By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Republican Party Chairman, Terry Lathan, said the party did the right thing when it audited the books revealing possible improprieties by former ALGOP Chairman former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn).
Chairman Lathan said, “With the announcement of Mike Hubbard’s guilty verdicts on twelve felony charges, the Alabama Republican Party is both deeply disappointed one of our leaders abused the trust placed in him and grateful that the rule of law has prevailed.”
Lathan continued, “In 2011, the Alabama Republican Party made a decision to conduct an internal financial audit. This audit revealed concerns of possible improprieties of former ALGOP Chairman Mike Hubbard. The Party did the right thing in doing so and alerted the proper authorities to the findings.”
Inside sources told the Alabama Political Reporter that in 2010, the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee learned that then Chairman Hubbard was funneling ALGOP dollars through his companies: Craftmaster Printing and the Auburn Network Inc. An angry August 2010 steering committee meeting ensued where a faction led by former Alabama State Senator Bill Armistead wrested control of the books from Chairman Hubbard.
The Alabama Republican Party won every race it thought winnable and then some in the 2010 General Election. Hubbard stepped down as Chairman as the new GOP supermajority voted to raise Hubbard to Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, beating out state Representative Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood). That did not end the bitter back and forth between Hubbard supporters and Hubbard detractors.
The Alabama Republican Executive Committee selected Armistead to succeed him over the Hubbard faction’s preferred candidate, State Representative Jay Love (R-Prattville). Former ALGOP Chairman Hubbard and his good friend, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley retaliated against the Party by taking their donors, including the Governor’s Circle, independent of the Party, where they would control the money rather than it flowing through ALGOP hands. Chairman Armistead and the Party ordered the audit which became public in 2012, and was reported on by media, including the Alabama Political Reporter. This would lead to secret grand juries and eventually indictments. Ultimately, Hubbard was found not guilty for his diversion of ALGOP funds to his own companies; but was found guilty on 12 other charges by the jury in Lee County on Friday, June 10.
Lathan who succeeded Armistead in 2015 said, “Earlier this year, the ALGOP Steering Committee asked Mike Hubbard to step aside as the Speaker of the House due to the distractions of his criminal trial. Without judging his guilt or innocence, we delivered a statement speaking for what we believed was in the best interest of our State, even if it meant being at odds with one of our own elected officials.”
The Alabama Republican Party is desperate now to distance itself from the many who was one of its brightest stars and greatest leaders.
Chairman Lathan said, “We urge our fellow citizens not to heed the cynics who say “they are all the same” or to judge all public servants by the shortcomings of a very few. Like the faithful members of a congregation, we must not abandon our beliefs or blame the institution when a leader goes astray. We must tell the truth about the matter, apply the principles we stand for without favoritism, and maintain the integrity of our values.”
The disgraced former ALGOP Chairman and Speaker of the House will be sentenced in Lee County on July 8. He is out on bail until then and has vowed to appeal the decision.
Lathan concluded, “We lift up the Hubbard family and friends in prayer at this difficult time.”