By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Series: Emails on Hubbard’s Road to Perdition, Article 2
The emails below were released by the State on February 2015, in response to Hubbard’s demand for a more defined statement of facts concerning his indictments.
MONTGOMERY—Emails and court records show Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) sought to pass legislation to benefit American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc. (APCI), a company that paid him almost one hundred thousand dollars (from August 2012 to December 2013) to acquire the exclusive rights to the State’s Medicaid Pharmaceutical Benefit Management system, also know as a PBM.
Among his indictments on 23 felony counts of public corruption, it shows that Hubbard shepherded, approved and voted for legislation that uniquely benefited Auburn Network’s Client, APCI.
Under Hubbard’s direction 23 words were added to the Medicaid portion of the General Fund Budget that would give APCI a monopoly over the $20,000,000 annual Medicaid prescription drug business.
According to the court filings, “during 2012 and 2013, APCI engaged in efforts to influence the Alabama Legislature and affect legislation related to the implementation of a PBM by Medicaid. Hubbard was paid $5,000.00 per month (approximately $95,000.00 total from August 2012 to December 2013) to work as a “consultant.” During this period he worked with lobbyist Ferrell Patrick, and later with Rep. Greg Wren to write and pass the legislation.
In February 2013, APCI provided language to Wren that would give APCI a monopoly over the State’s Medicaid PBM.
“Relevant leadership of the Alabama House of Representatives, including Hubbard and his staff, attended some of those meetings. After attending such meetings, Hubbard endorsed the language…,” according to the State’s evidence.
The State’s evidence shows “Hubbard directed his staff to add the language to Medicaid’s section of the General Fund Budget. In fact, Hubbard’s Chief Legal Advisor, Jason Isbell, e-mailed the APCI language to Norris Green, the head of the Legislative Fiscal Office, for inclusion in the General Fund Budget Bill.”
Wren pleaded guilty to an ethics violation in 2015, and resigned the legislature as a condition of his plea agreement. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay $24,000 for his involvement in the APCI affair.
According to Wren’s plea agreement, “Among the meetings Wren participated in while attempting to obtain legislative support for the Co-op Exclusive Language were meetings attended by the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.”
Altogether it states, “These meetings included, variously, other legislators, legislative staff, members of the Speaker’s staff: and lobbyists affiliated with Pharm Co-op. After meeting with Wren and others, and reviewing the Co-op Exclusive Language, the Speaker of the House endorsed the Co-op Exclusive Language and directed staff to add it to Medicaid’s section of the General Fund Budget. The Co-op Exclusive Language became a part of the House of Representatives substitute version of the General Fund Budget. The substitute version was voted on and approved by the House of Representatives on April 23, 2013.”
Hubbard never publicly disclosed his financial ties to APCI, the company that stood to profit from Medicaid provisions of the budget. Nor did Hubbard declare a conflict of interest or abstain from taking official action on the bill.
After the passage of the bill that would give APCI a monopoly over Medicaid prescriptions, APCI’s CEO Tim Hamrick wrote Hubbard saying, “Mr. Speaker, by adding the necessary language to the 2014 General Fund Budget, you placed a great deal of faith in trust in us. For that, our industry and the people we serve are forever grateful. I pledge to you that we will not let you down.”
APCI has remained a consistent donor for Hubbard and his acolytes, despite the legal troubles surrounding him.
Those with knowledge of the events surrounding the passing of the legislation to benefit Hubbard’s client APCI include, then State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson, Ferrell Patrick, a lobbyist affiliated with APCI, Bill Eley, who served as Director of Legislative Affairs for APCI, then Hubbard’s Chief of Staff Josh Blades, also former Director of the Legislative Fiscal Office, Norris Green, and Rep. Steve Clouse, who served as acting Chair of the House Ways and Means General Fund committee during that passage of the bill.
Hubbard’s contract with APCI states he will offer “consultation and representation,” for the company, emails, court documents point to the fact that he was paid nearly $100,000 for a few months work to deliver the States multi-million dollar prescription benefits plan to his client.