By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In his most recent filings under the Fair Campaign Practice Act, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard reports giving $17,797.44 to the state in an act of disgorgement.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, disgorgement is “the act of giving up something—such as profits illegally obtained—on demand or by legal compulsion.”
Hubbard’s campaign report for September 1, 2013, shows that he gave the almost $18,000.00 in campaign funds as “Disgorgement per Ala. code 17-5-7(a)(3) per 9/12/13 letter.”
The letter referred to in Hubbard’s campaign filing was not attached to the other documents provided at the Secretary of State’s website, a request has been made for the letter.
However, a review of Hubbard’s August FCPA filings show that in that month Hubbard made two transfers to from his Network PAC to his personal campaign account, Friends of Mike Hubbard. On 8/07/13 he transferred $15,000.00 and on 8/30/13 he transferred $2,797.44 from his PAC to his personal campaign account totaling $17,797.44. This is the exact amount Hubbard expensed back to the state.
On September 3, 2013, Hubbard closed the political action committee Network PAC that he and his wife Susan opened in 2002. (Statement of Dissolution) The transfers were among the Hubbard’s last acts before shuttering of his political actions committee, Network PAC.
Why did Hubbard decide to give the money to the state?
Disgorgement carries with it the idea that the money involved has the taint of an unethical and/or illegal enrichment.
What is it about the money from Network PAC that caused such actions?
Recently, several attorneys speculated that Hubbard’s closing of Network PAC was a political calculation to separate the PAC should any legal proceeding that might be on going against the beleaguered Speaker.
However, the idea of returning money that has been somehow tainted would be a move a criminal defense attorney would recommend. The first being a political strategy the latter being a legal one.
They also point out that this could be like the bank robber who tries to return the loot after the heist. Returning the money doesn’t remove the underlying crime.
While all this is speculation, there has been a series of unusual moves made by Hubbard in recent weeks.
Giving money to the state as a remedy for some kind of wrongdoing is just the latest.
When Hubbard closed Network PAC not only did he transfer funds to his personal account he also gave campaign contributions in the amount of $5000.00 each to Ken Johnson, Jim Patterson, Wayne Johnson, Wes Long, Beck Nordgren, Kurt Wallace and Kay Ivey. He also gave $1000.00 to both Tracy Ledbetter and Charles Hines.
That Hubbard has expense $17,797.44 to the state in an act of disgorgement coupled with the fact that his campaign website makes it clear that he is not accepting campaign contributions at this time raises some very interesting questions.
The last time Hubbard transferred money from Network PAC to Friends of Mike Hubbard was in November, 30, 2010, when he moved $145,000.00 from the PAC to his personal campaign account.
Over the years, millions of dollars have flowed in and out of Network PAC with money passing into the campaigns of almost every sitting republican legislator.
An email was sent to Hubbard’s office requesting clarification concerning his disgorgement. We also asked to be provided a copy of the letter that is mentioned in his recent fillings. Hubbard nor his staff returned our request for information.