It was reported by the Associated Press last month that Alabama candidates for Governor have lent their campaigns more than $5 million. This was an unprecedented amount and Republican Tim James, who has been very successful in business, leads the lenders with $2 million of his own money pumped into his campaign. Republican State Treasurer Kay Ivey is second at nearly $1.8 million, followed by Rep. Robert Bentley, a medical doctor, at $787,000. The real shock came when it was reported that Democratic candidate Ron Sparks was fourth in line with a $500,000 personal loan. Most folks who know Ron were rather surprised that he could make that large a loan without some major assistance. But I am sure Ron will be able to explain where the money came from. I have to believe it will all be legal and within the rules that apply to elections. That is my belief because Ron has some smart folks running his campaign and they would know better than to create an issue of this sort in a high profile political race. But if there is a problem, that’s another story for another day, and that’s enough said about that.
There were also small loans made by other candidates. Republican Bill Johnson, the former ADECA director, loaned $40,000 to his campaign. Republican Bradley Byrne loaned $24,000 to his campaign, and another Republican, Judge Roy Moore, lent his campaign $4,000. Artur Davis did not make a personal loan to his campaign and hopefully, based on early poll results, he won’t have to.
In addition to filing campaign finance reports, candidates for Governor had to file personal financial statements with the State Ethics Commission last year showing their income and assets in broad ranges. Tim James’ statement shows he is certainly able to loan his campaign large sums. He reported owning real estate worth more than $1.5 million and having an annual income exceeding $360,000. Kay Ivey reported that in addition to her $79,579 state salary, she received more than $100,000 from leases and investments and owns land valued at more than $250,000. Rep. Bentley reported he received between $50,000 and $150,000 in rental and farm income. The ethics law did not require him to report an amount from his medical practice, other than that it exceeded $10,000. Interestingly, Ron Sparks reported almost no income above his $79,026 state salary.
Source: Associated Press
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