By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In a 2012 report by this publication, Robert McGhee, a member of the Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Council, confirmed that in 2010 Sen. Del Marsh, finance chair of the Alabama Republican Party, solicited at least $350,000 from his tribe. Of that amount, $200,000 appears to be the total budget the ALGOP allocated for State Senate races.
Marsh told McGhee that the money would be used to finance State Senate races. The Poarch Creek Indian Tribe (PCI) donated the $350,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), and the RSLC funneled the funds back to PACs controlled by then Chairman of the ALGOP Rep. Mike Hubbard.
Recently, a media firestorm has erupted around the publication of a leaked 2011 memo from the RSLC, concerning the “improper” money funneling scheme in 2010. But, who were the Senate candidates who received these “Toxic” funds that Marsh solicited and Hubbard controlled?
A careful investigation of State FCPA reports show that a little over $200,000 of the money laundered by Hubbard and Marsh helped propel the ALGOP candidates to victory in the Alabama Senate.
In 2012, the Alabama Political Reporter not only revealed that Marsh—on orders from Hubbard—personally solicited campaign contributions from the PCI, but also revealed which ALGOP candidates received the laundered PCI money.
In light of the research conducted by the Alabama Political Reporter, confidence is high that the identities of the individual candidates can be accurately established.
October 10, 2010 the RSLC received a $250,000 check from the PCI.
On October 14, 2010, the RSLC’s Alabama PAC sent a check for $200,000 to the Alabama Republican Party.
From that date – October 14, 2010 – until the end of the 2010 campaign, the Alabama GOP contributed almost $200,100.00 to 13 Alabama GOP State Senate candidates.
From the date that the RSLC contributed $200,000 to the Alabama GOP – immediately after receiving $250,000 from the PCI – the total amount budgeted and spent by the Hubbard-controlled party on Alabama Republican State Senate campaigns matched – by 99.95 percent – the amount of money the Alabama GOP received from the RSLC.
October 21, 2010, the other $50,000 of the PCI’s contribution to the RSLC was received by the Hubbard-controlled 136 Years PAC.
Alabama Secretary of State records indicate that after receiving the $50,000, the 136 Years PAC immediately spent approximately $49,000 –almost the exact amount contributed – with two companies: SRM Media, incorporated by longtime Hubbard ally Tim Howe (and a partner in Hubbard’s favored lobbying firm, Swatek Azbell Howe & Ross) and Hubbard’s own company, Craftmaster Printing. (10-day report, annual report)
The following is a complete list of contribution made by the Alabama Republican Party to Alabama Republican state senate candidates after the RSLC sent its check for $200,000 to the party on October 14, 2010:
October 20, 2010:
Gerald Allen – $500 See ARP 10-day Report, Page 7
Gerald Allen – $2500 See ARP 10-day Report, Page 7
Shadrack McGill – $9900 See 10-day Report, Page 30
Shadrack McGill – $5000 See 10-day Report, Page 30
Shadrack McGill – $2500 See 10-day Report, Page 30
Shadrack McGill – $500 See 10-day Report, Page 30
Ray Robbins – $5000 See 10-day Report, Page 36
Ray Robbins – $2500 See 10-day Report, Page 36
Bryan Taylor – $5000 See 10-day Report, Page 39
Bryan Taylor – $2500 See 10-day Report, Page 39
Bryan Taylor – $2500 See 10-day Report, Page 39
Bill Holtzclaw – $2500 See 10-day Report, Page 11
Arthur Orr – $1000 10-day Report, Page 35
Tom Whatley – $1000 10-day Report, Page 45
October 22, 2010:
Bryan Taylor – $8700 See 10-day Report, Page 39
October 29, 2010:
Gerald Allen – $2500 End of Year Report, Page 4
Ray Robbins – $2500 End of Year Report, Page 11
Bill Holtzclaw – $5000 End of Year Report, Page 6
Paul Bussman – $5000 End of Year Report, Page11
Gerald Dial – $5000 End of Year Report, Page 3
Paul Sanford – $2500 End of Year Report, Page 13
Clay Scofield – $2500 End of Year Report, Page 13
TOTAL contributions from the Alabama Republican Party to State Senate candidates after receipt of $200,000 from the RSLC: $200,100.
By following the timeline of money flowing from the PCI to the RSLC then to a Hubbard-controlled PAC, the money can be traced to 13 Senate races, of which, 11 won over democratic rivals.
The largest contribution of gaming money appears to have landed in the campaigns of Phil Williams, Shadrack McGill, Bryan Taylor, Gerald Allen, Danny Joyner and Ray Robbins.
It is easy to assume that Whatley, Scofield, Sanford, Dial, Bussman, Orr and Holtzclaw never knew the origins of the “toxic” funds they received because of the small amounts. However, it stretches imagination to believe that those who received large campaign contributions never knew the identity of their true benefactors.
It is also possible that Hubbard and Marsh conspired to lie to their candidates in the same way they intended to lie to the public.
Whatley, Scofield, Sanford, Dial, Bussman, Holtzclaw, Orr, Williams, McGill, Allen and Taylor all won their campaigns. Robbins lost to Democrat Senator Jerry Fielding and Joyner was defeated by Democrat Senator Marc Keahey.
Fielding switched to the Republican Party in 2013 at the urging of Marsh, only to lose his seat in 2014, to veteran Republican lawmaker, Rep. Jim McClendon.
In the case of Williams: This is particularly interesting to note that he unseated incumbent Sen. Larry Means by accusing him of being in the pocket of gaming interests. In October 2010, Means was arrested on corruption charges in a vote-buying scheme commonly referred to as the Alabama Bingo Trial. He was accused of voting for pro-gambling legislation in return for campaign contributions. He was cleared of all charges in two trials in 2011 and 2012. Williams, with the help of Hubbard and Marsh, managed to hide the fact that he was being funded in part by similar gaming interests.
Hubbard has recently denied any knowledge of events surrounding the laundering of PCI money to obscure its origins through the RSLC. However, the Alabama Political Reporter confirmed with the PCI in 2012, that not only had Hubbard known about the scheme, he was the one who approved it. This is now a fact confirmed by the RSLC report as well.
Marsh was the bag man, but it was Hubbard calling the shots.
While the RSLC concluded that Alabama law had most likely been violated by Hubbard and the RSLC, it is unknown if the Special Grand Jury in Lee County, which in investigating Hubbard, will try to prosecute these alleged crimes.
In 2010, Hubbard promised he would be “Ending Corruption in Montgomery” even saying, “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.”
The GOP has said repeatedly that they would clean up the influence of gambling money in State politics. However, when it came to winning control of the State House, Hubbard and Marsh, along with a few highly-financed Senate candidates, seemed to have no trouble using gambling money to win. As long as its true origins were obscured.
While nothing has been proven illegal so far, all of this certainly casts a long shadow over the promises made by Hubbard and the ALGOP.