By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, former House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon, R-Decatur, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud charges. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan denounced Hammon saying that the former number two man in the House leadership had failed to honor his oath.
“The people of Alabama expect our elected officials to uphold high standards and make ethical decisions as they follow the laws of our state. It is a great disappointment that now former State Representative Mickey Hammon let his constituents down by failing to honor his oath of office in choosing to defy the law,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement.
“Regardless of political party, this is an opportunity to remind all elected officials to always put the people of our state first. We support our law enforcement members who work to keep our system at the highest level of integrity. At the same time, we thank our elected officials who continue to work tirelessly to serve our state with great honor and dignity,” Lathan said.
Following the announcement by the U.S. Justice Department that Hammon had pled guilty to federal mail fraud charges related to his campaign finances, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R – Rainsville, who replaced Hammon as Majority Leader in the House, released the following statement: “We must not tolerate elected officials who abuse their offices for personal gain, but the guilty pleas that have been entered by Oliver Robinson and Micky Hammon in recent weeks indicate that laws on our books are working, and violations of the public’s trust will be punished when they occur.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “I was shocked to find out,” that Hammon had pleaded guilty. “I am disappointed. It is a black eye for Alabama.”
Hammon was forced out of his position as majority leader in a closed door session of the Alabama Republican House Caucus earlier this year.
“I warned the Caucus 7-8 months ago it was coming. There were a lot of signals that Micky was in trouble with the Federal Authorities and I was not willing to be a part of a Caucus led by someone that I knew was going to eventually be indicted. Micky Hammon did some great things while he was in office but he became comfortable and careless with his actions. I truly believe if you do this job right, you can’t do it long. If you’ve been doing it long, you are likely doing it wrong,” State Representative Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, told the Alabama Political Reporter.
The court still has to formally accept Rep. Hammon’s plea agreement.
A guilty plea means that the people of Decatur will be having a special election when Hammon is formally removed, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announces the special election.
Corruption and misconduct has become a regular topic in Montgomery. Earlier this month, State Rep. Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, pleaded guilty to bribery, corruption and fraud. In April, Gov. Robert Bentley resigned and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was found guilty of 12 counts of felony ethics violations in June 2016. State Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of using his office for personal gain in a ethics investigation associated with Hubbard.
Roy Johnson, a former state Two Year College System head – a Democratic state senator before that – was found guilty on multiple corruption and bribery charges, as well as a number of his associates. That and the bingo vote buying scandal, in which four bipartisan state senators were indicted, presaged the Republican takeover that led to Bentley’s election and the Republican takeover in 2010 that vaulted Hammon and Hubbard to power.
This has been rumored to be coming for months. More rumors of indictments are swirling around the Robinson campaign, who has agreed to cooperate with prosecutor, Greg Wren.