07 Oct 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Mike Hubbard’s witness list for the October 26 hearing on prosecutorial misconduct looks less like a serious judicial inquiry and more like a three-ring circus.
When the circus comes to town, it’s all about entertainment. This circus is no different. Its sole purpose is to entertain by embarrassing and humiliating Judge Jacob Walker in Lee County.
Let me explain.
Hubbard’s witness list includes a hefty 40 names, including members of the media, elected officials, and prominent businessmen. The headlines will be sensational in the days before the hearing. “HUBBARD CALLS 40 WITNESSES TO SHOW PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.”
The headline and accompanying article will be a veritable poster for the circus coming to town for the October 26 hearing. Locals will be awed by the size of the witness list. Hubbard has 40 witnesses? Where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?
The only thing missing from the circus-poster-turned-front-page-article will be a little-known fact about the October 26 hearing: Judge Walker has limited the scope of the hearing to the standard set out in Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States, a United States Supreme Court case dealing with prosecutorial misconduct.
In short, Judge Walker is limiting the inquiry into prosecutorial misconduct to the Nova Scotia standard, which is whether violations of grand jury proceedings had an effect on the grand jury’s decision to indict. That means Judge Walker won’t look at anything that took place after Mike Hubbard was indicted. It also means Judge Walker won’t look at anything that took place outside of the grand jury.
What it really means is that most of the witnesses on Mike Hubbard’s witness list aren’t going to testify.
And that’s the point.
Hubbard knows they won’t testify. The prosecution knows they won’t testify. And Judge Walker knows they won’t testify. They won’t testify because they never went before the grand jury. Hubbard will try to use them to show some misconduct that took place outside the grand jury.
And that’s why they’re on the witness list. Hubbard knows Judge Walker will apply the standard he said he would apply. He needs Judge Walker to apply that standard and strike his witnesses because that’s where the circus really gets going.
Imagine this headline from the local press: “JUDGE WALKER BANS 35 OF 40 HUBBARD WITNESSES FROM TESTIFYING ABOUT PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.”
Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Hubbard is no longer the bad guy. He’s the victim, and Judge Walker is leading the charge to cover up misconduct and make sure Hubbard gets a raw deal.
And that’s the point. This case used to be the State of Alabama v. Mike Hubbard. Hubbard’s witness list makes it Judge Jacob Walker v. Mike Hubbard in a circus-battle for King of Lee County.
Hubbard has 40 witnesses on his witness list because he needs the public to believe the whole system is rigged against him, starting with Judge Walker.
Judge Walker needs to turn the tables and strike Hubbard’s entire witness list and make him re-file a witness list that justifies each and every witness under the Bank of Nova Scotia standard. Force Hubbard to state, in a few words, how each witness could testify about how the grand jury was improperly influenced.
As much as this publication dislikes filings made under seal, allow Hubbard to file it under seal and release a redacted version for public consumption.
Make Hubbard take down his own circus tent.
Make Hubbard strike his own witnesses.
Mike Hubbard wants a circus.
Judge Walker should make him call the bearded lady and tell her not to bother making plans to travel to Lee County on October 26.
25 Sep 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The single, most relevant thing we can take away from the numerous email exchanges between Speaker Mike Hubbard and his cohorts, is that each one is about how to make money off of State government, but not even one is about how to better serve the people of Alabama, or his House District. Not one.
Hubbard whines, threatens, pleads, and grovels in a most unmanly way, and never once is it about anything other than him, personally.
He never puts his Alabama family first. He has continually betrayed them for his own prurient interests.
Hubbard knows how to package an idea, but he doesn’t know how to be a leader without breaking the rules. He knows how to sell a concept, but like the car salesman who has lost his drivers license due to a drunk driving charge, he can only sell vehicles, but he can’t drive one, legally.
Hubbard is an actor, and not a very good one at that. In the small world of Alabama politics he wanted to be Michael Corleone to former Gov. Bob Riley’s, Godfather, but instead, it turned out he was more suited for the role of Fredo. In The Godfather, Fredo is a most obedient, and dutiful son, but he is simple-minded, and the weakness of character has dire consequences for he and his family. When his father, Don Corleone is gunned-down in the street by would be assassins, Fredo panics, fumbles his gun, and fails to return fire. Next, we see him sitting on the curb sobbing, paralyzed by his own failure. This is the real Mike Hubbard, who, at heart, is a greedy, little, sniffling coward. That sexy beast, Riley, is learning that his creation can’t be trusted, but he is playing both Hubbard, and the prosecution, trying to come out on the winning side of the equation.
