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McCutcheon says Hubbard ruling made it clear: ethics law has flaws

Former House Speaker Mac McCutcheon.

Friday, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R – Monrovia, issued a statement following the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling affirming five of the convictions of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling has made it clear that our ethics law has flaws that must be addressed,” said McCutcheon. “Our task now is to fix those flaws without weakening any of the provisions that make our ethics law among the toughest in the country.”

“As a former police officer, I believe that strict ethics requirements offer a much needed deterrent to corruption,” McCutcheon continued. “By following the roadmap suggested by the State Supreme Court, we can preserve that deterrent while firmly holding those who abuse their office accountable for their actions.”

The court upheld six of former Speaker Hubbard’s convictions and sent five back to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals for further review. At issue is whether or not Former Business Council of Alabama Chairman Will Brooke qualified as a “principal” or not under the definition used under Alabama’s ethics law. If the Alabama Attorney General’s office can prove that he was to their satisfaction there is still a possibility that those five convictions could be restored.

“Today’s ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court is the culmination of four years of deliberation, and I support and accept their findings,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R). As an elected official, our first priority is to be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of misconduct and abuse of office.

Ivey seemed to suggest that the court’s ruling means that the ethics laws need to be reformed.

“I support seeking clarity on our state’s ethics laws to ensure those who want to abide by them may not be unfairly targeted,” Ivey said. “However, let me be abundantly clear, I do not support weakening a system that is meant to hold our elected officials accountable. The rule of law must be upheld.”

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“Even more so on this Good Friday, my thoughts and prayers are on Mike Hubbard’s family and upon our state as we move on from this unfortunate part of Alabama’s history.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall Statement on Alabama Supreme Court Ruling to Uphold Six Counts of Former Speaker Mike Hubbard’s Conviction

“While I am pleased that the Supreme Court agreed that former Speaker Hubbard broke the law and will be held accountable for his abuse of power, I am also disappointed in the court’s interpretation of Alabama’s ethics law concerning the definition of a principal,” Marshall said. “While I can live with the court’s insistence on a clearer definition of principal, going forward, that definition must also be strong.”

Marshall stated, “The Court’s decision reflects what we have argued from the beginning: Mike Hubbard’s actions were corrupt and betrayed the public trust. It is well past time for Mike Hubbard to serve the time he has so richly earned.”

“This case was not just a trial of former Speaker Hubbard’s misconduct, but also a test of our ethics law,” Marshall stated. “Mr. Hubbard campaigned in 2010 on the message that Alabama ‘sorely needed’ a stronger ethics law. As a state, we must now ask ourselves a serious question: Do we want the type of behavior that Hubbard got away with to be illegal? If the answer is yes, then legislative action is again sorely needed and we must commit to strengthening our ethics law.”

After a lengthy grand jury investigation, Hubbard was indicted in September 2014. After numerous court motions that were appealed all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court, Hubbard’s oft delayed trial occurred in June 2016. Hubbard was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to four years in prison. Hubbard appealed his convictions and asked the court, and was given, his freedom while the Court of Criminal Appeals considered his appeals. After losing that appeal, Hubbard appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. In 2019 the Supreme Court held oral arguments. Ten months later the Supreme Court released its ruling. To this date, Hubbard has not served any time for his crimes.


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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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