We recently posted as to which political action committees seem most intent in trying to influence Alabama education policy through their contributions. For the 2014 legislative election cycle, they were the Business Council of Alabama, Bob Riley’s Alabama 2014 PAC, Mike Hubbard’s Storm PAC, StudentsFirst and the Alabama Federation for Children.
One of the most important committees impacting education is the House Education Policy Committee. Rep. Terri Collins chairs this, Rep. Kerry Rich is vice-chair. Other members are Rep. Mack Butler, Rep. Ed Henry, Rep. Bob Fincher, Rep. Phil Williams, Rep. Barry Moore, Rep. Jim Patterson, Rep. Chris Pringle, Rep. Rod Scott, Rep. Patricia Todd, Rep. Barbara Drummond and Rep. Oliver Robinson.
Scott, Todd, Drummond and Robinson are Democrats. Robinson is ranking minority member. All others are Republicans.
Here is what you learn after combing through more than 300 pages of financial disclosure forms that begin with the first filing a candidate made in preparation for running in 2014 and end with their 2015 annual report.
The five PACs listed above gave a total of $603,394 in both contributions and in-kind contributions to these 13. Of this, $595,394 went to Republicans, only $8,000 to Democrats. BCA gave to 11 candidates, three of them Democrat. StudentsFirst gave $2,000 to Robinson. Neither Riley, Hubbard or American Federation for Children supported any Democrat.
The largest spender was Riley. His PAC gave $289,903 to six candidates. This included $113,768 to Mack Butler and $93,556 to Barry Moore. Number two was BCA with a total of $175,500. They gave $54,500 to Moore and $27,000 to Butler. Storm PAC gave $70,000, including $40,000 to Moore and $10,000 to Fincher. StudentsFirst gave $28,253, with Henry getting $15,000. AFC contributed $39,738. They gave $15,929 to Patterson.
Here are the totals for each candidate:
- Barry Moore–$188,056
- Mack Butler–$145,768
- Jim Patterson–$74,052
- Terri Collins–$57,395
- Ed Henry–$52,627
- Kerry Rich–$33,434
- Chris Pringle–$22,000
- Bob Fincher–$19,062
- Rod Scott–$6,000
- Oliver Robinson–$3,000
- Patricia Todd–$1,000
- Phil Williams–$1,000
- Barbara Drummond–NA
Having raised money for more campaigns than I care to remember, I learned something long ago. Small money gives, large money invests.
You may write a check for $100 to your brother-in-law when he runs for the county school board and never look back. However, political action committees are always looking for return on investment. This is just the way the world works.
Still, we are left to wonder what these five political action committees hope to get for their investment.