Here are some facts. You draw your own conclusions.
Most of this information comes from the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Reporting system as of April 30, 2014.
On March 3, 2014, the Alabama Education Association’s political action committee, AVOTE, loaned the AEA’s general operating budget $1 million.
In March and April, 2014, AVOTE made payments totaling $810,000 to National Research Services, LLC, a Delaware company with a Brentwood, Tennessee post office box as an address. These payments were $350,000 on 3/3/14, $175,000 on 3/10/14, $150,000 on 3/12/14, $35,000 on 3/13/14 and $100,000 on 4/10/14.
In March and April, 2014, the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government made contributions totaling $700,000 to a newly formed political action committee called Stop Common Core PAC. These contributions were $200,000 on 3/25/14, $100,000 on 4/18/14, $100,000 on 4/22/14 and $300,000 on 4/24/14. Both the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government and Stop Common Core PAC are run by former State Senator John Rice.
Stop Common Core PAC has made contributions totaling $635,000 to candidates running for Lt. Governor, the State Board of Education, four State Senate campaigns, and seven State House of Representatives campaigns.
In the Lt. Governor’s race, $65,000 was contributed to Stan Cooke who is running against Kay Ivey.
In the State Board of Education races, $20,000 was given to Patricia McGriff who is running for the open District 6 seat and $10,000 was given to Mike Parsons who is running against the incumbent Mary Scott Hunter
In the State Senate races, $33,500 was given to Jonathan Berryhill who is running for the open SD1 seat, $100,000 went to George Barry who is running against incumbent Bill Holtzclaw in SD2, $53,500 went to Steven Guede taking on incumbent Del Marsh in SD12 and $5,000 went to Tim Sprayberry who is running against incumbent Gerald Dial in SD13.
In the State House of Representatives races, $25,000 went to Corey Harbison running against incumbent Mac Buttram in HD12, $10,000 to Ritchie Whorton running against incumbent Wayne Johnson in HD22, $25,000 to incumbent Steve Hurst running against Steve Dean in HD35, $20,000 to Isaac Whorton running against Randy Price in the open HD38 seat, $228,000 to Sandy Toomer running against incumbent Mike Hubbard in HD79, $15,000 to Alex Balcum running against incumbent Lesley Vance in HD80, and $25,000 to Josh Pipkin running against incumbent Barry Moore in HD91.
Stop Common Core PAC also reported an expenditure of $15,000 to Spot On Strategies, LLC. Spot On Strategies also received payments from candidates Sandy Toomer (Mike Hubbard), Stan Cooke (Kay Ivey), and Josh Pipkin (Barry Moore). Candidates supported by Stop Common Core PAC also made payments to Red Clay Communications in Atlanta, Georgia including Sandy Toomer (Mike Hubbard), Steven Guede (Del Marsh), Alex Balkcum (Lesley Vance), Corey Harbison (Mac Buttram) and Josh Pipkin (Barry Moore). So there appears to be some consistency in the use of this money.
Spot On Strategies is a political consulting firm formed in 2013 by Baron Coleman and Jack Campbell. Spot On Strategies prominently advertises (as well as the Alabama Education Association, the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government and the Wind Creek Casino) on the web based political blog, Alabama Political Reporter (see: www.alreporter.com).
Baron Coleman and Jack Campbell also appear on a weekly webcast associated with the Alabama Political Reporter called “The Voice of Alabama Politics” (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQv0GkBl_ww&feature=youtu.be for a flavor of their style of “reporting”…this particular segment includes a personal attack on Kay Ivey). Also note that Claire Austin appears on the webcast, she is a paid consultant for Stan Cooke (opposing Kay Ivey). So much for unbiased “journalism.”
The Alabama Foundation for Limited Government (see: www.alabamalimitedgovernment.com) was formed on September 12, 2013. There is no public information available to determine its source of funding.
Those are the facts. Now for a bit of speculation. Over $1.8 million of AEA’s AVOTE political dollars have “disappeared” from public finance records. A new foundation and political action committee suddenly “appear” out of nowhere to finance attacks on folks that supported education reforms (opposed by the AEA). This is really not too difficult a stretch to connect the dots.
For further speculation, you might want to visit this article that spells it out fairly well (www.yellowhammernews.com/statepolitics/exposed-deceptively-named-alabama-foundation-limited-govt-working-obama-allies).
Private foundations can protect the identity of their donors to some extent, so we may never know the full truth. One thing is for sure…we will not know the answers until after the election on June 3rd and by then it will be too late.