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Pro-Jones PAC is not disclosing its donors, the FEC has been asked to investigate

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Baldwin County businessman Kevin Spriggs has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate a Super PAC that is spending large amounts against Republican senate candidate Roy Moore but is not showing any donations.

Spriggs made the request to FEC Chairman Mathew Peterson Monday.

“Mr. Commissioner – As a resident of Alabama, I have noticed a Super PAC titled ‘Highway 31’ running numerous campaign commercials in the Mobile Al television market, including an ad during the SEC Championship football game.  A search of the FEC website shows hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses without any donors. I also checked the irs.gov website for forms 8871 and 8872 required to be filed by 527 organizations. No filings are shown for donors and expenses. If donations and expenses exceed $50,000, the IRS requires an electronic filing of form 8872.

“I am asking you to please investigate this matter as it appears that this Highway 31 organization is evading campaign finance law by not disclosing their donors.”

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Spriggs owns a gas station, restaurant and other businesses in Baldwin County.  In 2015 he led a campaign against a massive tax increase for Baldwin County.  The Baldwin County school system retaliated by ordering their bus drivers to stop using Sprigg’s gas station. After Spriggs complained, the school system rescinded the order.  The tax increase was soundly defeated by voters.

Spriggs said that he has not received any reply from the FEC but says he hopes for action before the December 12 special election for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat.

Republican nominee Judge Roy Moore faces Democrat former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones for the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.

The financial irregularities were first reported on Friday by the ‘Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markey

Highway 31 has spent millions to defeat the Moore; but voters don’t know who is donating to the shadowy group because they have refused to reveal who the donors are behind its $multi-million ad buy.

Highway 31 has reported spending almost $2 million worth on ads in the race, making it the single largest independent spender in the special general election. The group filed its finance report on Thursday but said it had received and spent no money.

According to original reporting by Breitbart News’ Michael Patrick Leahy, the venders both have close ties to former President Barack Obama. Bully Pulpit Interactive is based in Washington and was founded by former Obama campaign official Andrew Bleeker, they have provided more than $800,000 in online advertising services to Highway 31 between November 6 and November 22.  Waterfront Strategies, also based Washington, is reportedly a wholly owned subsidiary of GMMB Consulting, which was founded by former Obama campaign official Jim Margolis. It has spent more than $309,000 in media buy services during that same period.

Neither report being paid for any of this, which could mean that donors will come forward to pay for all of their efforts after the people vote, too late for the voters to see who is the puppet masters behind the scenes before they cast a ballot or the two venders could just provide the expensive services themselves to Highway 31 out of their own civic interests.  That is probably unlikely.

The same Highway 31 PAC has been chastised as purposely misleading voters by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office. Secretary of State Spokesman John Bennett wrote, “Reports from several sources indicate a targeted effort to misinform and confuse voters regarding whether an individuals’ voting record would be available to the public. No individual voting record is made available to anyone at any time, including the voter who cast the ballot.”

“When voters cast a ballot the State of Alabama’s voter registration system is updated to document the election that a voter participated in but no record is ever made documenting the candidate for whom the ballot was cast,” Bennett said. “In the Alabama Primary and Primary Run-off Elections a record is made which would indicate whether a voter had voted in either the Democrat or Republican party race but the name of the candidate for whom the voter cast their ballot is never recorded.”

“In Alabama, voters do not provide political party affiliation when they register to vote because the state does not track that information,” wrote Bennett.  “We have communicated with the individual(s) that created the video and have expressed to them the misinterpretations presented in this political commercial. At the time of this release follow-up communication had not yet been received.”

The group has been, according to the Secretary of State’s office erroneously, telling voters, “If you don’t vote and Roy Moore—a child predator—wins, could you live with that? Your vote is public record and your community will know whether or not you helped stop Roy Moore.”

Moore has accused the Jones campaign of blatantly lying in ads about his time as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  On Friday, Moore said in a statement, “In all three Supreme Court cases mentioned in Doug Jones’s latest campaign ad, he blatantly misrepresents the facts and my judicial record. I did not disagree with the convictions of the defendants in those cases.”

“In the Tate and Pittman cases, two of the most conservative justices on the Court—Tom Parker and Glenn Murdoch—joined me in dissenting from the Court’s refusal to review the case, a procedure known as ‘certiorari,’” Moore wrote, “Justice Douglas Johnstone, who served on the Court during Judge Moore’s first term, has stated: ‘My impression was that he genuinely wanted to apply correct law to accurately distilled facts.’  We are demanding that Doug Jones immediately retract his blatant lies and apologize for misrepresenting Judge Moore’s judicial record. All stations should immediately remove this deceitful ad from their rotations.”

Moore is being outspent ten to one by Jones and his out of state allies.

The special election will be on Dec. 12 for the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.

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Secretary of State’s Office begins voter fraud investigation in Wilcox and Perry Counties

Brandon Moseley

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Turnout in Tuesday’s primary runoff was just 12.7 percent across the state. That percentage, however, varied wildly across the state.

