By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—According to the latest FPCA reports, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, paid his company Auburn Network $131, 281.00, on the very day he was arrested by the State on 23 counts of public corruption.
According to Hubbard’s indictment, Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker established a bond schedule of $5,000 for each of Hubbard’s first ten counts and $3,000 each for the final 13 counts, for a total bond of $89,000.
Multiple media outlets reported Hubbard made his way to the Lee County Justice Center on Friday, October 17, to “file papers” related to his bond, in an effort lessen the time he would spend at the facility when he was eventually arrested. Many legal experts consulted agreed this likely involved depositing cash or providing the paperwork necessary to put one or more deeds on file to later be used for the bond amount.
On the day he was arrested Hubbard’s campaign made a single $131,281 payment to Auburn Network, the company widely reported to be 100 percent owned by Hubbard. That same day, October 20, Hubbard turned himself in to Lee County authorities.
Could this campaign expenditure been the money Hubbard’s used to pay his bail?
Hubbard has repeatedly over the course of the last year used his campaign funds to pay for his criminal defense attorneys contrary to the stated opinion of the State’s Attorney General’s ruling.
In June 2000, then Attorney General Bill Pryor issued an opinion aimed at clarifying the matter of whether campaign donors could be used for a legal defense.
In his opinion, Pryor states, “Excess campaign funds may be used by an incumbent office holder to pay legal fees incurred pursuant to the defense of a criminal indictment if the indictment is related to the performance of the duties of the office held.”
Simply put, legal expenses can be paid from campaign contributions if:
1) It is “pursuant to a criminal indictment,” and
2) “the indictment is related to the performance of the duties of the office held.”
Hubbard has been paying his attorney’s from his campaign account long before his arrest and indictments on Monday, October, 20, 2014. It would also be difficult to imagine that receiving “things of value,” from lobbyists, associates or their principals would fall under the category of “related to the performance of the duties of the office held.”
According to the latest files, Hubbard also paid another of his business interests Craftmasters Printers, Inc., $17,673.70. Hubbard received $29,500.00 in donations and spent $176,308.00 total for the period.