Companies including Alabama Power, drugmaker Pfizer and insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama helped fund the secretive “social welfare” nonprofit arm of the Alabama House Republican Caucus during 2012, the Center for Public Integrity has learned.
The Alabama House Republican Conference, organized under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code, focuses on “research, education and policy development,” according to tax records.
Media reports from Alabama also indicate Republican lawmakers in part use the nonprofit, which is not required by law to publicly reveal its donors or the amounts donated, as a vehicle for allowing lobbyists and special interests to hobnob with them — for a price.
But when the Center for Public Integrity asked Rachel Adams, the communications director for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, for a copy of the group’s most recent tax form, she provided a version that is typically only delivered to the Internal Revenue Service and includes contributor names and contribution amounts.
This document named 16 contributors — including several corporations, trade associations, political action committees and one labor union, the Alabama Education Association. Each entity donated between $5,000 and $15,000.
The Center for Public Integrity also discovered that Pfizer, which produces such popular brands as Advil, Lipitor and Viagra, voluntarily self-reported a $2,500 contribution to the group. The pharmaceutical giant is among a growing number of companies that are voluntarily disclosing information about their giving to politically active nonprofits.
Collectively, these 17 organizations gave $100,000 — or about 49 percent of the $204,000 the Alabama House Republican Conference raised in 2012. The remainders came from donors who each gave less than $5,000.
Adams declined to answer specific questions about how the Alabama House Republican Conference raises money, saying only that the group “is funded via private fundraising.”