By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Speaker of the Alabama House, Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), says he is against gambling. In fact, he says he has always been against it, according to statements he made to Opelika-Auburn News, published Sunday, June 21. Hubbard, is quoted in the OA. News:
“I’ve not changed my stance; I’ve always been anti-gambling…I’ve always been opposed to it.” Hubbard further stated, “My first vote in the legislature when I was elected was against the lottery. I don’t think that it’s a good thing period.”
Hubbard is currently under indictment for 23 felony counts of public corruption.
In Counts 1 through 4, he is accused of using his office as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party to obtain over one million dollars in personal gain for himself, Craftmaster or the Auburn Network. Hubbard also used his position as head of the ALGOP to send money to Majority Strategies and then they sub-contracted back to Hubbard’s business interest Craftmaster Printers.
During his time as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Hubbard also solicited hundreds of thousands from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, (PCI), who operate gambling casinos in Alabama and Florida.
An investigation conducted by the Republican State Leadership Conference, (RSLC) found, “It would appear, then, to an outside observer, that Hubbard was raising money for RSLC that was either politically toxic or in excess of Alabama contribution limits, and then channeling that money through RSLC back to himself in order to get around the governing Alabama campaign finance laws.”
The report makes clear, that the investigating attorneys believed that the actions taken by Hubbard and the RSLC, “implicate violations of two sections of the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act: 1) making a contribution in the name of another and, 2) violating the PAC-to-PAC transfer law.”
The report focuses heavily on the transfer of funds from the Poarch Creek Indians’ (PCI) casino operation to fund the Republican takeover of the Alabama State House.
The Alabama Political Reporter was the first to break this story, that then ALGOP Finance Chairman, Sen. Del Marsh, was the man who approached the Poarch Creek Indians for campaign contributions in 2010. When first reported, Marsh and Hubbard denied that the request was ever made. But, after confirmation from Robbie McGee of PCI confirmed the request from Marsh, a slow acknowledgement was made by Marsh. Former Lt. Gov. turned lobbyist is also mentioned in the report as a lobbyist for the Tribe, and contributor along with the PCI.
The report concludes that the revelation of “toxic” money from the gaming industry would have a devastating effect on the State’s Republican Party.
It is widely believed that Hubbard narrowly escaped being charged for these actions because the statute of limitation had run it course.
While Hubbard says he is against gambling, he still supports a measure that would give the PCI a monopoly of gaming in the State. During the 2015 Legislative Session, Hubbard proposed that the PCI be granted exclusive rights over gambling in exchange for a $250 million loan. The measure failed, but Hubbard tells the OA News that it is still a viable option.
Speculation surrounding Hubbard’s proposal suggests that he had made some type of arrangement with the PCI, in which he would be financially compensated, or his criminal defense fees would absorbed by the Tribe.
Hubbard said that his reasoning behind giving the Tribe a monopoly over gambling, is because it is unfair for them to not pay taxes on their gaming profits.
Hubbard continues to voice opposition to a plan developed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), which would allow gaming at Alabama’s four dog tracts, as well as the three casinos operated by the PCI.