By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Thirty-seven members to the Alabama House of Representatives, on February 8, asked the Obama Administration to investigate Attorney General Luther Strange, in reference to his actions in the indictment of Speaker Mike Hubbard on 23 felony counts of public corruption.
US Attorney for the Middle District, George Beck, told lawmakers if they believe General Strange has committed a crime, or was incompetent, they should have the courage to begin impeachment proceedings.
The act of these few legislators is widely seen as an act to delay Hubbard’s trial, set to begin on March 28, and to further muddy public perception of the case.
Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay) plans to challenge these thirty-seven lawmakers to, put up or shut up. Morrow has asked the Alabama Legislative Reference Service to give him a letter outlining the steps needed to impeach Strange.
During a press conference held by Beck on February 20, he said. “It is somewhat ironic that a largely white, largely Republican, largely conservative group of legislators, have reached out to the Obama Administration to bail out the leader of legal entanglements he finds himself in.
Marrow, like Beck, sees this as an attempt to bail out Hubbard, to the detriment of the citizens of the State, but he also sees it as a major distraction: “A year ago I called on Speaker Hubbard to step down from his leadership position because I believed his legal trouble would be a major distraction. This letter is an example of what I meant back then.”
Marrow is the only Democrat to co-sponsor a bill by Rep. Allen Treadaway (R-Birmingham), which would, “automatically suspend a member of the Legislature who holds a leadership position from serving in that leadership position if the member is indicted for a crime that is a felony.”
“This is the reason I signed Treadaway’s bill,” said Morrow. “You can’t be Speaker or you can’t be in a position of leadership and have these legal issues of this magnitude hanging over you and function and be addressing the tough issues that our State needs to be addressing.”
Morrow say the lawmakers that signed the letter to Obama Justice Department should show the courage of their conviction, if they really believed what they asked of Beck and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“They said they wanted an investigation in the letter that they signed. The US Attorney has told them it is a state matter. They are state representatives. Now, I’m going to give them the steps they need to follow if they have the courage to do so,” Morrow said. They all acted like they wanted something done so, I say, “Did you just sign a letter or are you willing to have the courage to stand up and fight for your convictions. That, in my opinion, is the huge difference between a leader and a follower.”
Rep. Jack Williams solicited signatures for the letter, but it is believed he was acting under Hubbard orders.
Williams has also sought to pass legalization that would change State ethics laws to favor Hubbard, as well as trying to pass other bills beneficial to Hubbard’s defense. Over Christmas, Williams made calls to raise funds for Hubbard’s legal defense. Sources have said Williams reached out to lobbyists or principals, but that hasn’t been proven.
The signers were:
Jack Williams (signed twice)
Paul W. Lee