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Opinion | Mike Hubbard is still scheming to help himself. That’s who he is

No matter the costs. No matter the friendships lost. No matter the ethical lines crossed. Mike Hubbard will protect Mike Hubbard.

Mike Hubbard looks toward his family after receiving sentencing on Friday, July 8, 2016, in Opelika, Alabama. (VIA TODD VAN EMST/POOL PHOTO)

It seems important to remind you today that while serving as speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, Mike Hubbard, then the most powerful man in Alabama politics, attempted, against the advice of his advisors, to get language inserted into the state’s annual budget that would have ensured that a single company would be the sole provider of the state’s Medicaid prescription drug business. That lucky company also just happened to have paid Hubbard $100,000 in “consulting” fees in the previous 15 months. 

This was just one of the original 12 felony counts for which a jury in Hubbard’s home county found him guilty in 2016. 

That is who Mike Hubbard is. 

And that should not be forgotten as we continue on this never-ending journey that is Hubbard’s political downfall. 

It’s easy, I think, to forget the details the longer this case goes on and the more Hubbard’s friends and associates plot and scheme to get him out of prison, to clear his name, to make excuses for him. You start to wonder if maybe we haven’t been too hard on the guy. Maybe 28 months in prison was too much. Maybe the guy really is sorry about it all. 

Don’t fall for it. 

This was a man who should have been on top of the world in the early 2010s. Healthy kids. Business was going well. Wife had a great job. Money was rolling in hand over fist. He was running the Alabama Republican Party, had businessmen all over the state willing to do favors for him, and he was making about $70k per year on top of everything else just for his part-time gig as House speaker. 

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The man should have woken up every morning singing show tunes and thanking the good Lord that he wasn’t digging ditches for a living. 

Instead, emails from his trial showed a miserable, greedy, whiny man who couldn’t quench his thirst for more money — even if it meant cutting corners, leaning on friendships to the point of breaking them and crossing ethical lines. 

The need to hoard more money, get more “consulting” contracts and cut more backroom deals consumed him. 

If, for some reason, time had caused you to forget all of that, Tuesday’s filing by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office should have jogged your memory.

Because Mike Hubbard still doesn’t see anything wrong with what he did. He still thinks he’s the victim. 

That’s what the AG’s filing said — it allegedly quoted Hubbard, in phone calls with friends and family, saying those things. Making it clear that his recent mea culpa to the court was nothing more than just the next ploy, his next scheme to avoid paying for his crimes. 

Because, in his warped and depraved mind, it’s everyone else’s fault. 

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From the prosecutors to the former AG to even the Alabama Supreme Court, which Hubbard and his pal Billy Canary, laughably, accused of playing politics. Imagine an Alabama Republican complaining, earnestly, that the Alabama Supreme Court might have based a decision on partisan politics. 

And then there’s this, which tells you all you need to know about Mike Hubbard’s mindset: “I hope you can get some intel from [Alabama Supreme Court]. I hope [they] will pass along to [their] spineless colleagues that their lack of guts will cause me to lose the business I built over 30 years in addition to everything else I’ve lost.”

That was allegedly a quote from a recording of Hubbard speaking to one of his former attorneys, and explaining how it was the Supreme Court’s fault that Hubbard was going to lose his business. 

Silly me, I thought it was all those felonies he committed. 

And he knew they were felonies. He helped draft the ethics laws that he broke. He even mentioned those laws in emails to former Gov. Bob Riley, and lamented that they had passed them. 

You should also have no distorted view of many current Republicans in the Alabama Legislature, because many of those men were, according to sources familiar with the recordings of Hubbard obtained by the AG’s office, perfectly willing to go along with a plan that would have allowed Hubbard to walk out of prison. They were going to do it by way of the criminal justice reform portion of the special session, inserting language into a bill that would have cleared Hubbard and allowed his attorneys to petition for his release. 

And several of them were going to do it. If elections weren’t coming up, you have to wonder if the whole thing wouldn’t have worked for Hubbard. 

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As it was, a few lawmakers with backbones and operational moral compasses — yes, apparently there are still some left — stood in the way. So, the plan failed. This time. 

But the whole thing should leave everyone with a bad taste. Because quite a few of the men and women we’ve elected have failed us in spectacular fashion. 

Hubbard, and others like him, have been corrupted so thoroughly that they seem to genuinely believe that laws — even those laws they helped write — don’t pertain to them. Or that there should be a backdoor out of the consequences. 

Mike Hubbard knew that what he was doing was wrong. He all but said so in emails and other correspondence presented during his trial. Now he’s doing more wrong, apparently lying to a court to earn early release and hatching political plots to hijack legislation. 

All it for the benefit of one person — Mike Hubbard. 

For that, he shouldn’t be rewarded with a lesser sentence. He should be condemned.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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