By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The investigation into Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) will most likely resume, now that Mike Hubbard has been found guilty of 12 felony counts of public corruption, many dealing with his so-called “consulting clients.”
After the Alabama Political Reporter published that Williams had retained 43 consulting clients after taking office in 2010, a criminal investigation was launched by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in 2016.
Williams has denied any wrong doing and has gone so far as to personally attacked this reporter in the press claiming, “Britt has attacked my law firm and its clients and insinuated I have used my position as a senator for private gain.”
He also has claimed, “A full inquiry by the Senator at all levels of government and law enforcement, has revealed no evidence of any investigation, whatsoever.”
When APR asked ALEA about Williams’ statements, ALEA spokesperson Anna Morris said, “Consistent with Agency policy, ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation does not discuss possible criminal investigations or special inquiries.” She also noted that she was unaware if Williams had made an inquiry or not. “I am not aware if he has or has not contacted our office.”
Others at ALEA say Williams never contacted the agency and his claims of not being under investigation are false.
Since taking office, Williams has built a client base which includes:
3 Loan and/or Finance Companies worth between $1,000 – $10,000
7 Banks worth between $10,000 – $25,000
15 Professional worth between $100,000 – $150,000
3 Municipal worth between $10,000 – $25,000
15 MISCELLANEOUS worth between $25,000 – $50,000
Since becoming a Senator, Williams has raked-in contracts which, at a minimum, could total $146,000 to a maximum $265,000 per year, according to his report.
The investigation into Williams’ contracts was halted after the firing of ALEA chief Spencer Collier. However, the Attorney General’s Office seems poised to pursue the Williams investigation.
A loophole in ethics reporting has allowed lawyers to hide consulting clients under their law practice, in similar fashion as Hubbard did with American Pharmacy Inc., (APCI), Edgenuity, and CV Holdings DBA, Capitol Cups. Hubbard was found guilty under the ethics code that forbids public officials from receiving things of value from lobbyists, their subordinates or a principal of a company that employs lobbyists.
After Hubbard was found guilty, Williams took to Facebook to announce his prayer for Hubbard and his family. He also took the occasion to thank certain reporters who had covered the trial, while taking potshots at “social media trolls” and “some members of the press [who] relinquished any last vestiges of objectivity by inserting themselves and their biases into every line of their ‘reporting’.”
Williams shares the same proclivity as Hubbard, by casting stones at those with who report on his activities; a strategy that didn’t work so well for Hubbard.
The investigation into Williams’ consulting contracts is ongoing, with much of the work completed, according to those with knowledge of the inquiry.