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Marsh Dark Money Group Behind Teacher Attack Ads

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Last week, a hit piece on teachers and education support personnel was released by the Foundation for Accountability in Education, Inc.

The television commercial, said to be playing Statewide, seeks to vilify educators or anyone who is a member of the Alabama Education Association.

Who is behind this non-profit, that is, according to its Secretary of State filings, designed to promote “social welfare?”

The two directors are listed as Del Marsh and Kate Anderson.

Del Marsh is President Pro Tem of the State Senate and Kate Anderson is the head of Kate M. Anderson LLC, a political non-profit fundraising firm based in Birmingham, AL.

Other than their close political and money ties, Marsh and Anderson have shared time testifying before the State’s Attorney General’s Special Grand Jury in Lee County.

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Marsh, appeared before the Grand Jury for over six hours, while Anderson, who appeared sometime after Marsh, had to interrupt her testimony time and again had to consult with her attorney.

What do Marsh and Anderson know that would cause them to spend so much time in front of a State prosecutor?

The Grand Jury is believed to be looking into possible criminal activities of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). This is a person both Marsh and Anderson have worked with intimately for years.

Anderson was a vital member of Hubbard’s team of young politicos, who were instrumental in the 2010 takeover of the Alabama House. Anderson has also been the go-to-person for the entire Hubbard fundraising machine since 2010. Having learned the trade as Co-Director of Fundraising for the Alabama Republican Party under Hubbard and Fundraising Manager at Bob Riley For Governor, Anderson has proven her ability to raise millions for her paymasters.

Anderson was also one of Hubbard’s team who received big bonuses after the 2010 elections.

The same type of win bonus that garnered a felony grand jury indictment for Jill Johnson, an aid to former Sen. Lowell Barron who is also under State indictment.

Anderson received a $38,000 from the 136-Year Political Action Committee as a reward for taking over the legislature.

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Speculation has been that these bonuses received by Anderson and her fellow young Republicans John Ross and Phillip Bryan were illegal under Section 17-5-7 of the State’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA).

The other director, Del Marsh, the Senate’s highest ranking member and perhaps the State wealthiest legislator, is Hubbard’s most faithful ally, having been ALGOP State Finance Chair under the Hubbard regime.

He is also responsible for the controversial Alabama Accountability Act, (AAA).

In fact, Marsh and Anderson created the Foundation for Accountability in Education, Inc., shortly after the passage of the AAA.

According to an April 2013 article by Tim Lockette:

Marsh formed a group to run advertising to “clear up misconceptions,” about the measure.

Marsh told the Anniston Star that the group had around $100,000 in donations, but refused to identify any of the businesses or individuals who were behind the organization.

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The Foundation for Accountability in Education, Inc, is a part of a growing trend of dark money foundation who hide donors behind the veil of an IRS loophole.

The latest foray into attacking teachers, school workers and public education is just one of the ventures undertaken by these so-called non-profits.

Propaganda websites, mailers and fake news coverage are just a sampling of how these group work in the shadows of the law.

Marsh and Anderson do not provide real addresses for their foundation, only PO boxes.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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