Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen recently hired a public relations contract employee who is also a registered lobbyist.

According to the Alabama Ethics Commission's registered lobbyist list for 2023, Angi Horn is a registered lobbyist with the Alabama Nursing Home Association and Virtus Solutions. Horn is also a member of True Targeted Digital Solutions, which recently received a $140,000 state contract over two years to do public relations work for the Alabama Secretary of State's Office.

Allen said in a statement to 1819 News on Thursday that his office on January 23 released a request for proposal for professional communications and media services. Forty-six registered vendors were solicited for a response to that request, and the Alabama Secretary of State's Office received one response.

"Horn disclosed in the RFP (request for proposal) that she is also a registered lobbyist, a fact that is unrelated to the scope of work that she will be contracted to perform for the Office of the Secretary of State," Allen said. "Horn will be handling the Professional Communications and Media Services for the Secretary of State's office. She is not involved in policy decisions or lobbying for this office." 

 Allen said, "I am confident in the ability of this vendor to be able to complete the work for which the contract was awarded." 

"Furthermore, this will save the taxpayers of Alabama funds due to the fact that hiring a full-time employee to complete the tasks of this contract would cost in excess of $100,000 per year once salary and benefits were calculated," Allen said. "This contract, however, ensures that Alabamians will be well-informed as to the happenings inside their office of the Secretary of State at a cost of only $70,000 per year, a savings to the taxpayers."

Brandon Farmer is listed as a member of True Targeted Digital Solutions and is also a registered lobbyist for the Alabama Nursing Home Association. The RFP between the Alabama Secretary of State's Office and True Targeted Digital Solutions states, "All work will be completed by one of the company's owners, Angella (Angi) Horn," Allen said.

"The RFP also lists similar work that Horn has done in order to exhibit experience and qualifications as is required by the original RFP which included a list of 40 clients for which she had completed similar work, exceeding the requirements for qualifications," Allen told 1819 News.

Horn also does communications work for STACKPAC, the political action committee of Alabama House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) and the campaigns of various state lawmakers, including Allen's successful 2022 bid for Alabama Secretary of State.

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