News Release: Politicians and Staff Accept Free Iron Bowl Tickets

December 16, 2009

Free Iron Bowl Tickets news release

For Release:
December 16, 2009

Contact: Jim Metrock  205.822.0080


BIRMINGHAM, AL –  Obligation, Inc. a Birmingham-based child advocacy organization is asking all state officials who accepted free tickets for this year’s Iron Bowl game from Auburn University to do two things:

  1. Donate at least $65 per ticket received (face value) to a charity that benefits children before year’s end;
  2. Publicly promise he or she will not accept free or discounted tickets to next year’s Iron Bowl from the University of Alabama.

Obligation’s president Jim Metrock said, “The practice of giving public officials free Iron Bowl tickets and free parking is outrageous.  This ‘holiday gift’ was not available to average, hard-working Alabamians.  These public servants were enriched simply because of their office.  Some officials may even have sold their tickets for a real cash windfall.”

According to Auburn University 446 free Alabama/Auburn tickets were given out to 219 officials and staff.

Metrock said, “Every person who received these tickets should have known how desperate charities are this year. According to Charity Navigator, 86% of nonprofits surveyed in 2009 reported that the economy was having a ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ effect on the services they provide.  A charity could have raised thousands of dollars raffling off just two tickets.  Instead these state officials, who could easily buy their own tickets, received an ‘Iron Bowl Bailout’ courtesy of a state-supported university.”

Metrock said, “Next fall, Obligation will urge potential ticket recipients to refuse Iron Bowl tickets.  We’ll urge the host school, the University of Alabama, to give free tickets directly to charitable organizations.  As long as this distasteful practice continues in our state, Obligation will try to make children the beneficiaries and not politicians.”

Obligation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995.   Obligation seeks to advance public education by researching and reporting on intrusive commercial marketing in public schools.  Obligation is a private foundation that is self-funded and does not accept donations.

[Second page of news release]

Recipients of free Iron Bowl tickets:

139 legislators (2 each)

Governor’s Office -22

Delivered to:

Bryan Taylor 3

Jeff Emerson 3

Dave Stewart 3

Ken Wallis 3

Bob Riley 2

Elaine LeFleur 3

Josh Blades 3

Sommer Vaughn 2

Lt Governor’s Office -6

Delivered to:

Jim Folsom, Jr. 3

Mike Martin 3

Attorney General’s Office -4

Delivered to:

Troy King 2

Daniel Morris 2

Speaker Office – 4

Delivered to:

Seth Hammett 2

Jeff Woodard 2

2 each:

ACHE                  Charles Ball

ACHE                  Ralph Buffkin

ACHE                  Jeff Coleman

ACHE                  Thomas P. Davis

ACHE                  Philip C. Dotts

ACHE                  Larry J. Hughes

ACHE                  Andrew G. Linn

ACHE                  William E. Powell

ACHE                  Stephen  Shaw

ACHE                  Missy Ming Smith

ACHE                  Roberta O. Watts

ACHE                  Ronald W. Wise

ACHE                  Gregory G. Fitch

PSC                  Lucy Baxley

PSC                  Jan Cook

PSC                  Susan D. Parker

Judicial                                    Robert G. Esdale

Constitutional                  Beth Chapman

Constitutional                  Kay Ivey

Constitutional                  Samantha Shaw

Constitutional                  Ron Sparks

State Official                  Dave Avant

State Official                  Jerry Bassett

State Official                  Joyce Bigbee

State Official                  Joseph Borg

State Official                  Ed Castile

State Official                  Lewis Easterly

State Official                  Frank Gitschier

State Official                  Norris Green

State Official                  Pat Harris

State Official                  Michael Hudson

State Official                  Don Ladner

State Official                  Alva Lambert

State Official                  McDowell Lee

State Official                  Anne Elizabeth McGowin

State Official                  Maury Mitchell

State Official                  Greg Pappas

State Official                  Glen Pringle

State Official                  Brenda Smith

State Official                  Michael F. Sparks

State Official                  Cynthia Underwood

State Official                  Donald Williamson

State Official                  Jeff Woodard

State Official                  Joyce Wright

Other                                    David Bronner

Other                                    Marcus Reynolds

Gov Cabinet                  Richard Allen

Gov Cabinet                  A. C. Blalock

Gov Cabinet                  Nancy T. Buckner

Gov Cabinet                  Irene Collins

Gov Cabinet                  John Harrison

Gov Cabinet                  Carol Herrmann-Steckel

Gov Cabinet                  John Houston

Gov Cabinet                  Doni Ingram

Gov Cabinet                  Barnett Lawley

Gov Cabinet                  Brock Long

Gov Cabinet                  Joe McInnes

Gov Cabinet                  Chris Murphy

Gov Cabinet                  Bill Newton

Gov Cabinet                  Jim Ridling

Gov Cabinet                  Tim Russell

Gov Cabinet                  Lee Sentell

Gov Cabinet                  Tom Surtees

Gov Cabinet                  Neal Wade

Gov Cabinet                  Jim Walker

Gov Cabinet                  Ken Wallis [On list twice. Could be error.]

Source: December 3, 2009 email to Obligation from AUBURN UNIVERSITY spokesperson Mike Clardy.

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