Republicans demand investigation into "slush funds"
Senate Minority Leader Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, and House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said they were concerned about funds identified in a recent report by the Birmingham News that were directed to two non-profits following enabling legislation in 2006. The entities have received about $800,000 in state coal severance tax funds and the Democratic lawmakers have not produced any accounting for the spending of the funds.
"No one seems to know how the money was used, who received it or even who really controls its use," Waggoner said.
The legislation directed funds to the entities, which did not exist and were created five months later, from the coal severance tax. The legislation also required the audit of the Marion County Community Development Association, Inc., and the West Alabama Development Association of Fayette County, Inc.
Chief Examiner Ron Jones told the News in a follow-up article that the entities would be audited. He said the audits would begin between now and the end of the year.
Powerful state Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and state Rep. Mike Millican, D-Hamilton, incorporated the Marion County Community Development Association Inc., according to state records.
Bedford, state Rep. William Thigpen, D-Fayette, and Fayette County Probate Judge William Oswalt incorporated the West Alabama Development Association of Fayette County, Inc.
Bedford and Millican did not return calls from the News. The address on record for the Marion County Community Development Association is Millican's personal residence in Hamilton.
Thigpen told the newspaper that the Fayette County group had given money to schools, volunteer fire departments and other projects.
There is also no evidence that the non-profits filed for tax exempt status from the IRS.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen