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Another Alabama Education Association shadow ad buy?

Shadow organizations are nothing new in Alabama politics
Shadow organizations are nothing new in Alabama politics

Let’s all be shocked!

Another new “shadow group” is forming in Alabama. We have already seen a few of these fake organizations lately….

• The Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, Judge Mark Kennedy, quits and starts some splinter group called The Alabama Democratic Majority.

• Bradley Byrne formed Reform Alabama, to much fanfare. He is now in Congress, and now I have no idea if it even exists.

• Parker Griffith formed Alabama Strong, also to much fanfare. He is now running for Governor.

The latest is the “Alabama Foundation for Limited Government,” founded by former State Senator John Rice and it just made a $350k ad buy. We will get to that soon enough.

The goals of the new group, as usual, seem OK.

But most are unneeded:

• Term Limits for Politicians: Set term limits on state legislators to no more than two consecutive terms, or eight years in either chamber, and no more than a cumulative lifetime total of 12 years in either the state house or the state senate, or limited to four more years for legislators that have already served 12 years.

Some are probably unenforceable:

• End Campaign Donation Pay-to-Play: Ban individuals and corporations who have contracts with the state from making political contributions to state elected officials. (No one who donates money can get state contracts? Sounds great, never happening.)

Stop Politicians from Double Dipping on Taxpayer-Funded Salaries: Ban state elected officials and their immediate family members from double dipping by earning additional income or payments from state agencies that they have budget authority over. (Officials yes, which oddly enough the AEA fought, but good luck on the families.)

Some have already been addressed:

• Close the Politician/Lobbyist Revolving Door: Require former legislators to wait at least two years after their term before being able to lobby members of the legislature. (Will pass this year)

• Outlaw Fundraising During Session: Prohibit state elected officials from raising any political campaign contributions while the legislature is in session (Done, except for 120 days before an election)

Which leaves us with:

• Ban Gifts from Lobbyists to Politicians: Ban state elected officials, their staff, and their family members from accepting any gifts such as travel, meals, and football tickets from individuals and special interests, as well as banning purchasing football tickets from special interests.

• Require a Public Notice for all State Contract Lobbying: Require anyone who meets to influence the Governor’s office, the legislature, or any state department or agency regarding contracts to register as a lobbyist and publicly report their clients.

I am game on 2 of those, neither of which the AEA wants.

Now we come to the funding…


Ad Buys

Why the AEA?

Let’s look at the current politicians that have signed on to this new groups’ pledge and how much each has taken from the AEA…

• Stan Cooke, Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor
• Sen. Harri Anne Smith, (I-29) ($150,000)
• Sen. Marc Keahey (D-22) (no filings but he has received at least $25,000)
• Rep. Todd Greeson, (R-24), candidate for Senate District 8 ($50,000)
• Rep. John Robinson (D-23) ($25,000)
• Josh Pipkin, Republican candidate for State Representative, District 91

As with most of these groups, we will find out who is behind this later but we already know it’s the AEA.

Now, the bigger question is, “Why?” The goals don’t seem to be traditional AEA goals of accountability and good government.

And it’s odd for a new group to have all that money. Let’s go back to 2010 and the AEA front group True Republican PAC…

A teachers’ union headed by Democrats bankrolling the True Republican PAC? And that PAC blanketing the airwaves with ads attacking Republican gubernatorial front-runner Bradley Byrne for associating with – Democrats?


As for the ads bashing Byrne, the True Republican PAC by late April had paid out about $570,000 for the “Peas in a Pod” ad, which attempts to link Byrne to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. And that was before a new commercial featuring a quacking duck began running.

The AEA is an unprincipled group and they have 1 goal: eliminate the Republicans’ super-majority.

They don’t care about anything except beating Republicans, who have been killing them for 3 years.

Look forward to more of the same from the AEA this year.

Dale Jackson is a Huntsville, Ala.-based radio talk show host on WVNN. Follow him on Twitter @TheDaleJackson and read more of his article at TheAttackMachine.com.

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