Ultimately, it will be Riley’s son Rob, his wartime consigliere, who will decide when to have Hubbard rowed to his unexpected demise. Rob, and his sister Minda Riley Campbell, are both pretty good lawyers, and by now they have realized that J. Mark White, the attorney Rob recommended Hubbard hire, is digging an expensive grave for his client, and perhaps the Riley mob as well.
White has fumbled Hubbard’s defense in unimaginable ways. His calling for a, "More Defined Statement of Facts" led to the first barrage of emails, which showed that Hubbard was a double-dealing cheat. And again, his motion to dismiss on the grounds that State ethics laws were unconstitutional, opened the floodgates for further emails which revealed the machinations of Hubbard's schemes to enrich himself, using his office for personal gain.
Interestingly, it was Augusta Dowd, not White, who issued a statement rebutting John Archibald’s rich denunciation of Hubbard. She thought the prosecution was “cherry picking” emails. Sorry Mrs. Dowd, they are his emails, and they are most likely the most damning.
“It's ironic that I was the 'architect' of putting a pro-business legislature in place, yet businesses seem to want to avoid any personal association with me like the plague!," wrote Hubbard to investment banker and BCA board member Will Brooke. Of course, this was right after asking Brooke, “Ya got a little something for me?”
Like Fredo, Hubbard begs from his betters, and threatens those he perceives as inferior. Hubbard packaged the Republican takeover of the legislature, but like Fredo, he was too corrupt and inept to hold on to it.
Fredo Corleone to Michael: “It ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!”
Hubbard is smart, but he can’t handle things, important things, like his greed, his appetite, and his lust. These are the soul killers.
Fredo Corleone: “Every time I put my line in the water I said a Hail Mary, and every time I said a Hail Mary, I caught a fish."
In a January 14, 2011 email Hubbard wrote to Riley, “I hope you know how much I love and respect you. I try every day to pattern myself after you as a husband, father, Christian and as a public servant. That's a pretty lofty goal, but I try. If I can even come close, I will be happy.”
I'm sure that Hubbard is familiar with "The Godfather." That being said, he may not want to accept an invitation from his Godfather to go fishing anytime soon. He most likely would metaphorically join Luca Brasi, who sleeps with the fishes.
RIP Fredo Hubbard.
07 Sep 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Since it was revealed that Alabama's First Lady, Dianne Bentley was divorcing her husband of 50 years, there has been a growing feeding frenzy over speculation about an illicit affair.
Jumping head-first into the fray are the bloggers, radio talking-heads, commercial media, and of course, more than a few scandalmonger wags across the internet.
The question hinted at, and in some cases, answered as fact, is “Was Gov. Robert Bentley having an affair with a staffer?” Any honest reporter, while digging for the facts would have to admit, they don’t know.
Bentley could put an end to speculation by holding a press conference and denying the affair. The Governor has said his divorce is private matter, and to some degree that is true. But, he asked to be the leader of our State, and the people granted him his wish. With his office comes a responsibility to be honest with the people, whether it is about taxes, marriage, or divorce.
We at the Alabama Political Reporter have a policy of not printing rumors concerning sexual relationships, peccadilloes, or other indiscretions, that are common with those in, and surrounding our government. If we reported on every claim of debauchery, there would be little room for anything else.
Bentley has championed family values. He has worn his Christianity on his sleeve, and has called on others to follow the Gospel’s teachings. But, now, because of his impending divorce, the people want to know, and rightly deserve to know, if the Governor is a liar and a cheat.
In his book Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, Paul Ekman states, “There are two primary ways to lie: to conceal and to falsify. In concealing, the liar withholds some information without actually saying anything untrue.
The people of Alabama want to know if their Governor is concealing information.
In the absence of answers, speculation rushes in to fill the void, and in politics, most often widespread speculation leads to the most vile assumptions.
Gov. Bentley has said his political enemies are shooting at him. Of course they are, and his silence gives them more time to reload and keep firing. How his campaign funds were handled as well as his, secretive 501(c)(4), is providing his enemies plenty of ammunition. Silence is not the Governor’s friend.
None of these things, and for that matter, an affair, constitutes in, and of itself, a crime. Speaker Mike Hubbard has been charged with 23 felonies and still leads the House, so, the bar on character and moral failing has been set extremely low in Alabama.
