Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: December 2012 Archives

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December 17, 2012

GOP audit released -- shows Hubbard's firm got $800,000 in printing business

AL.com reports: The Alabama Attorney General's office has subpoenaed records from the Alabama Republican Party, including an audit and supporting financial documentation for 2010, when the party successfully won control of the Alabama Legislature.

That audit shows that a printing company co-owned by Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard received more than $800,000 of business either directly from the party or as a subcontractor under Florida-based Majority Strategies. ...

The audit, conducted by Warren Averett L.L.C., is a mere seven pages long and consists mostly of reconciliations the party's cash balance.

However, in an addendum, the audit notes two "related-party" transactions.

"The Organization incurred direct printing expenses from Craftmasters Printing, a related party, in the amount of $83,524 in 2010," the audit said. "Total indirect printing, postage, mail service and shipping costs paid to Majority Strategies (non-related party) and remitted to Craftmasters Printing was $725,262 in 2010." -- Read the whole article --> Alabama Attorney General subpoenas state GOP records | al.com

December 16, 2012

Alabama AG subpoenas GOP financial records for 2010 election

AL.com reports: The Alabama Republican Party's steering committee - a group of 21 party leaders from across the state - gathered in good spirits in Montgomery on Wednesday afternoon.

After a regular, quarterly meeting to discuss party business, they were set to socialize at a Christmas reception hosted in their honor by Gov. Robert Bentley at the Alabama Governor's Mansion.

The committee convened in a conference room at the Alabama Cattlemen's Association building near the state Capitol, and the meeting kicked off with an unexpected bang. Bill Armistead, the party's chairman, told the group that he'd received a subpoena from the Alabama Attorney General's office seeking GOP financial records.

Reading from the document, Armistead said the order was part of a grand jury investigation into campaign finance activities in the 2010 election cycle, according to three committee members who participated in the meeting. A fourth committee member recounted similar remarks but said he did not recall a specific reference to a subpoena. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama GOP finances under investigation, chairman tells party leaders | al.com

December 15, 2012

Coaches in ethical hot water

AL.com reports: The Alabama Ethics Commission this afternoon found that nearly two dozen Decatur High School coaches ran afoul of state ethics law when they accepted monetary Christmas gifts from the school's booster club in 2011.

Commissioners, following a closed-door hearing, voted without dissent that there was cause that the 21 coaches broke state ethics law. Commissioners said they would handle the case administratively, which means the coaches might be fined up to $1,000.

Attorney James Anderson, who represents 20 of the coaches, said the coaches did not know they were doing anything wrong when they accepted the Christmas gifts. The gifts ranged from $50 for the girl's soccer coach to about $1,125 for the head football coach, Anderson said. ...

Anderson said there was a longtime tradition of the booster club giving Christmas gifts to coaches. -- Read the whole story --> Ethics Commission says Decatur High coaches likely broke ethics law by accepting booster gifts | al.com

December 14, 2012

ADC files suit against legislative redistricting

The Gadsden Times reports: The predominantly black Alabama Democratic Conference and others filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging state House and Senate districts that were redrawn earlier this year by the Legislature.

The lawsuit filed Thursday claims legislators drew the districts in a way that caps the number of areas where black candidates have a realistic chance of winning legislative seats. The lawsuit says the districts adopted by the Republican-majority legislature violate the U.S. and Alabama constitutions and the federal Voting Rights Act.

The redistricting plans "constitute racial gerrymandering" and will result in discrimination against minority voters, the lawsuit alleges.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard defended the plans, which have been approved by the U.S. Justice Department. He said the plans were developed after lawmakers sought input from residents across the state. -- Read the whole story --> Lawsuit challenges new Ala. legislative districts | GadsdenTimes.com

Three from GOP, none from Dems for SD 35 special election

AL.com reports: Three Republican candidates qualified Wednesday to run for the state Senate District 35 seat vacated Dec. 4 by Ben Brooks of Mobile.

The Alabama GOP said Jim Barton, Bill Hightower and Nick Matranga filed paperwork by Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline. The candidates will seek the party's nomination in the Jan. 29 primary election.
No candidates qualified with the Alabama Democratic Party Wednesday. But a party spokesman said that Democrats expect to draft a candidate before today's 5 p.m. deadline to certify with the Alabama Secretary of State's office.

"We had a pretty big fish on the line until about 3 p.m.," said Bradley Davidson, executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party. "We will certify someone (Thursday)."

Gov. Robert Bentley set the special election to fill the seat held by Brooks, who resigned effective Dec. 4 following his election as a Mobile County circuit judge. Brooks, a Republican who held the Senate seat since 2006, will be sworn in Jan. 11. -- Read the whole story --> Three Republicans qualify for state Senate District 35 special election | al.com