By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In 2010, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) gave attorney general candidate Luther Strange $50,000 to win. In 2014, running as an incumbent, the organization only contributed $5,000 to his reelection.
There is one significant event that occurred at the Attorney General’s office between 2010 and 2014 that could have changed the relationship been BCA and Strange, and that was the investigation of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.
Billy Canary, Chairman of BCA, is named in Count 22 of the 23 indictments against Hubbard. The indictment states that Hubbard received assistance with obtaining new clients for Auburn Network from Canary, for which Hubbard is charged with a felony violation of 36-25-5.1(a) of the Code of Alabama.
Count 16 of the Hubbard indictments also names BCA board member Will Brooke, saying that Hubbard received $150,000 from Brooke, which is a felony violation of Section 36-25-5.1(a) of the Code of Alabama.
For now, Acting Attorney General in the Hubbard investigation has said that Canary and Brooke, as well as others named in the indictments, are material witnesses. Is that alone enough to cause a 90 percent drop in funding for Strange’s reelection offerings?
In his reelection bid, Strange was challenged by Democrat Rep. Joe Hubbard, who amassed a huge war chest of just under $2 million. However, BCA did not show the same financial enthusiasm to reelect their man from 2010.
This was not the case with other incumbents who faced less formidable foes.
Hubbard, who faced scant opposition, received $115,500 from BCA, while Sen. Del Marsh received $116,000. Gov. Bentley only received $105,000 from the organization, but that was $100,000 more than Strange.
In fact, BCA gave several democrats more cash than the once favored Attorney General, with Craig Ford, Napoleon Bracy, James Buskey, Rod Scott and Roger Bedford each receiving $6000 from the business powerhouse.
As is often heard in a court of law, a preponderance of the evidence may just point to a fractured relationship between Strange and the State’s leading business alliance. However, Strange was not abandoned by other big players in the State, just the BCA.