Some political observers in the state are criticizing a Montgomery lawmaker who oversees the education budget in the Alabama House of Representatives for having a fundraiser to pay off campaign debts the evening before the last day of the legislative session, when lawmakers approved state budgets.
Some also expressed concern that one of the men involved with the event for Republican Rep. Jay Love is the chairman of the board for the National Center for Sports Safety in Birmingham. The center is to receive $588,000 through the education budget in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The top Democrat in the Senate said he made a $600,000 request for the program, which he said “is a very good one,” but said it looked inappropriate for the budget chairman to hold the fundraiser at that time while he was working on the budget. But, Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford said, “it had nothing to do with the appropriation.”
“It was inappropriate timing,” said Bedford, D-Russellville.
Love: ‘Nothing wrong with it’
Love and Matthew Lemak, chairman of the board for the center and the former volunteer executive director, said there is absolutely no connection between the $588,000 line item and the fundraiser, which was to raise money to retire the debt for Love’s unsuccessful run for the 2nd Congressional District in 2008. Lemak’s executive assistant was the contact for the May 15 fundraiser.
Love was the Republican nominee for Congress in the 2nd District in 2008, but lost a close race to then-Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright in the general election.
Love said anyone who has ever worked with him will say he is honest.
“I personally see nothing wrong with it because there is no violation of law,” Love said.