Link To video How Does Biker Safety Group Spend Taxpayer Money?TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A biker group that claims to promote motorcycle safety also rode to the state Capitol building to lobby lawmakers in an effort to overturn the Florida's helmet law.A study by the Center for Urban Transportation Research shows that repealing the state's helmet law led to a 33 percent jump in emergency room costs for each motorcycle crash. The state also said 49 percent of crash victims do not have insurance.The motorcycle group, ABATE, has received nearly $750,000 of public money since 2007 to promote motorcycle safety awareness. The group already received $250,000 this year and it's in line to get another $250,000 next year.State records show ABATE has turned over receipts for silicone bracelets, calendars, gel pens, eyeglass repair kits, key chains and yard signs, but some bikers think that the taxpayer dollars given to ABATE are simply used to boost fee-based membership."The only thing the stickers do is advertise ABATE," a motorcyclist, and voter, by the name of Banshee said. "I feel ripped off."The state has the authority to audit ABATE, but never has. Present and former members of the group said taxpayers deserve to know more."If it's all about taxpayer money, even if you don't ride a motorcycle, this is your money. You should be watching every dime," biker John Herlihy said.ABATE's president and lobbyist, James Reichanbach, disputed the notion that the group received public money."It comes out of our motorcycle money that the motorcyclists pay into," Reichanbach said.The money does come from motorcycle fees, but the state said that money can be spent on transportation to benefit everyone.ABATE's tax returns show that under the Governing Documents Disclosure, it lists "No documents available to the public." That bothered Republican Rep. Bryan Nelson, of Apopka, who said he does not want public money spent promoting groups with political agendas."It's fine, as long as it's not taxpayer funded," Nelson said.ABATE does raise safety awareness with videos shown on its website and in high schools that teach young drivers to avoid bikers. It has also sponsored billboards on highways and has run some of the state's biggest toy drives."The state organization is doing a great job for the state of Florida," Mike Pope, the president of ABATE's Brevard County chapter, said.This summer, ABATE will be required to submit its first audit of how the public money is being spent.
Original post: with links to previous post
It is no secret that this site among others has spent considerable time and energy trying to find out where and to what, does ABATE of Florida's money go. Imagine our surprise when we found out WESH news of Orlando was also asking the same questions. So on April 20, some ABATE members and non ABATE members met with reporter Gregg Fox to see how we could find out, see:
A shout out to some Florida Biker Activists you would like knowing
We sat tight as we learned it was Gregg Fox's intention to confront ABATE of Florida President and Lobbyist at ABATE annual Freedom Rally in Tallahassee. (see ABATE of Fl Freedom rally 2011, the net tightens on the lobbyist ... .),where once again the ABATE of Florida President threatened this writer.
Though we are never surprised by the actions of The ABATE of Florida President, James D. Reichenbach, the biggest surprise was learning that the state of Florida has been giving ABATE of Florida taxpayer money without ever auditing their books and without ABATE of Florida ever releasing any public information regarding their expenditures???? This from an organization that operates as a not for profit corporation??? See the WESH, Channel 2, Orlando, Fl. story here:
How Does Biker Safety Group Spend Taxper Money? - Orlando News Story - WESH Orlando
Regarding the part on motorcycle helmets most of us are pro-choice. But in hard economic times when the numbers of families on food stamps are at record highs, we want know how our state is spending OUR money! And if they are giving it to ANY organization, how is that organization spending OUR money!
When channel 2 mentions little films on a website (that can obtained for free on you tube) and billboards and going into schools, WE want to see studies demonstrating that any of these actions have been researched as to there efficacy! Public record of a touchy freely show and tell school program that the state may be funding is worthless if their are no studies demonstrating they save lives!
We want to know how Mother on a mission Diane Pearson can saturate her area with Billboards through private financing and ABATE of Florida can not! Is this nothing more than the corporate welfare so many speak of?
We also wish Channel two would have gone into the ABATE/NCOM connection. After all if the state, unbelievably, has never audited an organization they have been giving money to all these years how do we know where that money is going???
This story validated many of our concerns. But it also raises more questions that we feel need to be answered NOW!
We have seen the money flow from chapters to Doc with the caveat, "to with as you see fit". What we want to know is about the money flow between the state and ABATE of Florida. Something stinks here, we just can't determine if it is incompetence or corruption. More to come.
Because our experience has been, "Bikers" don't sleep with politiciansAdd to Technorati Favorites