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Questionable money ties behind...

Questionable money ties behind JobKeeper Alliance (@JobkprAlliance) starting to unfurl #Kemper

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 28, 2014

New Development: Non-profit run by APCo consultant funded Dunn-bashers JobKeeper Alliance and PACE

2013 was a year of immense activity and large expenditures by PACE and JobKeeper on behalf of Alabama Power, its sister company Mississippi Power and against Dunn.

Mike Fields, the director of Peoples Alliance for Leadership (from here on out, PAL) declined to say if the non-profit gave again in 2013 to PACE and JobKeeper, and if so, how much.

Fields lives in Tuscaloosa. He wears quite a few hats. His full-time position is as director of workforce development at Shelton State Community College. He is also one of nine directors of the Alabama Port Authority, where he serves alongside the likes of Sonny Callahan and Angus Cooper.

Because of those positions, he must file an annual financial disclosure with the Alabama Ethics Commission. His reports show that for a number of years he has been on a retainer with Alabama Power. In each of those years, Fields marked the income category of greater than $10,000 and less than $50,000 in reporting his income from the power company.

Below, a portion of one of Fields’ ethics filings, and the portion from PAL’s 2012 tax return showing payments made that year to PACE and the JobKeeper Alliance.

PAL has an unusual history. It was incorporated in 2003 by Mac McArthur, the scandal-plagued, politically powerful head of the Alabama State Employees Association (for more on PAL’s early years, see below). The other board members at its inception were Fields and James Barnhart — then the state Labor Commissioner, now a city councilman in Florence, Al.

As far as I can tell, PAL has never been written about, such as in the state media. Its tax returns show that McCarthur’s final year was 2009. Fields and Barnhart are now the only directors. It’s address is a P.O. Box in Montgomery.

Non-profits of the type that are the focus of this project are not required to identify their donors, only the total annual amounts received. JobKeeper and PACE, though they criticize the funding of other groups, steadfastly refuse to identify their donors. While the funds from PAL do not account for the entire reported funding of PACE and JobKeeper, it’s a not insignificant portion.

For example, PAL’s largest amount to PACE was in 2011. That year it contributed $135,00 out of what PACE’s tax returns show were total contributions of $419,768 that year.

Eddie Curan

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.