Alabama Democratic Party Looking For HD 79 Candidate

July 4, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, July 1, there are five Republicans already running to fill the seat vacated by disgraced former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, but no Lee County Democrat has come forward to run for the seat. If Democrats are ever going to break the Republican Party’s iron grip on power in Alabama, they are going to have to first find competent people who are willing to come out of the shadows and admit they are Democrats by running as Democrats.
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Palmer Helps Deceased Auburn Grad Get WWII Distinguished Service Cross for Role in D-Day Battle

May 27, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) announced on Wednesday, May 25 that his efforts to get Alabama native, First Lieutenant Melvin Spruiell long overdue recognition for his part in the World War II D-Day Invasion of Europe.

Congressman Gary Palmer said in a statement, “I was proud to assist a hero receive a much overdue high honor. My NDAA amendment awarded Alabama native First Lieutenant Melvin Spruiell the Distinguished Service Cross for his acts of valor during World War II. Mr. Spruiell was killed acting as a forward observer for the 101st Airborne Division at Normandy. His immediate two superiors were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and they, in turn, recommended that Mr. Spruiell receive one for his actions on June 10- 11, 1944.”
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Auburn Drops Hubbard’s Former Employer

March 9, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Auburn Athletics has granted FOX Sports an exclusive contract to manage its multimedia rights and sponsorship sales, for all of Auburn’s sports initiates. These include, intellectual property rights, radio broadcasts for all sports, coaches’ television shows, live TV rights, athletics publications, and more.

The agreement with FOX Sports spells the end of the University’s long-standing relationship with IMG Sports, who purchased the rights from Mike Hubbard in 2003. Hubbard’s Auburn Network radio station has relied heavily on broadcasting Auburn sports, as perhaps its most lucrative revenue stream. Those close to the deal speculate that FOX Sports will turn to another Lee County radio station with a bigger footprint to broadcast Auburn sporting event.
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Grand Jury Indicted Hubbard After His Testimony

August 24, 2015

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report

MONTGOMERY—Recently released court documents show that Speaker Mike Hubbard testified before the Special Grand Jury in Lee County, before his indictment.

Even though Hubbard took the stand in his own defense, 18 citizens of Lee County found probable cause to indict him on 23 felony counts of public corruption.

(See State’s Motion to quash subpoena.)

In response to a request made by Hubbard’s attorney, J. Mark White, the State released a letter showing that transcripts of Hubbard’s testimony had been given to his legal team.
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In “Hail Mary” Hubbard Subpoenas Governor

March 31, 2015

 By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—In what is being described as both a fit of desperation and a Hail-Mary pass, Speaker Mike Hubbard, (R-Auburn) has filed subpoenas for Governor Robert Bentley (R), Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis and the Custodian of Records for the Ethics Commission, according to a filing by the Attorney General’s Office late Monday.

Filing 1, Filing 2

 

Over the last month, Speaker Hubbard, through his criminal defense attorney J. Mark White, has subpoena 17 witnesses for an evidentiary hearing that has not even been granted yet by Lee Count Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker, III.

 

Court observers speaking on background say that they believe that the Hubbard defense team wants to put the prosecution on trial prior to his felony trial in October.

 

Hubbard has been charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption.

 

One attorney familiar with the case said, “This is a ‘Hail Mary’ by White because he doesn’t have a real defense.”

 

In response to the prosecution’s motion to quash the subpoenas issued to Bentley and others, Judge Walker has ordered a hearing on April 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm in courtroom three of the Lee County Justice Center.

 

The purpose of the hearing is to further discuss issues to be heard on April 15 and 16, 2015, according to Judge Walker’s order.

 

The hearing of April 15 and 16 was to be on motions filed in the case, but Hubbard, in what is described by one attorney as a “fit of desperation,” apparently wants to turn the hearing into a media circus.

 

As for Hubbard’s request to call Gov. Bentley the state argues, “Hubbard’s subpoena… constitutes an improper attempt to obtain discovery to which he is not entitled and to conduct a baseless fishing expedition.”

 

The state contends that Hubbard’s subpoena of Bentley should be quashed because it represents an attempt to usurp this Court’s authority. Prosecutors also say that it violates executive privilege, “It is black-letter law in Alabama that testimony about the performance of a state officer’s official duties is protected from disclosure by executive privilege.”

 

The prosecution also claims that the Bentley subpoena is improper because it seeks information “protected by… deliberative-process privilege, legislative privilege, attorney-client privilege, and work product doctrine.”

Hubbard’s efforts to call Bentley and Davis is seen by legal observers as a last ditch offensive before the scheduled October criminal trial.

 

Feds Successfully Prosecute Dog Fighting Ring

November 13, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Several Alabama residents were among 8 persons sentenced by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for their roles in what was the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history in August 2013. The case was led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The sentences ranged from six months to eight years, which is the longest prison term handed down in a federal dog fighting case to this point.
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Mike Hubbard Re-Elected As Speaker

November 7, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

BIRMINGHAM—Mike Hubbard will be the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives for another term. That is the decision of the House Republican Caucus, which holds a commanding lead in the Alabama House of Representatives.

