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Hubbard Hauls in Millions: Opinion

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt

Alabama Political Reporter

As Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard made around $733,848.88 from “consulting contracts,” according to figures supplied by the Attorney General’s Office. This is just a portion of the $2,346,292.88 that Hubbard has fueled to himself, and to his business interests since 2010.

Of course, this does not include his salary as Speaker, his income from his radio holdings, or his paycheck, and State-provided insurance his wife receives from Auburn University. Just in consulting contracts alone, Hubbard was making around 18 times the average income of an Alabama family. Yet, with all of this money flowing into his bank account, Hubbard still cried poverty to investment banker Will Brooke, former Gov. Bob Riley, and others.

As Speaker, Hubbard was paid this money to influence Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, and other State officials, contrary to State law. He was also paid to influence legislators. He even wrote and voted on legislation that would give his lobbying clients millions in State and Federal tax dollars, as was the case with APCI (according to his indictments).

To say that Hubbard has ruled over an orgy of greed and corruption is not hyperbole, because his paydays bear witness to it.

Hubbard wants his fellow House members, the press, and any potential jurors to believe that this was all legitimate “business as usual,” for a citizen law-maker.

Would any reasonable person believe that Hubbard would be paid such great sums of money if he were not the Speaker of the House?

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Are there any other legislators receiving these astronomical payments from those with business before the State government?

Real citizen lawmakers would be outraged at such payments, even if they were legal, but it was Hubbard, and his fellow Republicans that made these practices completely illegal. Of course, Hubbard ironically said after their passage, “What were we thinking?” 

Honest, intelligent voters should be asking “What are they thinking?” to allow Hubbard to remain Speaker. 

And still, no outrage has been heard from the Republicans, and only murmurs can be heard among the Democrats.

Hubbard’s strategy at this juncture of his criminal case is to delay, deflect, and distract. Hubbard wants to remain Speaker as long as possible, so he can keep raising money for his defense. He wants to delay the trial with the hope that something will break his way. His defense team keeps spinning various reasons the charges against him should be dismissed, and they are constantly trying to change the subject from Hubbard’s guilt or innocence to what others may have done.

But, look at the money he hauled in; look at the contracts; look at how he used his influence to enrich himself. No public official in State history has ever been charged for making this much money from his public office. Hubbard has acted with a ravenous lust for money, and instead of outrage, there is abject silence. 

Hubbard’s attorney, J. Mark White doesn’t want us looking at the big dollars Hubbard was paid for official acts. No, he wants us to focus on a conspiracy of prosecutorial misconduct, and an improperly impaneled Grand Jury. White is not arguing Hubbard’s innocence, he is trying to buy Hubbard a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, with false information and far-fetched, irrelevant arguments.

White spins brazen lies wrapped in innuendo, and “lawyerspeak” to confuse and seduce the public. But, the fact remains, 18 citizens of Lee County, after reviewing thousand of pages of documents, and hearing from around 150 witnesses, found that Hubbard should be arrested, and tried on 23 felony counts of public corruption.

Hubbard’s attorneys never want to face a jury because 12 average citizens will never believe that he received millions of dollars just for being a good public servant. He may have cowed and bedazzled members of the House of Representatives with his lies, but it seems doubtful he will succeed in so easily conning a jury of his peers. 

So, Team Hubbard will continue to spin a web of deception, parading it around like it’s evidence.

At the recent hearing before trial Judge Jacob Walker III on June 24, Team Hubbard presented subpoenaed information from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), which they claims shows that Attorney General Luther Strange sought job opportunities for friends and family. These claims were made to the media by Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney. White intimated that Strange had done the same things as Hubbard. 

White, in an interview with Jennifer Horton of WASF News is quoted as saying, “The [subpoena] to the Business Council of Alabama was looking for documents related to the Attorney General and people on his behalf, seeking introductions for obtaining employment for the Attorney General and his family,” White said. “As you know, the Speaker is charged with those kind of communications with the Business Council, and we believe the Speaker’s conduct is totally legal.”

Of course, Hubbard is not charged with seeking employment for his friends and family, he is charged with seeking and receiving hundreds of thousand dollars for lobbying  in violation of State laws, that he, himself championed, and voted for. 

However, some in the media report White’s words as fact without ever seeing documents or asking the most basic follow-up questions, as Horton admitted in her report. “WSFA has not been granted copies of the subpoenas to learn which documents were obtained by the defense, despite a request to Circuit Clerk’s office and through the state’s online court records, but we’ve been assured the documents are public record.”

Who assured WSFA? White? Hubbard? 

Also, Sara Falligant, reporting for Opelika-Auburn News stated, “The subpoena targeted documents related to Attorney General Luther Strange and others acting on the AG’s behalf seeking consideration in obtaining employment for friends and relatives. Hubbard has been accused of similar activity.”

Where is the OA News getting its information? Where is the proof? 

Falligant quotes White as saying,“It is the same contact with the same people at the same time as the speaker is charged with in the indictment.” 

Again, one thing is not like the other, but Falligant quotes it as fact.

Here, White is dishing dirt to smear the Attorney General, but the circumstances are totally different. The content of the document White refers to from BCA, is not a public record anywhere that we can find. 

White is a spinmeister, who is more adept at manipulating the media than actually trying a case in court. Even a practiced fabulist like White cannot argue away that his client took millions while serving in his official capacity as Chairman of the ALGOP and Speaker of the House.

There should be outrage, but the Governor, the ALGOP, the House, and the Senate have remained fearfully silent.

It’s pathetic…sad, really.

 

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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