Doug Jones says Tommy Tuberville’s charity filings raise questions

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In this Thursday, May 7, 2020, file photo, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., speaks at Capitol Hill in Washington. Tommy Tuberville’s quest for a seat in the U.S. Senate is powered by the reputation he gained as Auburn University’s football coach. But in the years since, the Republican has been mired in business failings, a lawsuit and even a questionable charity that raises money but gives very little away. In trying to raise doubts Tuberville's fitness for office, Jones has pointed to Tuberville’s involvement in a failed hedge fund. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File)

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones on Wednesday criticized Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville’s financial record after reports emerged that the former college football coach’s nonprofit only gave a fraction of its money to charity while it spent tens of thousands of dollars to stage annual golf tournaments.

The Associated Press and The New York Times reported this week that the Tommy Tuberville Foundation, an organization he formed to support veterans, spent one-third or less of its money on charitable activities.

Jones, who is widely considered considered the Senate’s most endangered Democrat, said his analysis indicated that only about 18% of the foundation’s money went to veterans while the foundation hosted an annual golf tournament and owned a truck.

“Now this is a candidate that is supposed to be there for veterans. … I know this,” Jones said. “His Foundation has not been good for veterans, but it’s been good for somebody.”

“Tommy Tuberville and his buddies can go play golf together and he charges money for it and they have a nice time, they spend a lot of money for the golf tournament,” Jones said.

The American Democracy Legal Fund sent a letter Tuesday to the Internal Revenue Service asking for an investigation into the charity’s 990 tax forms.

Jones is fighting to defend the Senate seat he won in a special election three years ago. Republicans have made recapturing the seat a priority in 2020. Tuberville, the former head football coach at Auburn University, is endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Tuberville’s campaign has defended the work of the foundation.

“Now that he has stepped forward to offer his candidacy to the citizens of Alabama, Doug Jones, Chuck Schumer, and other liberal, Swamp Democrats are spreading lies in an attempt to smear Coach Tuberville’s career, accomplishments, and charitable service,” his campaign said in an earlier statement.

Tuberville this week criticized Jones’ response to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Jones has said he believes that filling the Supreme Court vacancy should wait until after the presidential election is decided.

“Since becoming our placeholder senator, Doug Jones has opposed everything most Alabamians support and supported everything most Alabamians oppose,” Tuberville said in a statement.

Jones said he was “flattered” by a Politico piece speculating that he could be Joe Biden’s attorney general if Biden defeats Trump in November. Jones and Biden are longtime friends and Biden spoke at the Jones’ campaign kickoff in 2017.

Jones said he has not had a conversation with Biden about the possibility, but sidestepped the question on whether he would be interested in such an appointment.

“Joe would much rather have my voice in the United States Senate right now,” Jones said.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.