By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—If having a tasty lunch with 26 Republican State Senators next week tickles your fancy, you might consider writing a big check for the privilege.
Just days before the beginning of the 2015 Legislative session, the Alabama Senate Republican Conference, Inc., is hosting a fundraising luncheon.
The Conference is organized as a 527, non-profit by Senators Del Marsh, Greg Reed and Jabo Waggoner. The stated purpose is, “facilitating the involvement of Republican members of the Alabama Senate in and with respect to debating, discussing, developing and becoming educated on public policy matters important to the legislative process, including matters involving proposed and pending legislation.”
A 527 is a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status operating under section 527 of the IRS code.
According to The Center for Public Integrity,“Over the past several years, the term has come to refer to a new form of political organization operating in a gray area of the law. These groups actively influence elections and policy debates at all levels of government, but do not advocate explicitly for election or defeat of candidates.”
This group’s funding is often referred to as “Dark Money,” due to the lack of transparency of its donors.
The lunch is advertised in the group’s email as an, “opportunity to interact with all 26 GOP Senators (expected attendance).”
What will it cost to rub elbows with these public servants? That depends.
If you are a lobbying firm, association, or corporation, who wants to make a big splash, that will cost $10,000 for a Platinum sponsorship.
A Gold sponsorship (make less of a splash) is available for $5,000.
And if you are on a tight budget, you can buy a Silver sponsorship for only $2500 (make a small splash) for some private time with members of the Senate super majority.
The Conference’s email says that the group needs the money to,“ provide the necessary resources for the conference to operate during the 2015 legislative session.”
And if you are a lobbying firm, an association, or corporation, you may already know what this means.