A little-known Montgomery nonprofit funded by state legislators, political action committees (PACs) and at least one congressman is paying for redistricting in Alabama. 

Citizens for Fair Representation, founded in November 2020 by three political consultants, raised approximately $109,000 from state legislators and PACS from Dec. 2020 to Jan. 2022. 

"It was a 501(c)4 used to pay redistricting expenses is the best I can figure," former Joint Reapportionment Committee co-chair State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) told 1819 News on Friday.

Joint Reapportionment Committee co-chair Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) said "no clue" when asked about the non-profit and what redistricting expenses it funds.

The legislature met in 2021 to redraw its congressional and state legislative district lines in a process known as redistricting. The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected the congressional map in its 5-4 Allen v. Milligan decision, and the legislature is about to begin a special session on July 17 to consider new congressional maps.

District lines are redrawn by the legislature every ten years after the latest to adjust with population changes in the latest census numbers. How state legislative or congressional districts are drawn can affect whether a candidate or elected official is electable in a district. 

According to a document obtained by 1819 News, a consultant assisting Republican leaders in 2021 contracted with Citizens for Fair Representation to analyze the U.S. Census and other data pertinent to redistricting.

"(The consultant) will meet with office holders to discuss population shifts or changes in their districts. Each district will be analyzed as to whether it has gained or lost population to determine how the district lines need to be adjusted to restore the district to the required population size. The consultant will work with the Reapportionment Committee, House and Senate Chairs, the Legislative Leadership, and the Committee's Legal Counsel to draw districts that meet constitutional and statutory requirements and meet the state's goals of enhancing the representation of all Alabama citizens," the document states. "Citizens for Fair Representation, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. It will contract with the consultant assisting Republican Leaders in redrawing the designated number of Congressional Districts, Eight School Board Districts, 35 Senate and 105 House Districts for the State of Alabama based on the 2020 census. It will remove the burden of taxpayers and raise the funds needed to cover the cost of the consultant. No portion of any funds raised will inure to the financial benefit or gain of any public official or public employee and no funds will be utilized to influence the outcome of any election or candidate."

Citizens for Fair Representation was formed by Elizabeth Williams, Ashley Newman and Bradley Cox, according to a filing with the Secretary of State's Office. Cox didn't return a request for comment about the organization on Friday.

According to Open Secrets, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) donated through his campaign to Citizens for Fair Representation in Jan. 2021.

"Obviously members of Congress have a vested interest in how the district lines are drawn and if it will divide up communities in their districts. It is permissible under Federal Election Commission rules for campaign funds to be used in the redistricting process. This is to provide resources to give legislators multiple options to redraw the lines as required every decade," an Aderholt campaign spokesperson told 1819 News on Friday.

Another key figure in Alabama's redistricting process is longtime political consultant Randy Hinaman, who has acknowledged being compensated by Citizens for Fair Representation.

In a transcript of a video deposition included in a 2021 filing in the U.S. District Court of Northern Alabama, Hinaman said he had been contracted by the nonprofit to "draw four maps, congressional, State Senate, State House, and State Board of Education."

When Hinaman was asked why a 501(c)(4) organization as opposed to the State of Alabama, Hinaman said legislative leadership had set it up "for the purpose of drawing districts," including in 2011 and had continued it for 2021.

According to records with the Alabama Secretary of State, current and former state legislators, including members of past and present legislative leadership, and PACs that donated to Citizens for Fair Representation include:

  • State Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) – $5,000

  • State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) – $2,500

  • State Rep. Corley Ellis (R-Columbiana) – $500

  • State Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) – $27,000

  • State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) – $5,000

  • Former State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) – $5,000

  • State Rep. Wesley Kitchens (R-Guntersville) – $500

  • Former State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) – $500

  • State Rep. Chris Blackshear (R-Phenix City) – $500

  • State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) – $5,000

  • State Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) – $5,000

  • State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) – $5,000

  • State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) – $5,000

  • Maynard, Cooper and Gale PAC – $5,000

  • Tucker PAC – $2,500

  • Adams and Reese Alabama PAC – $2,500

  • State Sen. Randy Price (R-Opelika) – $5,000

  • Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) – $2,500

  • Alabama House Majority PAC – $2,500

  • State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) – $500 

  • State Rep. Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn) – $2,000 

  • State Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden) – $1,000

  • State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) – $1,000

  • State Rep. Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg) – $250

  • State Rep. Craig Lipscomb (R-Gadsden) – $500

  • State Rep. Randy Wood (R-Anniston) – $500

  • State Rep. Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile) – $500

  • State Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) – $500

  • State Rep. Debbie Wood (R-Valley) – $1,000

  • Former State Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba) – $5,000

  • Former Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) – $5,000

  • Former State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) – $5,000

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.

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