income, donations, gifts, or benefits are a condition of the employment contract. Such statement shall be made on a form made available by the commission. The duty to file the statement of economic interests shall rest with the person covered by this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to exclude any public employee or public official from this chapter regardless of whether they are required to file a statement of economic interests. The statement shall contain the following information on the person making the filing:

(1) Name, residential address, business; name, address, and business of living spouse and dependents; name of living adult children; name of parents and siblings; name of living parents of spouse. Undercover law enforcement officers may have their residential addresses and the names of family members removed from public scrutiny by filing an affidavit stating that publicizing this information would potentially endanger their families.

(2) A list of occupations to which one third or more of working time was given during previous reporting year by the public official, public employee, or his or her spouse.

(3) A listing of total combined household income of the public official or public employee during the most recent reporting year as to income from salaries, fees, dividends, profits, commissions, and other compensation and listing the names of each business and the income derived from such business in the following categorical amounts: less than one thousand dollars ($1,000); at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) and less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000); at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000); at least fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000); at least one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) and less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); or at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more. The person reporting shall also name any business or subsidiary thereof in which he or she or his or her spouse or dependents, jointly or severally, own five percent or more of the stock or in which he or she or his or her spouse or dependents serves as an officer, director, trustee, or consultant where the service provides income of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) and less than five thousand dollars ($5,000); or at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more for the reporting period.

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(4) If the filing public official or public employee, or his or her spouse, has engaged in a business during the last reporting year which provides legal, accounting, medical or health related, real estate, banking, insurance, educational, farming, engineering, architectural management, or other professional services or consultations, then the filing party shall report the number of clients of such business in each of the following categories and the income in categorical amounts received during the reporting period from the combined number of clients in each category: Electric utilities, gas utilities, telephone utilities, water utilities, cable television companies, intrastate transportation companies, pipeline companies, oil or gas exploration companies, or both, oil and gas retail companies, banks, savings and loan associations, loan or finance companies, or both, manufacturing firms, mining companies, life insurance companies, casualty insurance companies, other insurance companies, retail companies, beer, wine or liquor companies or distributors, or combination thereof, trade associations, professional associations, governmental associations, associations of public employees or public officials, counties, and any other businesses or associations that the commission may deem appropriate. Amounts received from combined clients in each category shall be reported in the following categorical amounts: Less than one thousand dollars ($1,000); more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000); at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000); at least twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) and less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000); at least fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000); at least one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) and less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); or at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more.

(5) If retainers are in existence or contracted for in any of the above categories of clients, a listing of the categories along with the anticipated income to be expected annually from each category of clients shall be shown in the following categorical amounts: less than one thousand dollars ($1,000); at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) and less than five thousand dollars ($5,000); or at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more.

(6) If real estate is held for investment or revenue production by a public official, his or her spouse or dependents, then a listing thereof in the following fair market value categorical amounts: Under fifty thousand dollars ($50,000); at least fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000); at least one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) and less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000); at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more. A listing of annual gross rent and lease income on real estate shall be made in the following categorical amounts: Less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000); at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000); fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more. If a public official or a business in which the person is associated received rent or lease income from any governmental agency in Alabama, specific details of the lease or rent agreement shall be filed with the commission.

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stopelderlyabuse.org
Director of StopElderlyAbuse.org Seeking to clean up the corruption in Alabama's "justice" system.

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