Many Democrats did not vote as there were not any statewide Democratic runoffs. Understandably then, the counties with the worst voter participation rates were Democratic dominated Black Belt Counties. Choctaw County was the worst in the state with an incredibly low .59 percent. It was followed by Hale with 1.53 percent. Third worst was Sumter with 1.6 percent followed by Bullock with 2.8 percent.

The Blackbelt had the worst voter turnout; but it also recorded by far the highest turnouts in Tuesday’s runoff election.

The Wilcox County probate judge’s race was apparently so exciting that 44.1 percent of voters turned out despite the heat and no statewide Democratic races.

Wilcox County has 11,058 people. 1,631 of those are under 18. There are only 9,423 voting age persons in the county, but an impressive 9,383 of them are registered voters. That is almost an impossible 99.59 percent voter registration rate. An incredible 4,167 of those voters made time in their day to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s runoff. 4,061 of those voted in the Wilcox County probate judge race, between Democrats Chris Stone and Britney Jones-Alexander. Alexander won the contest. The 44.41 percent voter turnout for the poor Black Belt county was three and a half times the state average.

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Perry County had a 36.35 percent turnout and they were followed by Dallas at 35.43 percent and Greene at 34.08 percent.

The Secretary of State’s office has some suspicions about the success of some of these rural community organizers ability to turn out their votes. Secretary of State John Merrill has launched an investigation into Wilcox and Perry Counties because the number of absentee ballots appears to be unbelievably high.

Sec. Merrill told the Alabama Media Group’s John Sharp that his office is “looking into to prospects of absentee broker operations, in which campaign workers or people with an unknown organization, exchange gifts or cash for absentee ballots.”

Secretary Merrill has said that he wants to make it easy to vote; but hard to cheat.

Below are voter participation rates for all 67 counties:
Wilcox – 44.41%
Perry – 36.35%
Dallas – 35.43%
Greene – 34.08%
Covington – 31.32%
Marion – 27.85%
Fayette – 27.71%
Lamar – 26.19%
Lowndes – 25.47%
Walker – 25.01%
Clay – 24.12%
Coosa – 23.8%
Macon – 21.95%
Crenshaw – 21.09%
Blount – 20.77%
Elmore – 18.92%
Geneva – 18.73%
Marshall – 18.72%
Chilton – 18.08%
Coffee – 18.07%
Autauga – 17.39%
Montgomery – 17.34%
Bibb – 17.02%
Pike – 16.61%
Tallapoosa – 16.42%
Henry – 16.4%
Dale – 15.67%
Baldwin – 15.57%
Houston – 15.03%
Jackson – 14.33%
Limestone – 13.16%
Jefferson – 12.6%
Winston – 12.27%
De Kalb – 11.68%
Chambers – 11.23%
Pickens – 11.18%
Cullman – 11.03%
Shelby – 10.99%
Colbert – 10.79%
Etowah – 10.77%
Franklin – 10.73%
Talladega – 10.3%
Calhoun – 10.22%
St. Clair – 10.08%
Butler – 9.97%
Cleburne – 9.72%
Mobile – 9.49%
Randolph – 9.44%
Lee – 9.41%
Morgan – 9.07%
Barbour – 8.45%
Cherokee – 8.45%
Marengo – 8.01%
Clarke – 7.79%
Madison – 7.66%
Lawrence – 7.43%
Escambia – 7.24%
Lauderdale – 6.88%
Washington – 6.7%
Monroe – 6.46%
Tuscaloosa – 5.94%
Russell – 4.95%
Conecuh – 3.68%
Bullock – 2.8%
Sumter – 1.6%
Hale – 1.53%
Choctaw – 0.59%

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Walt Maddox, statewide candidates host forum in Gardendale

Brandon Moseley

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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will headline a forum for Democratic candidates at the Gardendale Civic Center on July 30 at 6 p.m. Maddox will be joined by a host of other statewide legislative and local candidates.

Maddox claims that he offers voters a path forward out of the state’s corruption and funding crisis.

“It’s the same crisis we’ve been facing for the last seven years,” says gubernatorial candidate Maddox. “If we don’t do something today, there will be no tomorrow; we need safe infrastructure, access to healthcare and good paying jobs.”

The organizers say they “put people before party” so they can bring about change in Alabama.

“As taxpayers, we have been shortchanged for too long,” says former Gardendale City Councilman Blake Guinn, who is working for the Maddox campaign and is one of the forum’s organizers. “I’m tired of being last in everything but football. I’m looking for candidates who have the energy, intelligence, and vision to move this state forward.”

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Most Alabama politicians are just “rubberstamp” what their national party says, says Jennifer L. Greer, a retired university assistant professor who lives in Gardendale and is also organizing the forum. “I don’t care about Washington. I care about Alabama and getting services for my tax dollars, like Alabama’s First-Class Pre-K in every community.”

