Ledbetter violates ALGOP rules
July 2, 2018
Southern Torch (3351 articles)
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Ledbetter violates ALGOP rules

PHOTO: (Nathaniel Ledbetter for Alabama House of Representatives)

By Staff Reports

In a campaign finance report filed today with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office, Alabama State Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter (R – Rainsville) verified that his reelection campaign received a campaign contribution from the Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education political action committee (PAC). This PAC is the campaign arm of the Alabama Education Association (AEA). Ledbetter, the state house majority leader, received $5,000.00 on June 1st, 2018 from the AEA’s PAC. Previously, the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) approved an amendment to its bylaws that forbid the party and party affiliated office holders and candidates from accepting campaign contributions from the AEA and its affiliates.

Southern Torch reached out to Representative Ledbetter for comment. He dismissed the campaign contribution and responded, “I’m not going to talk about that with you.”

In a letter to ALGOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan, Madison, AL Republican Thomas J. Scovill pleaded with the party leadership to discipline the candidates around the state who accepted AEA contributions. Scovill suggested the candidates return the contributions to the AEA before the party certified the primary elections results.

The following is the text of the letter than Scovill sent to Chairwoman Lathan on June 21, 2018:

To Chairman Terry Lathan of the Alabama Republican Party:

In the interest of fair play, please consider this petition to deny ballot access and certification of nomination to the Alabama Republican candidates who accepted campaign contributions from the Alabama Education Association (AEA) or its political action committee, Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education (AVOTE), in defiance of the standing rule adopted by The Alabama Republican Party on February 2, 2013 regarding NEA Contributions which states:

The Alabama Republican Party shall not accept money, in-kind contributions, or anything of value, directly or indirectly, from (i) the National Education Association (NEA), (ii) the NEA’s affiliates or entity controlled by the NEA or (iii) any of the 16 NEA’s state affiliates or their related organizations.

Officeholders and candidates are strongly admonished to follow the same rule and, because the NEA is a veritable adjunct of the Democratic Party, failure to heed this admonition shall be regarded negatively by the Committee.

Sixty Republican candidates who received AEA money in the current election cycle are listed in the table at Reference 1. As shown nearby at Table 1, 55 of them either won the election or won a spot in the primary runoff election. Only five of them lost.

Only one of the 43 candidates, who are currently in some elected office and who also took AEA money, lost.

Obviously, taking AEA money and defying Party rules correlates with good election outcomes while respecting the Party and following the rules does not.

I am concerned about the lack of fairness to the candidates who refused AEA contributions and had to compete at a disadvantage against those who did not comply with Party rule, most of whom are incumbents. Fair play demands that the Party not take sides in primary elections.

The Alabama Republican Party should not put itself in a position where it can be viewed as ignoring its rules.

Accordingly, because the rule states that “failure to heed this admonition shall be regarded negatively by the Committee,” I ask that the rule be enforced in a meaningful way. And at this point in the election cycle the only meaningful way to express negativity is for the Party to not certify the primary winners who took AEA money.

Therefore, I request that you instruct candidates who won a primary or who are in a primary runoff to return the AEA contributions before they are certified for the runoff and general election ballots respectively, i.e., no candidate who has taken AEA money should be on the ballot as a Republican candidate unless and until the money is returned.

While the AEA is on the side of lawmakers who pass pay raises and unearned retirement bonuses, I expect my party to be on the side of fair play.

Warm regards,

Thomas Scovill

Follow Southern Torch for updates as this story develops and as other candidates file their campaign contribution reports with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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