Consultant Under Fire for Contract with Republican Caucus

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By Brittany Bivins

A consultant to the State House of Representatives Republican caucus is under fire for the cost of his large contract with the state.The committee in charge of approving those contracts met Thursday, and some people were hoping the renewal would be denied.

David Azbell and his company make $96,000 a year as consultants for the Alabama House of Representative's Republican caucus. So what does that money pay for?

"Services to the caucus to help representatives communicate effectively with constituents. Constituent responses, media issues, dealing with legislative issues," said Republican Representative Steve Clouse of Ozark.

But Nancy Worley, Interim Head of the Democratic Party of Alabama, says she doesn't think the money well spent.

"Ninety-six thousand dollars sounds like a lot of money for a PR, consulting person to me. As far as I know, Democrats do not have highly paid consultants," said Worley.

The committee, made of Republicans and Democrats, approved the contract for another year without objection.

"That's the same as it was the last two years, and he has also with his company, has been on contract with the Republican Caucus since 2005, so there's really no change," said Clouse.

Paul Sanford, Republican Senator from Huntsville, says contracts like these are not unusual.

"Is it a warranted contract and does it fall within the regular confines of what we do here in Montgomery and it is, by all those measures, it's fine," he said.

David Azbell has worked in public relations for high-profile Republicans in the past. He also served two years as administrative spokesman for former Alabama Governor Bob Riley.

This contract was one of six dealing with services to the House of Representatives. All of those were approved without objection.

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