By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley’s Alabama Council for Excellent Government’s website seems to have fallen into neglect. However, cruising around the site brought up several questions.
A.k.a. “The Girlfriend Fund,” Ace.gov has come under much scrutiny in recent months. Sources say that while the Governor’s Campaign coffers started running low on cash, this 501(c)4 organization was founded to supplement the income of Former Consultant to the Governor, Rebekah Ann Caldwell Mason.
According to Secretary of State records, Ace.gov was formed in February 2015, by Cooper Shattuck, with Marquita Davis and R.B. Walker as additional directors.
Research turns up a few questions about the website for ace.gov. It cannot be found by typing “ace.gov” into an address bar. Instead, a search engine looking for “Alabama Council for Excellent Government” provides the path to get to the site link. The actual link for the site is “rebekah-mason-ed3r.squarespace.com” as it appears in the address bar.
A search of whois (search engine for .gov domains) shows that the domain name “ace.gov” has never been registered.
Interestingly, open.alabama.gov records show that Mason’s payments for consulting fees from Bentley’s campaign fund were reduced from $12,960 per month in 2014 to $5,000 per month in 2015, a decrease of $7,960 per month.
The page for “What We Do” has not been updated for his 2016 Agenda. The 2015 Agenda includes AlaVetNet Employer Tax Credits and “First Lady Dianne Bentley Domestic Violence Prevention.”
A look at Rebekah Ann Caldwell Mason’s husband’s SOIEs shows, that in 2013, Jon Mason revealed that he was a committee member of AlaVetNet, however, on his amended return filed last month, this membership was omitted.
Research revealed that most internal links, with the exception of the top navigation bar, are broken, and inform the viewer that the page cannot be found.
The last press release on the site is dated, July 29, 2015.
One could conclude that ace.gov was launched and maintained through July 2015, only to be used as a place holder.