By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Attorney General, Luther Strange, sent a statewide press release officially announcing his run for the US Senate. The announcement was hardly a surprise in political circles, as Strange has made his desire to return to the hallowed ground of DC, and the Georgetown cocktail circuit no secret. Many agree he is a senator right out of central casting. But what was a surprise, was the identity of the individual who sent the press statement, who is also listed as the media contact for Strange’s Senate bid.
That man is Michael Joffrion.
If his name rings a bell or sets-off multiple alarms, it’s because of his close association with convicted felon, former House Speaker, Mike Hubbard. It appears Joffrion has found a new home: Big Luther’s house.
In the press announcement Strange said, “I look forward to making my case to the people of Alabama in the months to come as to why they can trust me to keep protecting and fighting for our conservative values.”
Strange oversees one of the finest white-collar crime units in State history. These “crime-busters,” led by Matt Hart, investigated, indicted and successfully convicted Hubbard on 12 felony counts of public corruption.
When Hubbard realized he was under investigation by Hart’s Special Prosecution Unit, he distanced himself from a number of entities including Network PAC, which was his personal political action committee used to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into various political campaigns and then back into his own business. For a full report, click here.
In September 2013, before closing Network PAC, Hubbard dumped money into other campaigns and to political cronies such as Dax R. Swatek, David Azbell, Tim Howe and John C.M. Ross. They have since parted ways, with Azbell, who continues to receive checks from the Republican caucus. Hubbard also gave $7000 to Joffrion before shuttering Network PAC on September 3, 2013.
In 2010, when Hubbard was “Storming the State House” and funneling money from the Alabama Republican Party into his businesses, Joffrion served as the Party’s Political Director.
He also made an appearance in the damaging emails released during the Hubbard investigation that revealed Hubbard used Majority Strategies to fuel money from ALGOP then launder it back to his company, Craftmaster Printers. In an email from Majority Strategies, Joffrion is told, “Per Mike, we’re printing at Craftmaster and just passing the actual charges on to you all (GOP).”
Joffrion, in June 2013, told Yellowhammer News, “Speaker Hubbard and [then-ALGOP Executive Director] John Ross put a lot of faith in me to bring a target, state-like, quality political department to Alabama. At the ALGOP, I learned how to manage a staff, identify and target swing voter universes, sell a Victory program to stakeholders and how to budget for a department.” He also said, “My time at the ALGOP was the perfect environment to learn in, because of the management style of John Ross and the quality staffers I had under me.”
In closing Strange says, “My focus, regardless of my future, over the coming weeks will be to rally support for and vigorously defend my friend and fellow Alabamian for the sake of the United States, our system of justice and for conservative, constitutional application of federal law. There will be a time to discuss my campaign after he is confirmed.”
By hiring an ally of Hubbard’s, it would appear politics does make for very strange bedfellows.