As the new legislative session begins, in the midst of creating the code that governs Alabama, a lot of government leaders have re-election on their minds.
You can see it from the very top.
Governor Robert Bentley has steadily amassed a significant war chest to fight this year’s battle.
The governor’s latest campaign finance report wrapped up 2013 and it shows $2.7 million at his disposal.
By contrast, Bentley’s only filed competitor, Stacy George, reported $9.59 cents in his coffers.
With that kind of disparity, you can see the governor letting up on his ruthless fundraising trail. Except, he doesn’t.
The governor raised $576,000 in December alone. George brought in $15.
As for campaign expenditures, George did dole out $63 and change. The governor spent just over $102,000.
If you’re curious, it means the governor spent about 1,600 times as much money, and his cash reserves are 233,802 times as large.
As for how Bentley built such a lead, the governor takes money from all kinds of sources – individuals, businesses, and political action committees.
But the money he takes doesn’t stand out on his forms as much as the money he returns.
He gave up $5,000 from the Alabamafirst PAC and another $10,000 from the First Decade PAC.
A spokesperson for the Bentley campaign tells us the money came in during a fundraiser for the governor, so it wasn’t vetted upon receipt.
However, when the governor’s team examined the donations before cashing them, they decided to reject the pair because of a conflict on interests.
These PACs deal in pharmaceuticals, which means there could be a conflict with decisions the governor will make over the next few months about Medicaid reforms.
Both PACs list the same address, same chairperson, and same treasurer.
It’s worth noting Bentley has accepted donations from PACs with ties to numerous industries that he could impact.
They include a donation in December from CAREPAC, a group tied to nursing home interests.