Alumnus Sumner ’74 Receives The Council On Governmental Ethics Laws Award

Posted: Mon, 01/06/2014 - 15:00

Quebec City, Canada -- At its 35th annual conference, the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) presented the 2013 COGEL Award to Jim Sumner, director of the Alabama Ethics Commission and 1974 graduate of Cumberland School of Law. The COGEL Award is the highest form of recognition COGEL confers. The award is presented each year to an individual who has made over a substantial period of time a significant, demonstrable and positive contribution to the field of campaign finance, elections, ethics, freedom of information or lobbying regulation.

The COGEL is comprised of federal, state, county and municipal agencies throughout the United States and Canada. It is a professional organization for government agencies, organizations and individuals with responsibilities or interests in governmental ethics, elections, campaign finance, lobby laws and freedom of information.

“This is an extraordinary honor for me and for the Alabama Ethics Commission,” said Sumner. “It recognizes all of the hard work that has been done over the last ten years to enact significant reforms into the Ethics Law. It could not have happened without the strong support of the 24 commissioners I have been privileged to work with and a truly dedicated staff of professionals."

Sumner has served as director of the Alabama Ethics Commission since 1997. His appointment came shortly after a major revision to the state’s ethics laws and Sumner is credited for his leadership in implementing those revisions. During his tenure, he has played a critical role in further overhauling Alabama’s ethics laws through the enactment of numerous pieces of legislation including the granting of subpoena power to the Ethics Commission, mandates for ethics training, prohibiting public officials from holding two or more taxpayer-funded jobs, tightening lobbyist expenditures, and expanding the availability of documents online. In his endorsement letter for Sumner, Bob Riley, Governor of Alabama from 2003-11, stated, “Reform would not have been possible without Jim Sumner!”

Previous recipients of the COGEL Award include Senator John McCain; former President Jimmy Carter; Fred Wertheimer, president of Common Cause-US; Kenneth Gross, one of the premiere government relations lawyers in the U.S.; and David Freel, former director of the Ohio Ethics Commission.