By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
State Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, 60, who earlier this year stepped down as House majority leader, has pleaded guilty to devising a scheme to commit mail fraud related to his campaign account, according to the United States attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
As a result of pleading guilty to a felony, Hammon was automatically removed from his House seat.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hammon used campaign money to pay his own personal expenses. Hammon was writing checks from his campaign committee account and depositing them into his personal account. He later used the funds to pay for personal expenses, which is prohibited by campaign finance rules.
“Self-dealing by elected officials erodes society’s confidence in its governmental institutions,” said United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. “Self-dealing is precisely what occurred here. Those who donated to Representative Hammon’s campaign expected that the campaign would use those resources lawfully and to foster an informative public debate.”
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson will sentence Hammon, who faces up to 20 years in prison in addition to fines, in the coming months.
“Representative Hammon placed those funds into his own personal piggy bank,” Franklin said. “I am proud of my office’s efforts to root out this corruption and I am most grateful for the tireless work of the United States Postal Inspection Service, which investigated this case. I hope that this prosecution will, in some small way, restore Alabamians’ trust in their state legislature.”
Hammon stepped down from his post as House majority leader in February. The decision came just a week after the House Republican Caucus held a vote of confidence to determine whether he would continue as the leader of the Republican Caucus. Hammon survived the vote of confidence by just one vote.
The vote, which was held at a Republican caucus meeting, was said to be related to an investigation, according to sources within the caucus who spoke with The Alabama Political Reporter at the time.
A member of the House Republican Caucus asked for the vote of confidence after it became known that some legislators were interviewed by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General, APR reported in February.
Hammon was elected to the House in 2002 and as House Majority Leader in 2010 after the Republicans took control of both chambers of the Alabama Legislature. Hammon was known as a staunch supporter of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, who was also convicted on 12 felony corruption charges last year.