Maddox will be joined at the Gardendale forum by:

  • Danner Kline, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District.
  • Judge Robert “Bob” Vance, Democratic candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
  • Dr. Will Boyd, Democratic candidate for Alabama Lieutenant Governor.
  • Joseph Siegelman, Democratic candidate for Alabama Attorney General.
  • Heather Milam, Democratic candidate for Alabama Secretary of State.
  • Donna Smalley, Democratic candidate for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 4.
  • Cara McClure, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission, Place 1.
  • Kari Powell, Democratic candidate for Public Service Commission, Place 2.
  • Veronica R. Johnson, Democratic candidate Alabama House District 51.
  • Danny Carr, Democratic candidate for Jefferson County District Attorney.

The event is free and open to the public.

Democrats have renewed enthusiasm after Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore for U.S. Senate. Prior to that win, the last Democrat to win a statewide office in Alabama was Lucy Baxley, who was elected to president of the Alabama Public Service Commission in 2008. The last time a Democrat won a gubernatorial election was 1998, when Don Siegelman defeated incumbent Republican Fob James.

The general election will be November 6.

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Shelby announces $25.5 million for statewide airport infrastructure

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., reported that 25 local airports throughout Alabama will benefit from more than $25.5 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation for various airport improvements to support infrastructure construction, safety advances and equipment acquisition.

“These FAA grants support critical projects that aim to improve safety, security, and efficiency of airports across the state,” said Sen. Shelby. “Airport infrastructure plays a vital role in economic growth and development in Alabama, and I look forward to the progress that will stem from these grants.”

Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Airports affect employment directly and indirectly and serve as a catalyst for economic growth due to their capacity to move people and cargo. The economic benefits can only be reaped, however, when airports are maintained (and funded) properly and utilized by consumers, which is why the FAA grants will be such a blessing for our state.”

“When operated efficiently, smaller, local airports (most of the recipients of the FAA grants), facilitate regional economic development,” said Nicole Jones. “The grants are aimed to do just that – provide maintenance funds so the airports can maximize efficiency and productivity. Thank you to Senator Shelby and to all of the policymakers who worked on behalf of Alabamians to improve aviation in both urban and rural areas.”

The grants range from $7.08 million for the Mobile Downtown Airport to $94,500 for the Thomas C. Russell Field Airport in Alexander City. They are funded through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and federal appropriations.

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The 25 FAA grants, totaling $25,517,940, will support the following airport projects in Alabama:

  • Mobile Downtown Airport, Mobile Airport Authority – $7,080,027 for taxiway reconstruction, runway rehabilitation and installation of a new taxiway lighting system.
  • MacCrenshaw Memorial Airport, City of Greenville – $3,114,820 for runway reconstruction.
  • H.L. Callahan Airport, City of Fairhope – $3,033,757 for construction of an additional taxiway and access taxiways.
  • Tuscaloosa Regional Airport, City of Tuscaloosa – $2,652,600 for apron rehabilitation and a master plan study.
  • Lanett Municipal Airport, City of Lanett – $1,717,830 for construction of a runway and installation of a new runway lighting system.
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Birmingham Airport Authority – $1,417,500 for erosion repair, safety equipment acquisition, sign installation and taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Headland Municipal Airport, City of Headland – $990,000 for construction of an additional taxiway.
  • Auburn University Regional Airport, Auburn University – $832,500 for taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Enterprise Municipal Airport, City of Enterprise – $653,140 for taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Pryor Field Regional Airport, Counties of Morgan and Limestone – $495,900 for taxiway lighting reconstruction.
  • Cullman Regional-Folsom Field Airport, City and County of Cullman – $450,000 for taxiway reconstruction.
  • Carl Folsom Airport, Elba Airport Authority – $446,998 for construction a 7,200-square-foot hangar building.
  • Anniston Regional Airport, City of Anniston – $446,400 for apron and taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport, County of Marion – $261,000 for construction of an additional taxiway to provide access to aircraft hangars.
  • Albertville Regional-Thomas J Brumlik Field Airport, City of Albertville – $253,168 for taxiway reconstruction.
  • Shelby County Airport, County of Shelby – $249,970 for construction of a 14,830-square-foot hangar building.
  • Bibb County Airport, County of Bibb – $242,640 for land acquisition to extend protection zone.
  • Moton Field Municipal Airport, City of Tuskegee – $195,480 for runway and taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Talladega Municipal Airport, City of Talladega – $190,410 for taxiway rehabilitation.
  • Bessemer Airport, City of Bessemer – $150,000 for runway rehabilitation.
  • Prattville-Grouby Field Airport, Prattville Airport Authority – $150,000 for installation of airport drainage improvements.
  • Wetumpka Municipal Airport, City of Wetumpka, – $150,000 for installation of a new navigational aid and a new runway vertical/visual guidance system.
  • Walker County-Bevill Field Airport, Walker County – $135,000 for updates to the airport master plan narrative report and airport layout plan.
  • Ozark-Blackwell Field Airport, City of Ozark – $114,300 for runway rehabilitation and installation of new navigational aids.
  • Thomas C. Russell Field Airport, City of Alexander City – $94,500 for installation of a new navigational aid and a new runway vertical/visual guidance system.

Senator Richard Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which unanimously approved the FY2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill last month.

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Pro-Jones PAC is not disclosing its donors, the FEC has been asked to investigate

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
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