A mysterious entity has given $1.7 million to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's re-election campaign, but she won't say who's behind the record-breaking contributions.
The dark-money group Get Families Back to Work Inc. gave $750,000 to Ivey's campaign on March 31, and it was the single-largest political contribution made to a candidate for state office.
What's more, that record was matched when the same entity gave another $750,000 to the governor eight days later, before giving another $250,000 on April 28, reported AL.com.
"Someone is trying to buy Kay Ivey," wrote Kyle Whitmire, state political columnist for the Alabama Media Group. "Who finances a candidate’s campaign can tell you more about what that candidate stands for and what they will do once in office than anything pandering commercial on TV. You deserve to know who’s holding the governor’s purse strings."
Get Families Back to Work is a Virginia-based 501(c)(4) that shares a Washington, D.C., address with Republican Governors Association, some of whose employees are listed as incorporators, but that group won't explain the connection -- and state law may prohibit the donations.
"Alabama law prohibits anyone, including PACs, from making or accepting contributions in the name of another," Whitmire wrote. "If Get Families Back to Work is simply acting as a pass-through for someone else, there could be trouble."
"Further, federal tax law says that 501(c)(4)s must have a primary purpose of social welfare," he added. "That has been interpreted to mean that they must spend the majority of their money on things that benefit the public — and not on direct political action such as campaign contributions. It’s difficult to tell whether Get Families Back to Work does anything but direct political action."
The group sponsored attacks ads against Gov. Laura Kelly in Kansas and donated to a school privatization campaign in Michigan, but it's not clear where Get Families Back to Work got their money -- or why they're spending it.
"Nobody gives that kind of political money — not in Alabama, nor anywhere else — without expecting something in return," Whitmire wrote.