Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard Indicted On Charges of Using Public Office for Personal Gain

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Ending months of investigation, accusation and speculation, Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard Monday surrendered to authorities Monday after being indicted on 23 counts of using public office for personal gain.

If convicted, Hubbard faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and fines of up to $30,000 for each count, which are all Class B Felonies.

The sweeping indictment, issued Friday, stems from more than a year and a half of jury proceedings that became the great known unknown in Montgomery political circles. The Auburn Republican is charged with using his role as House speaker and prior position as head of the Alabama Republican Party to steer business to companies under his control and solicit investments in those firms.

The speaker, who helped engineer the Republican takeover of the state Legislature in 2010, is also accused of soliciting help with his business from some of the most prominent names in the state. The list includes former Gov. Bob Riley; his daughter Minda Riley Campbell, a prominent lobbyist; Business Council of Alabama president Billy Canary; Jimmy Rane, owner of the Great Southern Wood Co., Auburn trustee and major political contributor.

Hubbard has said for months the charges were politically motivated, a sentiment he expressed again in a statement Monday.

“If there was any doubt by any body that this is a political witch hunt, it became crystal clear today when these allegations were brought two weeks before an election,” the statement read.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office did not have an immediate comment Wednesday on the indictment. Mark White, an attorney representing Hubbard, said the speaker was allowed to turn himself in.

“This is a day where finally we can start beginning to tell our story,” White said. “The speaker is confident, comfortable and ready to go.”

The charges include four counts of using the chairmanship of the Alabama Republican Party — which Hubbard held from 2007 to 2011 — for personal gain; one count of voting for legislation where he had a conflict of interest; 11 counts of soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist or principal; two counts of using his office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain; four counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a fee and a count of using state equipment for private gain.

Prosecutors with the attorney general’s office in December 2012 subpoenaed an internal party report regarding work that a party vendor subcontracted to a printing company co-owned by Hubbard.

In August 2013, prosecutors seated a special grand jury in Lee County to investigate public corruption, according to court records.

Attorney General Luther Strange stepped aside from the probe and appointed retired St. Clair County District Attorney Van Davis in January 2013.

In an appointment letter released by the court, Strange said Davis would “assume oversight of the State’s interests in the current investigative matters relating to State Representative Mike Hubbard to include all criminal matters arising from that investigation.”

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SOURCE: USA Today / The Montgomery Advertiser – Brian Lyman

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