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Monday, November 26, 2012

Financial Review of Mike Hubbard's Tenure As Party Chairman Stirs Up Discord In The Alabama GOP

Mike Hubbard

The Republican Party takeover of the Alabama Legislature in 2010 might have come with the aid of financial chicanery. A review of the party's finances during that time period has uncovered questionable transactions and led to discord in the state GOP hierarchy.

Current chairman Bill Armistead ordered the review--he calls it an audit--focusing heavily on the actions of his predecessor, Mike Hubbard, now speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. The review unearthed at least one instance where Hubbard appears to have used GOP dollars for his personal gain, according to a report last week at al.com.

What else did the review find, and what does it mean for the future of the Alabama Republican Party? It probably is too early to answer those questions, but this much is clear: The state GOP is experiencing a rancorous split, with Armistead and his associates on one side and those loyal to former Republican Governor Bob Riley (which includes Hubbard and state Senate leader Del Marsh) on the other.

At the heart of the conflict might be the rise of Bob Riley's 2014 PAC, which is competing for political donations with the Alabama GOP.

Some curious journalism surrounds the story. Reporter Charles J. Dean and al.com deserve credit for breaking one of the biggest state political stories of the year. But why did they break it on the day before Thanksgiving, typically a slow readership day? And how will al.com follow up, considering its long-standing support of the Riley political machine?

For now, the story shines light mostly on a printing contract that raises questions about the way Mike Hubbard conducts business. From the al.com report:

In 2010, the Alabama Republican Party negotiated a deal with a Florida company to design hundreds of glossy and colorful campaign flyers for GOP candidates seeking seats in the Legislature. 
The contract with Majority Strategies of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida was for $848,687. 
Once the deal was signed, Majority Strategies then subcontracted out the printing, shipping and postage costs of the flyers to another company: Craftmaster Printing of Auburn.

One of the shareholders in Craftmaster Printing is Mike Hubbard. This is not the first time the press has shined light on Hubbard's tendency to mix politics with business. Editor Paul Davis spelled it out in a 2010 piece for The Tuskegee News:

Since he became Republican Party chairman in February 2007, [Hubbard] has paid from party funds $176,826 directly to his own companies. 
Huge payments to Craftmaster Printers date back to the days when the company was nearly bankrupt. He is a major Craftmaster stockholder, along with former AU Coach Pat Dye. 
Since 2002, his companies have received at least $1,494,566 from the coffers of the State Republican Party.

No wonder Armistead thought it would be wise to examine Hubbard's handling of the party's purse strings.  How has Hubbard reacted to news of the financial review? Not well, according to al.com:

In a recent interview with the Birmingham News/al.com, Hubbard saw the financial review and after reviewing it a few moments, tossed it back across the table.

What was Hubbard's best effort at an explanation? Well, he claims to have made a personal profit of a little more than $9,000 on the deal. This is the same Mike Hubbard who has trumpeted the federal prosecution of former Democratic governor Don Siegelman, who made zero personal profit on the transaction in question.

For now, we seem to have a stalemate in the Alabama GOP. Hubbard and Marsh say they have done nothing wrong, and they want Armistead to release the financial report. Armistead says the state GOP Executive Committee has not agreed to release the report.

Meanwhile, rumors persist that the Riley machine might try to force out Armistead as party chair. Will Armistead have sufficient ammunition to fight back? Well, you have to wonder if Hubbard's actions might eventually attract the attention of federal prosecutors. We already have noted that the speaker could be in trouble if federal laws and state ethics laws were applied to him the way they have been applied to two former governors--Siegelman and the late Guy Hunt.

Bob Martin, of the Montgomery Independent, showed in a series of articles last fall that Hubbard's "boss" style of politics goes well beyond his printing company. Martin showed that taxpayers were helping pick up the tab for Hubbard's book, Storming the State House. And it doesn't end there. Writes Martin:

Hubbard is also president of the Auburn Network, which is owned by IMG College and was recently purchased from ISP Sports. State records and other reports I have seen show that since State Fiscal Year 2008, over $4 million in state funds have been spent on advertising with the Auburn Network or its parent company. This is the firm which has the contract to broadcast Auburn football games and other Auburn sports events . . . and, of course, sell advertising for those events. 
It is the observation of most Goat Hill regulars that Speaker Hubbard has a virtual iron grip on the passage or failure of legislation before the House. Therefore is there any state agency with legislation and budgets before the House who would not want to please the Speaker by patronizing his business? I doubt it.

Mike Hubbard claims that he wants Armistead's financial review to be released. But can Hubbard's actions withstand serious scrutiny? Perhaps we soon will find out.


Anonymous said...

Riley needs to shut the hell up and stay where he is taking care of THANGS and THANKING about PAITSEE instead of trying to ruin us again.. And you think anything will be done to Hubbard? Look at Spencer Bachus insider trading.. NOTTA..NOTHING.. they have a way of covering up their crimes.x

Robby Scott Hill said...