There are many who believe Gov. Bentley lied to them about taxes, and others felt betrayed when he removed all of the Confederate flags from the Capital grounds. These things have harmed the Governor’s credibility exponentially. However, these rumors, masquerading as facts, may do irreparable harm if not addressed properly, and promptly.
Bentley can recover from this public debacle. He can survive even if there were personal failings. President Bill Clinton endured impeachment, and public shame, but he survived.
The only thing that will bring the Governor down is if a crime has been committed. All the rest is just so much grist for the scandal mill.
Over the last serval months, the Governor has proven himself politically tone deaf, and floundering.
Our State is at a crossroad; fiscally and morally, and it is time for strong leaders to rise up, whose moral compass' are true.
For the moment, the public waits to see if Gov. Bentley will fill that role.
The first step is to speak openly and honestly with the people, and to answer their questions. They deserve to know, and they need to know...now.
21 Sep 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Gov. Robert Bentley can rightly take credit for taking “the first step” toward “changed the course of how we are going to fund the General Fund.” But there is a sickness in Montgomery, a disease of the conscience that has not been addressed. Once again, during the second Special Session, Speaker Mike Hubbard sought to pass legislation that would gut the ethics laws and give him the ability to raise unlimited cash for his legal defense. But, he also met secretly with those who could finance his ongoing attempt to thwart justice.
After six months of political saber rattling, the battle over the State’s General Fund Budget (SGF) has ended, not with thunderous victory, but with the sigh of bitter compromise.
Gov. Bentley won.
Hubbard won as well, but in the shadows.
In each Special Session of 2015, Hubbard and his cronies employed trickery and deceit to pass legislation that would have made it easier for him avoid the justice that awaits him at the Lee County Court House.
During the second Special Session, which had nothing to do with gambling legislation, Hubbard continued to hold meetings with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI), their lobbyists Phillip and Allison Kinney, and principals of the tribe.
The PCI had offered the State $250 million in exchange for a Tribal-State compact that would guarantee them a monopoly over all gaming in Alabama. They allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars for ad/buys leading up to the Regular Session to convince voters and the legislature that their $250 million loan to the State was the gesture of a friend. The Governor told them to cut it out, and they did.
But this did not stop the deal from going forward in private offices, especially the corner office on the fifth floor, where a flat screen TV plays a continuous loop of pictures as tribute to the glories of its inhabitant House Speaker.
There was a time when Hubbard would not even offer tribal members a chair in his office and was reluctantly to meet with them. In the past, Hubbard took their money and bid them good day. But now, like a debutante turned prostitute, he smiles invitingly at those he once avoided.
He needs their money and they want to control gambling. A business arrangement between friends with benefits you might say.
Hubbard had a sudden change of heart on taxes, and in Montgomery, when a politician does a 180, there is graft to be had and players to be paid.
Those close to the Bentley camp say he is considering a Special Session to discuss passing a constitutional amendment to allow citizens a vote on a lottery. This would exclude the Marsh plan, which would offer the voters a chance to cast their ballots for table games as well.
The plan is to allow a lottery and then sign a compact with the PCI, ending any opportunity for others to compete.
Be aware that, once a monopoly is granted the PCI, they will control not only gambling but the State as well.
In the 2014 general election, the PCI spent $1.5 million to try and defeat the State’s sitting AG Luther Strange, because he dared to challenge them. If they would spend millions on revenge, what will they spend for control?
Now, the fight over the budget was the visible conflict, not the underlying cause of the clash. The real war being waged in Montgomery is over the moral center of State government. Corruption is systemic within State politics. Immorality has infected the heart of the process, with greed as its engine, and power its driver.
No. This is not a reference to the rumors surrounding the governor. There is no creditable evidence to that scandalous chatter.
The moral failings in Montgomery centers on Hubbard, his followers, and those who make their living serving the very narrow interests of the powerful elite.
Like the money changers at the temple, they should be forced from the State House in ruinous shame.
The 23 felony indictments against Hubbard are a testament to his appetite for riches, as revealed in his emails to former Gov. Bob Riley. His latest motion to have the charges against him dismissed, claiming the ethics laws he championed are unconstitutional, is a clear example of his willingness to lie to free himself from taking responsibility for his actions. And, as his actions during the Special Session show, he will corrupt the very laws of this State for his own benefit. And his deal with the PCI shows he will sell not only his soul, but also the State, to the highest bidder.
20 Aug 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Speaker Mike Hubbard is so worried that he will be convicted on the 23 felony counts of violating State ethics laws, that his legal team has filed a seal motion to have those laws ruled unconstitutional.
