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Monday, December 17, 2012

Does Scrutiny For House Speaker Mike Hubbard Signal A Change In Alabama's Political Climate?

Mike Hubbard

The general rule in Alabama politics for the past 12 years or so has been that a Democrat can be sent to federal prison for a "crime" that does not exist under actual law, while a Republican can participate in all sorts of malfeasance without drawing a second glance.

Multiple news reports last week show that a grand jury in Montgomery has issued subpoenas for the records of House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). Does this signal a major shift in the Alabama political landscape, and if so, why is it happening?

Bill Britt, of the Alabama Political Reporter, broke the story last Thursday. From Britt's report:

A Special Grand Jury has subpoenaed records concerning Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). According to three sources with intimate knowledge of the investigation, a Special Grand Jury led by the Public Corruption Unit of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office is gathering documents related to Hubbard’s time as Chairman of the ALGOP. . . . 
Hubbard, who is credited with being the architect of the 2010 takeover of the State House, has recently come under fire in press reports related to quid-pro-quo arrangements between campaign contributions and Hubbard-owned businesses. 
It is not certain exactly what the Grand Jury is looking for, but sources speculate that it has to do with Hubbard’s business dealings, as well as money that was filtered through the RSLC.

George Talbot, of al.com in Mobile, followed with a report last Friday titled "Alabama GOP Finances Under Investigation, Chairman Tells Party Leaders." Talbot focused on a GOP steering committee meeting last Wednesday and the words of Bill Armistead, who succeeded Hubbard as party chair:

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.

Brian Lyman, of the Montgomery Advertiser, produced a piece on Saturday titled "Alabama GOP To Release Report Monday On Controversial Hubbard Transaction." Hubbard tells Lyman that he welcomes release of the report--some have called it an audit--about his actions as party chair. But Hubbard and Armistead appear to be at odds about the report's contents:

Ala. GOP chairman Bill Armistead said in an interview Friday the steering committee of the state Republican Party had held the report for over a year. 
“The reason it wasn’t released earlier is we didn’t want to embarrass Speaker Hubbard with what was there,” he said. “We want unity in the party, not divisiveness.” 
However, Armistead said he and members of the steering committee felt Hubbard had been “blasting us” over previously reported accounts of the report. 
The committee, Armistead said, decided Wednesday to release it.

Both the report, and the grand-jury inquiry, apparently focus on a GOP contract with Florida-based Majority Strategies, which subcontracted much of the work to Hubbard's company in Auburn. That could lead to scrutiny for the Birmingham consulting firm of Swatek Azbell Howe and Ross. Hubbard has claimed that one of the firm's partners, John Ross, negotiated the deal with Majority Strategies. At the time, Ross was executive director of ALGOP and Hubbard's second-in-command. From Britt's report:

Ross is now a partner in the high-powered lobbying group Swatek, Azbell, Howe & Ross. According to Hubbard’s book “Storming the State House,” “[Ross] continues to work closely with the members of newly-elected Republican majority and is assisting with the efforts to help preserve those majorities in 2014.” 
Ross along with Dax Swatek, and David Azbell are key lieutenants of Speaker Hubbard and have been reported as receiving lucrative contracts from state government.

What is going on here? Have Alabama Republicans suddenly taken a genuine interest in honest government? Our sources say that is unlikely and point to the current unrest as an example of political jockeying for the 2014 elections.

One source says U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is contemplating retirement, and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange wants to be among the first to throw his hat into that possible ring. Strange reportedly has recused himself from the Hubbard investigation, but he is letting it move forward. Our source says Big Luther wants to be seen as "the guy who cleaned up Montgomery," in order to enhance his political resume. If that involves taking down a few of his GOP comrades, so be it.

Another source says Mobile lawyer Bradley Byrne is pondering another run at the governor's office, after losing to Robert Bentley in the 2010 primary. Byrne sees Hubbard as a rival for the governor's job, one source says, and probably is working behind the scenes to help take down the speaker.

Here is the irony: Strange, Byrne, and Hubbard all belong to the political family tree of former Alabama Governor Bob Riley and his son, Homewood attorney Rob Riley. The Swatek consulting firm is closely aligned with the Rileys. Could this be a case of Republican snakes turning on one another? It certainly looks that way.

One source points to a possible scenario that could lead to the airing of serious GOP dirty laundry: What if Mike Hubbard, distressed that the Rileys do not ride to his rescue, decides to tell what he knows about the rampant ugliness in Bob Riley's political machine?

We might be a long way from that point, but that certainly would be an interesting outcome.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

LS, the job you're doing is the stellar reporting necessary, as you know ~to give Americans the TRUTH.

The TRUTH can no longer be a hidden treasure in the U.S. cause innocents are being killed and worse, the families are being completely annihilated.

DON SIEGELMAN is one perfect example of the TRUTH being set free via your work.