According to sources in the Thursday, November 6 meeting in Montgomery, the House GOP Caucus voted 59 to 8 with 2 abstentions for Hubbard to continue as the Speaker of the House. Representative Mike Hubbard from Auburn was challenged for the powerful role of Speaker by Representative Jim Carns from Vestavia.

Carns had said that he would challenge Hubbard for Speaker if Mike Hubbard was indicted in the ongoing Lee County probe into public corruption. That is exactly what happened on Monday, October 23.  Speaker Hubbard was indicted on 23 counts of unethical behavior.  While some of the counts stem from Mike Hubbard’s tenure as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, most occurred during Hubbard’s past term as the Speaker of the House. Acting Attorney General Van Davis (R from Pell City) is alleging that Mike Hubbard used his position as Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives to make money and grow his companies.

Speaker Hubbard dismisses the charges against him as, “Political persecution.”

Some pundits have suggested that it would bring unnecessary negative publicity for the State, for the Alabama Republican Party and for the Alabama Republican Caucus for the sitting Republican Speaker to actually stand trial and that it would be better for everybody if Mike stepped down as Speaker and let somebody else handle the Speaker’s duties while Hubbard focused on his legal difficulties.

None of that apparently mattered to Republican legislators who just cruised to re-election. Mike is credited with running the 2010 campaign which gave the Republican Party control of both Houses of the Alabama Legislature for the first time in over 126 years.  Despite Hubbard indictments, the guilty plea of former Representative Greg Wren (R from Montgomery), and the perjury trial of Representative Barry Moore (R from Enterprise); Alabama voters gave the GOP an even bigger majority on Tuesday, November 4.

Tommy Hanes defeated Rep. John Robinson (D) for House District 23.  Phillip Pettus defeated Rep. Greg Burdine (D) for House District 1. Bob Fincher won the open seat of the retiring Rep. Richard Laird (I).  Kyle South defeated Rep. Daniel Bowman (D) in House District 16.  Chris Sells of Greenville defeated incumbent Charles Newton in the Republican Primary and then defeated Walton Hickman (D) in the General Election to win House District 90.  Charles Newton was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party in February.  Reed Ingram of Montgomery was elected to fill the House District 75 seat that Greg Wren (R) vacated when he plead guilty in April.

The GOP pickups mean that the Republican Super Majority will have 72 seats to just 33 for Democrats.  This will mean that the House Republicans should be able to cloture (shut off debate) any filibuster by the hopelessly out-manned House Democrats at will.

Speaker Hubbard said on Facebook afterwards, “Great day. We now have 72 Republicans sworn in to office. Alabama is definitely moving forward with a conservative agenda.”

The Alabama Senate Republicans met on Wednesday and voted for Senator Del Marsh (R from Anniston) to get four more years as the Senate President Pro Tem.  Senator J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner (R from Vestavia) gave up his role as Senate Majority Leader to focus more time on his role as Chair of the powerful Senate Rules Committee.  Sen. Greg Reed (R from Jasper) will be the new majority leader.

In the Alabama Senate the Republicans appear to have added three new Senators to their Super Majority.  The Senate will be composed of 26 Republicans, 8 Democrats, and one Independent.

The decisions made this week will be formalized in January during the legislative organizational session.

 

Luther Strange Being Attacked By Rogers and Opponent

October 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, October 22, Congressman Mike Rogers (R from Saks) appeared to attack Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) for doing his job by appointing Acting Attorney General Van Davis (R from Pell City) to lead the investigation into alleged corruption by Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn).  On Monday, that investigation led to 23 indictments for ethics violations by the embattled Speaker.
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Hubbard Says He Never Misused Office

October 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, October 22, the Speaker of the Alabama Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) released a letter to the people of Lee County defending his record, attacking prosecutors, and vowing to vigorously fight what he called, “false charges.”

The embattled Speaker wrote:

“Dear Friends: By now, you may have heard about the accusations that have been made against me. I will vigorously fight these false charges through the justice system and am confident that I will prevail. It is important for you to know that I have never misused my office or abused your trust. I consider it a privilege and sacred duty to represent you in the Legislature and to rise through the ranks of leadership where I am able to make significant changes – not for my benefit – but for the benefit of our community and state has been an honor.”

Ironically, Rep. Hubbard said that strength new State ethics laws passed almost immediately after he was elected Speaker is what he did that, “Angered many powerful, entrenched interests.”

Hubbard said that he has, “Been the target of a political witch hunt,” led by, “A rogue prosecutor,” who has, “Abused his power.”  Hubbard said that Matt Hart (while never naming him) did the same thing to former Attorney General Troy King (R).

Hubbard suggests that Hart used leaks and rumors to ultimately defeat Troy King.  In Hubbard’s case that strategy failed, “So this prosecutor has gone a step further by bringing charges against me.”

