By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporte
MONTGOMERY—In Alabama, school children don’t have textbooks, teachers don’t have classroom materials, even toilet paper is in short supply. But, the parent company of former Gov. Bob Riley’s SGO is sitting on piles of taxpayer dollars.
According to Federal Tax filings by Step Up For Students, Inc., (SUFS) the SGO has over $360 million in assets and cleared $146 million in net profit in the last two years alone.
Riley is the figurehead for Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, (AOSF) which is owned by SUFS. This was a well-guarded secret until the recent discovery of the SGO’s 990 filings on Guidestar.
A recently published internet memo indicates that AOSF is on the verge of collapse and could be the first SGO to fail under the Republican-created Alabama Accountability Act. However, on Tuesday night, the State Senate passed a bailout bill that should keep Riley from embarrassing himself and the Accountability Act.
The bill passed by the Senate should be more accurately named, “Billion Dollar Bob’s Obama-style Bailout.”
Five Republican Senators voted againstthe measure, but three of the five voted “yea” on the Budget Isolation Resolution, (BIR) and two choose to “pass.”
The fate of AOSF, at which Riley serves as the figure head, now goes to the House. No matter. The future of its parent company SUFS is in great shape.
According to the Forbes list of 50 largest U.S. charities, SUFS is number 30.
SUTS has come under fire for a YouTube video in which the group’s president Doug Tuthill states, “One of the primary reasons we’ve been so successful [is] we spend about $1 million every other cycle in local political races, which in Florida is a lot of money.” In the video, Tuthill suggest that SUFS is “probably the biggest spender in local races.”
In Alabama, Riley’s SGO is on its knees, but it appears that the Republican Supermajority is going to ease Riley’s pain.
In the meantime, school kids in Alabama are wondering if SUFS can spare a square or at least a ply of Charmin.