After reviewing thousands of documents and hearing hundreds of hours of testimony, 18 citizens in Lee County found probable cause to indict and arrest Mike Hubbard, the most powerful politician in their district, on 23 felonies.
There are some who do not believe that 12 other citizens called from that same district will find him guilty of those 23 felonies. But, there is one group that is worried he will be convicted:
Hubbard's criminal defense team.
Criminal defense attorney J. Mark White said, the reason they filed the motion to challenge the constitutionality of the laws under which Hubbard was indicted, and have them placed under seal, was because it contained grand jury testimony. Matt Hart, Chief of the AG’s Special Prosecution Division, said in court that the real reason was because the filing would embarrass Hubbard. Trail Judge Jacob Walker III agreed that the motion should be unsealed, and gave the defense until Friday August 21, to publicly file the motion.
For the moment, the public and the media can only speculate on what grounds Hubbard will challenge the laws he championed, voted for, and praised saying:
“Because of the laws passed in the  Special Session, and proudly signed into law by Governor Riley, Alabama ethics laws are now among the strongest in the nation.”
What outrageous argument will Hubbard trot out to make the court believe that the laws he passed are somehow illegal?
Hubbard also wrote one of those ethics laws:
“It is my hope that future historians will say that this was the legislature that brought the reforms Alabama had needed for so long and that fundamentally changed how state government operates… Most voters in Alabama had become used to hearing politicians say one thing on the campaign trail and do something else once elected. That kind of empty rhetoric and broken promises has given Alabamians a serious distrust of state government for decades. We vowed to change that.”
In his own words Hubbard proclaimed boldly that what he and the Republican supermajority “proudly” passed were historic ethics reforms, “that fundamentally changed how state government operates.”
Now, he wants the court to believe that it was all a mistake?
The question that should hang over every republican legislator’s head like a guillotine is, will those same legislators that passed the “strongest in the nation,” ethics laws now abandon them because one of their own was caught in the net they wove?
How can a single Republican lawmaker look voters in the eye and say, “Well, it was a good law until a one of our guys broke it.”
Has the body politic of Alabama become so riddled with cancerous corruption that laws have no value, if they are broken by a member of your party? Is partisan politics mired so deeply in a dung heap of cronyism, as to grant a pass for a fellow republican who has run afoul of the laws they passed?
Hubbard’s willingness to sacrifice the good accomplished by the Republican supermajority to save his own neck, is a very telling demonstration of his deviant, and narcissistic character.
In 2010, Hubbard said, “When you look someone in the eye, give them your word, and shake their hand, you make a bond. This Handshake Agenda is our bond with the voters of Alabama, and if Republicans are successful in taking over the Legislature, these are the items we will immediately work to pass.”
The Republicans were successful in taking over the Legislature, and every other State office.
“Ending Corruption in Montgomery,” was a promise of the Handshake with Alabama Hubbard promoted. It reads in part:
“Democrats have held the majority in Montgomery for 136 years, and during that time, they created an atmosphere that breeds corruption and encourages graft…Republicans understand that we must limit the influence of special interests and other lobbyists who control much of what happens in Montgomery…Too many legislators and other public officials have been caught double-dipping or holding questionable contracts with government agencies and those wishing to do business with the state. Republicans will work to ban double-dipping and require public officials and their spouses to disclose any contracts they hold with government entities.”
Note: the "Handshake" said the republicans would put an end to those, “holding questionable contracts with government agencies and those wishing to do business with the state.” That is exactly what Hubbard is accused of doing, but now that he has been caught doing what he promised to stop, he wants the law tossed out.
Consider this: was Hubbard lying when he praised the ethics laws, or is he lying now?
Adrienne Rich, author of “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying.” wrote:
“Lying is done with words, and also with silence.”
If State republicans remain silent on this matter, they too are lying, lying not only to the court, and the people of our State, but to themselves as well.
Leviticus 19:11 says, “You shall not steal, neither deal falsely…,” this is what Hubbard is accused of doing. It ends by stating, “ neither lie one to another.” If lawmakers and republican voices are mute on this issue, then they can no longer be trusted by the people of Alabama.
So far, Hubbard has intimidated State lawmakers, the republican establishment, and even the Governor.
American author, Bryant H. McGill, wrote “The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars, and the selfish hide in high places.”
It is time to come out of hiding, and speak out against Hubbard’s lies.