Speaker Hubbard said that the silver lining is that previously he, “Could not defend myself against innuendo and leaks but now, I can…and I will.”

Rep. Hubbard wrote, “The basis for these false accusations is the business I built before ever seeking or holding an elected office. Auburn Network, Inc.”

Hubbard claimed, “From the very beginning, I took great pains to separate my personal business from my public service. I have routinely consulted with the Alabama Ethics Commission staff to make certain that I adhered to all ethics laws, and I have followed their advice.  I have consistently gone above and beyond what was legally necessary, which has been well documented. I have never violated the public’s trust – your trust – and I never will. I wish I could say the same thing about the rogue prosecutor leading this assault on me.”

Hubbard said that he, “Will fight these charges with everything I have,” and called the prosecution an abuse of power.  Hubbard concluded by asking for resident’s votes on November 4th and for their prayers.

On Monday, October 17 Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) was indicted on twenty three counts for alleged misconduct that occurred in his roles as both Speaker of the House and prior to that as the Chairman of the Republican Party.

Speaker Hubbard held a post indictment pep rally on Tuesday following the indictments in which Hubbard and his allies, including Congressman Mike Rogers (R from Saks) attacked the Grand Jury process as well as the motivation of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R).

Williams and Farley Skip Jeffco Delegation Meeting to Attend Mike Hubbard Pep Rally

October 22, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Members of the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation were in Birmingham meeting with State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. to discuss a wide variety of health issues facing the state, including Ebola readiness and the enterovirus threat.  The meeting was chaired by State Representative Pau DeMarco (R from Homewood).

Two legislators however had more pressing concerns.

According to witnesses at the event, both state Representatives Allen Farley (R from McCalla) and Jack Williams (R from Vestavia) were in Auburn at a pep rally to show their support for indicted Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) rather than being briefed on efforts to reform Alabama’s troubled Medicaid system or how the state plans to deal with possible Ebola cases, during the flu season.

Everyone who is accused of a crime, even 23 crimes, is guaranteed their day in court and are presumed to be innocent until a jury of 12 of their peers says otherwise; but the Speaker of the House is the public face of the state legislature.  Everyone expects Mike Hubbard to defeat his outclassed Democratic opponent to retain his House seat.  Hubbard defense attorney, Mark White, said that Representative Hubbard will not resign his seat in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Nobody ever expected Mike Hubbard to give up his seat in the House; but his term as Speaker of the House expires in January.  No one REALLY expects that the people of Alabama are going to give control of the House of Representatives back to the troubled Alabama Democratic Party.  Democrats are not running a coordinated statewide campaign and are instead appealing to their local voters that they are better than their individual Republican opponent.

The next Speaker of the House will be a Republican, barring the most shocking political comeback by Alabama Democrats anyone has ever imagined.  What the House GOP Caucus has to decide is just who do they want as the most powerful member of the Alabama House of Representatives.  Four years ago Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) and members of the Jefferson County House delegation (with the exception of Jack Williams) supported Representative Paul DeMarco (R) for the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.  If the House GOP Caucus had listened to the wise counsel of their own GOP Governor, who served with Mike in the House so knew how he operated, it is very likely that some of the mistakes of the last four years would not have occurred and we all would have been spared the spectacle of our State’s most prominent legislator being handcuffed like some petty hooligan.

Most modern Presidents put their business interests in a blind trust while they are in office.  If Mike Hubbard had shown that same level of discretion and wasn’t actively courting contracts for his half dozen businesses, while running the day to day business of the Alabama legislature, while raising money for a half a dozen political action committees (PACs); then the majority of the members of a secret grand jury from his home county, veteran state prosecutors, and investigative journalists would not today believe that he committed lapses in judgment that broke Alabama criminal laws.

Representative Jim Carns, a Republican member of the Jefferson County House Delegation has publicly announced that he is challenging Hubbard for the role of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives in the next quadrennium. 

Speaker Hubbard has declared his innocence on all charges and has denounced the indictments as, ‘Politics at its worst.’  His trial is going to be the biggest court room spectacle since the gambling corruption case where three people went to prison for admitting they were trying to bribe members of the Alabama Senate; while all the indicted Senators themselves and VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor walked away on ‘Not Guilty’ verdicts.

There will likely be over 60 Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives after this election.  Carns or any of the other 60 GOP legislators would be less of a spectacle serving as Speaker of the House during this highly public trial…….and the potential appeals (Hubbard’s attorneys are already challenging the legality of the whole grand jury process) that could drag this thing out well beyond a year.  Alabama’s legislators perhaps should think of the dignity of their offices and wait to see the evidence in this case (from both sides) before making a decision on whether or not Mike Hubbard deserves a second term as Speaker or before allowing themselves to be used as props in a political rally by an individual’s criminal defense lawyers.

Farley and Williams perhaps should have instead attended the previously scheduled meeting to deal with the state’s health issues.

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