Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: February 2015 Archives

« January 2015 | Main | March 2015 »

February 28, 2015

Prosecutors lay out some evidence against Hubbard

AL.com reports: A filing today by special prosecutors cites evidence and emails that portray Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard as a man who, despite wearing the fine cloth of one of the state's most powerful men, teetered on the brink of financial collapse and desperately pleaded with friends, lobbyists and principals for money and jobs in a way that put him on the wrong side of the law.

Hubbard was indicted last year on 23 felony counts of using his office for personal gain. The revelations today come in response to a motion by Hubbard's defense team to more specifically describe the charges against the Speaker.

The filing and the cited evidence indicate Hubbard was facing tremendous financial pressure. After being elected Speaker in 2010, he was laid off by his primary employer, Auburn's IMG Sports Network. His own company, Craftmaster, failed to pay employee withholding taxes to the federal government in 2011, which led to the company defaulting on a $600,000 loan from Regions Bank personally guaranteed by Hubbard. -- Stunning emails paint Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard as desperate for money, favors | AL.com

Comment: Lots of emails, checks, business documents, etc. are attached to the story.

February 11, 2015

"Is Hubbard Breaking The Law With Criminal Defense Payments?"

Alabama Political Reporter has this analysis: Over the last year, Hubbard has used around $300,000 in campaign contributions from his personal account to pay his criminal defense team. Hubbard has never publicly addressed this issue, however, several news outlets around the State have noted that he was using the funds in accordance with former Attorney General Bill Pryor's opinion issued in 2000.

In the opinion, Pryor drew the conclusion that, "Excess campaign funds may be used by an incumbent office holder to pay legal fees incurred pursuant to the defense of a criminal indictment if the indictment is related to the performance of the duties of the office held."

There are two parts to this statement by the former Attorney General. First, the funds must be "excess campaign funds." The second, is that the indictment must be "related to the performance of the duties of the office held."

Hubbard is the Representative of District 79, he is also the Speaker of the House; which of the 23 felonies charges against him are related to the performance of the duties of the office? -- Is Hubbard Breaking The Law With Criminal Defense Payments?

February 3, 2015

Hubbard spending campaign funds on criminal defense

AP reports: Indicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has used campaign funds to pay nearly $300,000 in legal fees over the last year as he fights felony ethics charges of using his public offices for personal gain.

Campaign records filed in January show that the Auburn Republican spent about $291,000 in legal fees since December 2013. Most of it, $221,475 was spent on the firm of his lead attorney, Birmingham lawyer Mark White. Hubbard also spent $65,135 with the Pell City law firm of Trussell, Funderburg, Rea and Bell.

White said the payments are in compliance with Alabama law and advisory opinions from the attorney general's office.

A 2000 opinion by the attorney general's office advised that elected officials can pay criminal defense costs out of excess campaign finance funds if the accusations are related to how the person performed in office. Most of the charges against Hubbard relate to his position in the House of Representatives. However, others relate to his time as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. -- Indicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard spent $300,000 in campaign funds on legal fees | AL.com