Martin v. Marshall: AG race off to contentious start

July 31, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

During his introductory press conference in early February, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was immediately met with questions about a long-rumored investigation into then-Gov. Robert Bentley.

Marshall said at the time that he didn’t know about the investigation, hadn’t been briefed yet, but planned to speak to his new team and then make a public announcement. Two days later, he acknowledged the investigation and recused himself.
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Ivey Administration waylaid by privateers and scalawags

May 8, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Over the past 18 months, political upheaval in Alabama has ruined lives, shattered faith in our institutions and still the stench of corruption hangs around the neck of the body politic like a rotting corpse.

Russell Kirk, one of the founders of the traditional conservative movement in America in the late 20th Century believed, “A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society whatever political machinery it may utilize.” He also rightly surmised, “[A] society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society.”
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Ethics Commission withdraws McCalla opinion after charities line-up

December 8, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In a unanimous vote on September 1, 2016, the Alabama Ethics Commission issued advisory opinion 2016-24, which it believed clarified the question regarding public officials soliciting lobbyists and principals for contributions to a charitable organization, operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The issue was raised by the nonprofit group, Friends of McCalla.

After approving the opinion in a 5-0 vote, the Commission gave a 30-day window for public comment; however, it was extended past the 30 days to December 7.
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State Board Wants To Know Who Sent Pouncey Letter

October 14, 2016

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The State Board of Education plans to find out who leaked anonymous allegations about a candidate for the State’s superintendent position in July.

Board members on Thursday passed a resolution that calls on the Alabama Ethics Commission and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to investigate an anonymous letter alleging Craig Pouncey, currently the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools and a longtime fixture in state education, didn’t author his doctoral dissertation.
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Who Will Be Served: Justice or the Powerful Political Elites?

July 7, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The sentencing hearing for Mike Hubbard will be held this Friday at 10:00 AM, in the court of Judge Jacob Walker, III. If Hubbard is treated differently than any other criminal, or if he is shown the slightest bit of deference because of his position, the peoples’ trust in law and State government will continue to be shattered.

When Hubbard was under investigation, a vast majority were convinced he would never be indicted because they believed a Republican controlled Attorney General’s Office would never indict one of their own. Once indicted, Hubbard, as well as the majority of politicos and citizens, thought he would never stand trial because the courts couldn’t be trusted to bring such a powerful politician to heel. Finally, most didn’t trust the jury system, thinking that they would be swayed by Hubbard’s political standing in the community, or that his allies just might buy-off a juror or two. Hubbard was indicted, he did stand trial, and a jury of his peers found him guilty of 12 felony public corruption charges.
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Is French Next?

July 6, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On day six of the Mike Hubbard felony trial, former Republican State Senator, Steve French, took the stand to testify about a meeting between he and Hubbard.

Under oath he recounted that he was sent by then Sterne Agee’s CEO, Jim Holbrook, to discuss with Hubbard the pending Jefferson County bankruptcy. During the meeting, French expressed Holbrook’s desire to avoid a bankruptcy, how it would be embarrassing to his business, every other corporation in Birmingham, and in the county. French explained that should the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation came to Hubbard with a bill that would avoid the bankruptcy, would he support it? Hubbard agreed that he would give his full support as Speaker. Hubbard then pivoted to his financial woes, explaining to French that he had a plan to raise $1.5 million from 10 investors, and if his boss (Holbrook) would be interested in being one of the 10. French took the offer to Holbrook and he agreed to an investment.
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State Recommends 18 Years for Hubbard

July 1, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Policial Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Thursday, the State filed its Brief In Support Of Sentencing Recommendation for Mike Hubbard, who will be sentenced on July 8, for 12 felony counts of public corruption.

The State recommends Hubbard be sentenced on each of his 12 felony Ethics Law convictions to an 18-year base sentence, split to serve 5 years in prison, followed by a term of supervised probation equal to the time remaining. It also asked the Court to require Hubbard to pay $1,125,000.00 in restitution (Hubbard’s ill-gotten gain); the maximum fine of $360,000.00 ($30,000.00 per count); the maximum amount to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, $120,000.00 ($10,000.00 per count); and court costs and fees as determined by this Court.
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After the Storm: A Modest Proposal

May 17, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Jury selection in the State vs Michael G. Hubbard began Monday, with opening arguments to begin on May 24 or 25. The trial is expected to last approximately a month, according to statements made at the last hearing.

If Hubbard, who is charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption, is found innocent, the monster, who is Speaker Hubbard, will scorch the Earth with his vengeance and retribution, and our State will never be rid of his corrupting influence. If convicted, there will be a brief moment to change rules, institutions and policies, that will prevent men like Hubbard from harming our State by using government for craven, personal gain. If convicted, there will be an opening to stop the practices that have enabled Hubbard and his cronies to thrive.
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Timeline to Scandal

April 18, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Many questions remain about the steps which have led to the statewide scandal now engulfing Governor Bentley’s Administration.

Why did Baron Coleman, once a fierce critic of Speaker Mike Hubbard, come to his aid?

Why were Gov. Bentley and his senior advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, so adamant that ALEA Chief, Spencer Collier not provide an affidavit stemming from Coleman’s actions?

Currently, there are more questions than answers as to why Gov. Bentley and Rebekah Mason “punished,” and ultimately fired ALEA Chief Spencer Collier.
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Monday Massacre at ALEA

March 1, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— Firings at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) are being seen as an attempt, by Gov. Robert Bentley, to cover-up the events surrounding his ordering Law Enforcement Chief Spencer Collier not to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office in a criminal investigation.

On Monday, sources with intimate knowledge of the firing confirmed that JT Jenkins, ALEA’s second-in-command; John “Hal” Taylor; Jay Howell; Camilla Gibson; and Collier’s personnel assistant, Merritt Hayes, were fired from ALEA. Also, Special Agent Jack Wilson was transferred from his post.
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