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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Why Did the Alabama Policy Institute Give Inmate Kenneth Bryan Dawson $1,077,500?

Updated: Nov 21

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 19, 2023; Updated November 20, 2023

Inmate Kenneth Bryan Dawson, courtesy of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

In 2021, the conservative Alabama Policy Institute gave convicted cocaine trafficker, serial thief, and attempted murderer Kenneth Bryan Dawson $1,077,500 to launch 1819 News as API’s digital media arm. 

Today, Dawson, 39, serves as 1819 News' president, CEO, and publisher.

On its website, API says 1819 News and API formally separated on December 31, 2022, and that there is "no legal, editorial, or financial affiliation between the two entities.”

Nobody claims that Kenneth Bryan Dawson returned the $1,077,500 he received to API as part of this "legal, editorial, or financial" disassociation. In fact, the evidence suggests that Dawson kept the money and continues to work hand-in-hand with API to promote its conservative agenda in the state.

Dawson’s extensive criminal court and prison records paint the profile of a man who was a very violent and dangerous career criminal. He literally traded stolen vehicles to Mexican drug cartels in exchange for cocaine that he trafficked throughout Colorado and elsewhere. Additionally, Dawson nearly beat a police informant to death for "snitching" on him.


Based upon our examination of the public record, Kenneth Bryan Dawson has never expressed contrition for his crimes. NOR has Dawson ever expressed ANY remorse or regret for his actions toward these crime victims and their families. NOR has Dawson issued a public apology for the hundreds, if not thousands of lives he destroyed by supplying illegal and illicit drugs to vulnerable people and communities, not to mention children.

In prison, Dawson found God. He claims to have experienced a proverbial "Saul to Paul conversion on the road to Damacus." Acts 9:1-22.


Dawson’s prison records explain, in part, how he got out of prison early and why he wound up in Alabama

However, nobody has ever explained why a powerful Alabama-based conservative think tank like API would pump $1,077,500 into empowering a man with Kenneth Bryan Dawson's background and continues to associate with him today on driving political policy in Alabama. 


In 2022, another $1 million or more reportedly flowed to Dawson’s 1819 News, via “dark money” contributions from less conspicuous mega-donors in Alabama. We know who they are.


On November 1, 2023, Dawson’s 1819 News executed a media "hit job" that “outed” Smiths Station, Alabama mayor Fred “Bubba” Copeland’s cross-dressing (in his home) and his James Patterson-style works of erotic fiction.  An embarrassed and emotionally distraught Copeland responded to this 1819 News article by killing himself two days later.

To date, Kenneth Bryan Dawson has expressed no remorse or apology for his role in Bubba Copeland's death. This suicide is now the subject of a homicide investigation by the Lee County, Alabama Sheriff's and District Attorney's offices.


After weeks of investigation, our news team has finally discovered the real ties that bind the power-players at API to Kenneth Bryan Dawson. API literally passed over thousands of convicted cocaine traffickers, serial thieves, attempted murderers, and so-called "Saul to Paul" converts, inside and outside of Alabama, to adopt Kenneth Bryan Dawson as its financially-sponsored media "hit man."


We will deliver the surprising answer to this $1,077,500 question in an exclusive investigative report on Thanksgiving Day. It's a stunner!

Stay tuned!

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