Tuesday, Scott Dawson said that Kay Ivey gave a grant through ADECA to an LGBTQ-aligned group based in Huntsville. Dawson said that the group, Free2Be, does not share the values of most Alabamians.
Dawson made the remarks at a scheduled press conference in Mountain Brook.
“I am running because I am one of us the 98 percent of Alabamians who do not know what is going on in Montgomery,” Dawson said.
Dawson said that his investigation has discovered that the state has awarded $817,000 in grant money to a pro-LBGTQ activist group. Dawson said that the state has been funding the homosexual advocacy group, Free2Be.
“I am told how we are short of money,” Dawson said. “But we can still find $800,000 to fund an activist organization.
The money was ostensibly to fight bullying. “As a child due to a weight issue I suffered bullying,” Dawson said but added, “We have placed one worldview over another worldview.”
“As Governor, if I gave Focus on the Family $800,000 there would be an uproar,” Dawson said.
Dawson said that Ivey, “Travels around the state passing out checks more than the Publishers Clearinghouse people,” and then promotes those activities with speeches, press releases, and on Twitter but there was none of that for this award.
Dawson accused Free2Be of promoting deviant lifestyle and transgenderism to children. “Only one state has a majority that opposes same-sex marriage and that is Alabama,” but the state government has been issuing grants to this organization since 2015.
Dawson said that Ivey says that she is cleaning up after the Bentley Administration; but “On this, she has failed miserably.”
Dawson said that Ivey is running as a defender of conservative values for us, but then, “Betrays our values. What else is being hidden from us? Her audio is not matching her video.”
“What else is there?” Dawson added. “No wonder she refused to debate she is not answering the hard questions.”
“I am calling on the Attorney General to start a full-scale investigation into this,” Dawson said. “I am asking you (the assembled press corps) and our state legislators to investigate. I am calling for a reformation in how these funds are disbursed.”
The Alabama Political Reporter asked Dawson: You said that these are ADECA funds, are these state general fund dollars or federal dollars disbursed back to the state?
Dawson said that he did not know, but said, “Either way, it is federal or state these are still taxpayer dollars.”
Alabama Political Reporter asked if the LGBTQ activists were given access to the school children?
Dawson said that he did not know but that he hoped they were not given one on one access. When we minister to school children in our ministry there is never one on one access with the children, or there is not supposed to be.
Dawson said that the group was getting over $300,000 from the Bentley Administration, but then in 2017, under the Ivey Administration, that number increased substantially to almost a $million. “With the increase of funds there should have been accountability.”
Dawson said that the Free2Be group shut down Friday after becoming aware of the Dawson campaign’s investigation. “They won’t answer our calls. They have shut their doors. Some of them appear to have fled the country.
Dawson said that we have teachers going to Wal-Mart for school supplies and we still have money to waste on something like this.
APR asked: former Governor Robert Bentley had cabinet-level position heading the Office of Faith based Initiatives that funded various projects with ministries across the state. Do you also object to how that money was spent?
Dawson said, “That position has been dissolved but maybe we should go back and look at is also.”
Reporters asked Dawson if Gov. Ivey knew anything about the grant.
“I have no knowledge of what she did and didn’t know,” Dawson answered.
Reporters asked Dawson what do you think that the Governor is hiding?
“I don’t want to fuel speculation or cause rumor,” Dawson answered. It started under the Bentley Administration dramatically increased in 2017. I think what the big problem is that we are using taxpayer funds. “I want to stay away from any and all of these rumors.”
“We turned down $tens of millions of Medicaid money because we did not want to do that,” Dawson said. If we can refuse medical dollars we can refuse this. Alabama is the one state that the majority would have a biblical world view.”
Reporters asked Dawson what are Alabama values?
“We believe in marriage between a man and a woman,” Dawson said. “I understand that we live in a nation where the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. We still believe in faith and in family.”
Dawson said that there may be other troubling grants but “This one caught my attention because it was such an overwhelming amount of money. Hopefully you guys and gals will go and look at them.”
Dawson said that candidates should not run on one set of values and then g go into a backroom and have a different agenda.
Dawson said, “Look up James Robinson (the founder of Free2Be. Google his videos).”
Following the Dawson press conference, Governor Ivey’s office released a statement in response:
Since 2014, Free2Be (formally known as GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services) has received a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. As part of the grant process, the organization undergoes continual monitoring by ADECA in accordance with federal regulations. As a result of recent actions by the organization, Free2Be is currently being investigated and audited by ADECA. No grant dollars are currently being distributed to the organization and will not be, until the audit is completed.
The grant awarded to Free2Be is overseen by ADECA using funds given by and regulated by the federal government from criminal fines and forfeitures, not taxpayer dollars. In 2013, Alabama was notified that at least 10 percent of the grant dollars given to the state under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) must be given to agencies that provide services to underserved populations. Additionally, Alabama was notified that grants must be extended to organizations which seek to provide victim services to the LGBTQ population. Following federal direction, a grant was first awarded to Free2Be in 2014, which was the only organization seeking the grant.
All federal grant programs ADECA administers require ongoing monitoring for compliance. In March of this year, ADECA began planning an on-site compliance monitoring visit to the Huntsville office of Free2Be. During the desk review process that precedes routine monitoring, it was discovered that the organization has an outstanding federal debt with the IRS for payroll taxes. The agency was placed on high risk status on March 29, 2018, and the agency’s ability to draw grant funds was suspended. ADECA continues to monitor the agency and will be making a monitoring and financial audit visit on May 21, 2018.
The grant given to Free2Be was extended and monitored in compliance with federal law and in accordance with publicly available rules and regulations. The Free2Be grant, as required by the federal government, provides assistance for victims of domestic violence, bullying and other crimes of violence. Federal regulations require agencies receiving grant dollars to provide matching funds, a requirement which Free2Be has complied with.
Any suggestion that the Free2Be grant is an expense of state dollars which could have been used for any other purpose is simply wrong, and illustrates a lack of understanding of federal grant processes. Compliance with federal regulations is required to ensure that Alabama continues to receive federal grant dollars. In 2017, ADECA administered federal grants totaling approximately $168,665,540.
The views espoused by Free2Be, nor the extension of a grant to the program, do not represent Governor Ivey’s personal views and simply represent a requirement and demand from the federal government.