Here is more TRUTH for Americans, regarding the next four years of unraveling the evil American Empire~~

"... In the movie "Dark Knight Rises" not sure what time of the movie but there is a map with walkie talkies on the left you can see the words "SANDY HOOK" ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe9qN2bPSU0

Aurora Dark Knight & Connecticut school shooters father's both to tesify in Libor Bank Scandal ~~

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 7:53--

Your comment doesn't have much to do with Mike Hubbard scandal here in Alabama, but I must say, it is interesting. Here is a piece from before itsnews.com about Peter Lanza's ties to possible LIBOR testimony. Curious that Peter Lanza and James Holmes' father both have ties to high-level accounting/forensics, etc.:

http://beforeitsnews.com/economics-and-politics/2012/12/2-mass-shootings-connected-to-libor-2447738.html

Anonymous said...

Any chance Mike Hubbard and the Dax Swatek firm could all go down together?

Anonymous said...

"One source points to a possible scenario that could lead to the airing of serious GOP dirty laundry: What if Mike Hubbard, distressed that the Rileys do not ride to his rescue, decides to tell what he knows about the rampant ugliness in Bob Riley's political machine?"

LS, you saved the most interesting part for last. Me likey!

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the Lanza/LIBOR connection has made examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/article/libor-scandal-grows-as-the-fathers-of-two-mass-murderers-were-to-testify

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that Robert Bentley is viewed as a one-term governor?

Anonymous said...

Actually LS, the news today is about how corrupt the "government" truly IS and yes the GOP which is what you are reporting about, has so many ties to mass murder, the democrats with Obama as a poly druggie just like Bush is no improvement, however.

The fact is, America is a failed empire and the GOP caused this failure, of course the democrats did not do other than participate otherwise end up like Don Siegelman et al.

There is not one iota of an action that does not get a reaction.

The GOP is doing its best to allow [R. Emanuel, Chicago EG], whatever the CIA, FBI, ET AL can do in mass murdering our children.

Nothing new, study the work of "Laurel Canyon," "DAVE" who has truly shown us "Pandora's Box," fully opened by the GOP a long, long time ago.

Getting it shut, one bad evil at a time, Alabama is one of the worst of the vile evil, surprised?

legalschnauzer said...

For those interested in LIBOR, here is a piece we did on the scandal and its ties to our reporting here at LS:

http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2012/07/scandal-ridden-barclays-is-key.html

Anonymous said...

See. LOVE your blog, the links to the LIBOR FRAUD are what the GOP fears the most, thus mass murdering our children IS exactly what the Israeli apartheid also does to the Palestinians ~they cannot move without being killed 'over there?'

THANK YOU FOR POSTING THE FIRST COMMENT ON THIS, your readers are most enlightened and do provide US all with the true news,

thanks forever

Anonymous said...

LOL, @8:13.

Who is the bigger waste of carbon, Robert Bentley or Eric Holder?

TLR said...

Any chance we can tie Mike Hubbard to LIBOR?

Anonymous said...

Is Bill Armistead saying he would rather cover up a scandal than risk embarrassing Mike Hubbard?

That sounds like typical GOP ethics at work.

What made Armistead change his mind?

Anonymous said...

Any chance Libor is tied to child sex abuse? Most everyone mentioned here could be directly or indirectly!

Anonymous said...

I take a completely different stance. IMO Hubbard knows his tracks will lead to violations. Although Luther Strange recused himself he turned the investigation over to Matt Hart. THE Matt Hart from the Seigelman case. These guys are all in bed together and the Speaker will come out smelling like a rose even though the TRUTH would make an underground sewer smell fresh. The only person who will fall is Armistead (for uncovering the TRUTH).

David in S. Alabama said...

Mike Hubbard is a graduate of Georgia which should tell us everything we need to know.

PS, iff heplanning on running for gov., he needs to see a dermatolgist before having photos made for campaign ads. Maybe Gov, Bentley could work on his mug.

Anonymous said...

Not off point LS,

1. It's about your Ebook;
2. great journalism;
3. the linchpin in our future here at the local global reality

"... "War on Syria" is a free e-book for reading, printing, translating, and sharing - your reading and sharing of this book is the greatest payback possible for the time and effort that has been put into it. If Syria cannot be saved, at least let what is happening to this nation serve as a warning and example to others around the world, still pending Western subjugation, regime change, and exploitation at the hands of the largest corporate-financier interests on Earth, and their myriad of institutions, NGOs, media fronts, and contractors.

I want to thank Nile Bowie (NileBowie.blogspot.com), a frequent contributor to the Land Destroyer Report, for his tireless effort and expediency in compiling, adding to, enhancing, and editing this work. I would also like to thank Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.com who also helped edit the work.

Below are several links where you can access the .PDF file. If you have any requests for document hosting sites you would like to see this work appear on, or have problems downloading the book, please contact me at cartalucci@gmail.com.

-Tony Cartalucci

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/p/war-on-syria-gateway-to-wwiii.html

Anonymous said...

this guy used to be my facebook friend....unfriend button....just seconds ago.

Who knew...

Anonymous said...

So the repugs are eating their own...

jeffrey spruill said...

Remember what happened to the "bankster enabler" Tom DeLay:

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jan/08/nation/na-banker8

I believe he's well ensconced in Washington DC in his new role loobying the same crooks that sent him to Congress.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Where the mistresses at? I be where the hoes be.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob, that's where the rubber usually meets the road--no pun intended.