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Congress

After military spouses blast Tuberville, the Farmers Federation honors him

Tuberville has come under fire for failing to honor a pledge to donate his senate salary to veterans organizations.

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On the same day a group of military spouses blasted U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville for being “inappropriate and unpatriotic,” the Alabama Farmers Federation honored the embattled senator’s maligned veterans foundation at a luncheon. 

According to a post on the Farmer’s Federation’s Facebook page, Tuberville was in attendance at the luncheon in Montgomery. It’s unclear if Alabama’s senior senator was soliciting donations to the foundation, which has apparently been shut down for the past two years, according to comments from Tuberville’s spokesperson to The Washington Post last week. 

The decision to honor Tuberville and his foundation will raise eyebrows after several scandals involving both over the past few weeks. 

The Alabama Farmers Federation issued the following statement concerning its support for Tuberville: “Sen. Tuberville is a friend of Alabama farmers. His foundation was seeking a location to hold a farm-to-table luncheon. We were happy to host Sen. Tuberville, veterans and Foundation supporters for meal featuring Alabama-grown foods from our members.”

Tuberville has drawn the ire of military personnel and top generals over the past few months as he continues to hold up military promotions over his apparent religious beliefs. Tuberville has claimed that he is blocking the promotions in protest of a policy that reimburses military personnel for travel only should they require health care services, including abortions, and are stationed in a state where those services are not provided or are illegal. 

On Monday, the Secure Families Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for military families, presented Tuberville’s office with a petition signed by more than 500 military spouses calling for an end to his blockade. The spouses called Tuberville’s actions “political showmanship” and asked him to stop using “military families as leverage” for his political beliefs.

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Tuberville has blocked about 300 promotions so far, and top generals have gone on record saying that the lack of promotions is hurting military preparation and readiness. 

Additionally, Tuberville and his foundation have come under fire recently for failing to honor his pledge during the 2020 campaign to donate his full senate salary to veterans organizations. 

The Washington Post reported last week that it was unable to verify that Tuberville has made a single donation to veterans charities over the past two-plus years, and a Tuberville spokesperson seemed to confirm that report. The spokesperson, Steven Stafford, acknowledged that Tuberville had not donated his salary, as he promised but blamed the lack of donations on an ongoing audit and review of the foundation. 

That review resulted from reporting during the 2020 campaign that showed the Tuberville Foundation has donated less than one-third of its contributions to veterans’ causes and had used the bulk of the money for salaries, expenses, and golf tournaments. 

According to Stafford, in the wake of those problems, the Foundation “paused” most activities. Stafford said the audit has only recently been completed and that Tuberville was “resuming his work” with the Foundation. At that point, seven days ago, Tuberville had still not donated any portion of his salary to veterans’ causes. 

This story was updated to add comments from The Alabama Farmers Federation.

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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