Just three weeks until the primary election for the Alabama Governor's race and one of incumbent Kay Ivey's Republican challengers says she's betrayed the state. Evangelist turned politician Scott Dawson is taking issue with nearly one million dollars in Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) grant money given to an organization with LGBTQ ties.
$800,000 in ADECA grant money was given to "Free2Be." The non-profit abruptly closed its doors on Friday. According to it's website the group had offices in Mobile, Athens, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, and Montgomery.
"It seems to me like her audio doesn't match her video... You can't claim to champion the conservative Alabama values on one hand and give taxpayer dollars to a fringe LGBT organization on the other," said Dawson. "On almost a weekly basis, the governor is giving out ADECA grants. You see them - they are in the news almost on a daily basis. Why -- because there is a press release, there's a twitter feed, and there's usually a photo opp. But whenever we studied this grant we couldn't find any of these. It seemed to be done under the table. And now this afternoon she says it's not a big deal."
Governor Ivey responding --"I think he's got his facts wrong. He needs to get the facts if he wants to talk about federal programs," said Ivey.
Firing back Ivey says it's a federal grant given to the group by federal mandate and does not involve any state tax dollars. According to Ivey, they were already looking into "Free2Be" several months ago after inconsistencies came up with the group.
"We routinely do desk audits of all ADECA grants and doing a desk audit there were some problems with this organization. So several months ago we started an internal audit well before Mr. Dawson's allegations," said Ivey. "Bottom line it's nonsense. I certainly don't agree with the agenda or values of that organization."
Ivey still has a comfortable lead. The latest poll by Leverage Public Strategies -- Alabama Daily News Survey shows among Republican voters has her way out in front with 47%, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle with 11%, Dawson with 9%, and Senator Bill Hightower with 4%. 30% were still undecided when the poll was conducted April 23 - 30.
After looking at the numbers, Ivey says Dawson is desperate.
"Do I look upset? Look at here... He's all over the board. He's not getting any traction. He's lowering in the polls. He's three weeks away from the election... He's getting desperate," said Ivey.
"Members of the press... How many more times are we going to hear that from our governor of yet another stunt. Before long, you have to realize these may not be stunts... But these are questions about serious issues about our current governor," said Dawson.
Dawson is asking the Attorney General to do a full investigation and for more vetting when it comes to ADECA grants.
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