War chest for vouchers
That fat check from the daughter of Wal-Mart's founder isn't the only money sitting in the kitty for All Children Matter, a Michigan-based, pro-voucher group. According to the latest information from the Florida Division of Elections, the group had $6.8 million on hand through Aug. 1, including the $836,000 whopper from Alice Walton (shown here).
It remains to be seen, though, how much will be used in Florida, either for legislative races or for voucher Amendments 7 and 9 (assuming the amendments survive a legal challenge.)
Both All Children Matter and an affiliated group, All Children Matter-Florida, are registered in Florida as "electioneering communication organizations." But John Kirtley, the Tampa businessman and voucher supporter who chairs ACM-Florida, said the money amassed by All Children Matter is for elections around the country, not just Florida.
He told The Gradebook via email that the group has not yet decided how much to spend in Florida. "I'm sure neither side will want to talk about how much and how they are spending until it’s all over,” he said.
ACM-Florida is no stranger to Florida politics. In 2004, it spent $500,000 on Florida legislative campaigns, with accusations that it hit below the belt. Through Aug. 1, it had $31,810 on hand.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter (Photo from Forbes magazine)