At least Hubbard pays his campaign workers. That's more than I can say for Bill Armistead. The mistake I made was being GOP before the GOP had lots of campaign cash on hand.

TLR said...

I had no idea this was going on. Just assumed Hubbard and Armistead got along great.

legalschnauzer said...

You worked for Armistead, Rob? Other than not paying his campaign workers, what kind of guy is he?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, TLR. This caught me by surprise. The Rethugs are famous for "message discipline." I figure it's the Dems who will have all the in-fighting.

Gerry With A G said...

I'm one of the few people who still subscribes to the Birmingham News and even I missed it. A friend e-mailed me a link to your post or never would have seen it. Thanks for your reporting.

Sharon said...

Publishing this the day before Thanksgiving? I don't think the Snews wanted people to see it.

Anonymous said...

That pic of Hubbard gives me the creeps.

Spasmoda said...

I'm thinking Majority Strategies needs a little scrutiny. Seems like I've heard of that bunch before, and not in a favorable way.

Anonymous said...

The GOP is the biggest racket in the USA, and this is ongoing since the beginning of what is now called "politics in America."

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, the GOP has been into the mendacity biz forever, watch the movies about the so called "Republican Party," beginning with the Rand Corporation in Hollywood, and far more sinister than that bad ideology ~ RELIGIONS.

The GOP is the religious fanaticism we are experiencing, that is, the insane thinking has been a manufactured faction and the GOP controls the so called "democratic process."

Can we actually wait, hope, and maybe see our own US revolution ~~as in Egypt's and the Gaza Concentration Camp ~~

can we get free?

Did the internet enslave us, or has it empowered us?

We do not appear, Americans in the majority, to be able to take the fiscal cliff seriously and get rid of the entire judicial that has been in complete violation, to our true U.S. Constitutional laws.

Ann L. Aiken, democrat and "Chief Justice" in the State of Oregon had to ask the Supreme Court in the State about Mortgage Electronic Services [MERS] authenticity in clouding title.

Ah come on now, MERS was and is the new world order's "Digital Dust" to enslave all the people all the time in the US, no such idea: freedom in property ownership, not with MERS.


Aiken is a Chief Justice in the system of all American UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS.

Where are We The People in demanding the "Justices" ALL step down for destroying our society via "Digital Dust" ~~


The GOP is only "rich" with "Digital Dust," PLEASE.

Anonymous said...

Alabama is not in isolation, globalism includes the south whether the south decides to be part of the world global reality or not ~ GOP mendacity did and does this, and all the people in America need to grow up, get real about the truth of our global reality and make the changes we talk about ... this is GREAT NEWS for the south, north, east and west, USA:

"... Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States. As 3 billion Asians become prosperous, interest fades in the prospective contribution of 300 million Americans - especially when those Americans decline to take risks on new technologies. America's great economic strength, namely its capacity to innovate, exists mainly in memory four years after the 2008 economic crisis....

atimes online, Post-US world born in Phnom Penh, By Spengler

NOW THINK ABOUT THIS FOR JUST ONE NANO SECOND: How do we demand our "jobs" return from globalism?!

Do we revisit the WPA? How about the migration of the DUST BOWL, our largest toxic shame here in the US, and it was again the fault of the same mendacity business operators, "democrat and republican," or call it American politics at the worst ~ selling the cattle [goy] for whatever digital dust can.

Anonymous said...

Armistead doesn't get it--the Rileys are bigger than the Republican Party.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 6:25--

I had to LOL at your use of the Riley lingo . . . "Thangs" and "Thanking About Paitsee." Love it.

I hear the "chillun" call Big Bob "Diddy," as in P Diddy, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers UNITE and especially the JOURNALISTS that have always kept the cog from jamming the wheels of progress ...

"... Argentina Rebels Against America's "Judicial Colonialism" ~~

zerohedge has the story AND it is time for We People to UNITE in following the leaders, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS are our leaders in these most revolutionary times AND thus, what to do?!

DIGITAL DUST has destroyed our "economy" and this began via the GOP ET AL globally destroying our sovereignty. Do we really trust the GOP or Obama with infinite digital dust and drones filling the skies for our "safety?!"

We must, ALL WE ordinary humans in the US demand via filing papers, the accounting of digital dust that has caused sub-human realities for the takers of our wealth to exploit.

MENDACITY BIZ, "Judicial Colonialism," oh yes it is time to fiscal cliff the traitors of our U.S. Constitution's good law regarding "money vs. digital dust."

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Armistead hasn't released the report, but the reporter had a copy to show Hubbard. Hmmmm.

legalschnauzer said...

Props to Left in Alabama for covering the story. Here is a link to their report: