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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Top Alabama Republicans Seek Indian Gaming Funds To Support July Legislative Conference In Mobile


Mike Hubbard
Alabama Republicans generally oppose gambling, but their two most prominent legislators are seeking a sizable donation from Indian gaming interests to help fund a conference this summer in Mobile. The state's No. 1 Republican, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, might have been caught in a lie about his knowledge of a letter seeking funds from the Poarch Creek Indians (PCI).

All of this came to public attention because of a citizen journalist's investigative efforts. The same citizen journalist wrote a blog post yesterday providing important background on the legislative conference and the organizations behind it--information that largely has been ignored by the mainstream press.

Charles Dean, of al.com, wrote Sunday about a March 2012 fund-raising letter that asked PCI for $150,000 to support the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), which will be July 27-31 in Mobile. But the story actually broke last week when a citizen journalist who goes by the name "MaximusShelby" posted the letter on the document-sharing site Scribd and followed up with an item on Twitter. (The letter can be viewed at the end of this post.)

Dean must have received a tip about the letter's presence on the Web, and to his credit, produced a major story for Sunday's issue of The Birmingham News. But he did not give MaximusShelby credit for breaking the story, and he did not link to the actual letter on Scribd.

William J. "Happy" Fulford, lead lobbyist for the University of South Alabama and chair of the conference planning committee, wrote the letter and noted the prominent roles for Hubbard and Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh as hosts of the event.

In his article, Dean points out the incongruity of the anti-gambling Hubbard seeking funds from an Indian gaming interest. But when asking Hubbard about the letter, Dean might have let Mr. Speaker off the hook. From the al.com article:

Hubbard and Marsh both said they had not seen Fulford's letter to the Poarch Creeks until a reporter showed it to them late last week. Fulford said it never occurred to him to tell Hubbard or Marsh that he was including their names on the solicitation letter.

"The speaker and the pro tem are hosts for the event and as such the protocol would be to include their names," said Fulford.

Hubbard said he has no role in the fund-raising effort led by Fulford. He said he had really no comment on the request to the Poarch Creeks for a donation. Hubbard did say he remains "one hundred percent" opposed to gambling and whether the tribe helped pay for the cost of the conference would have no effect on his position.

Hubbard had no role in the fund-raising effort and apparently was unaware of Fulford's letter? That's strange, given that anyone who views the entire letter can see this at the bottom:

Enclosures:
Speaker Hubbard/Senate President Pro Tempore Marsh Letter
Sponsorship pledge form
W-9

That indicates a letter from Hubbard and Marsh was included with Fulford's packet. But the speaker claims he had no role in the fund-raising effort? We are to believe that Hubbard did not know who was receiving donation requests that included his own letter? A copy of the Hubbard/Marsh enclosure has not yet surfaced, but the evidence so far suggests Speaker Hubbard did not tell the truth about his involvement in the fund-raising effort.

Poarch Creek casino
In a post yesterday at the Alabama Confidential Web site, MaximusShelby notes that Charles Dean left much unsaid about the powerful forces behind the July conference. From a post titled "Alabama Legislators To Attend Southern Legislative Conference in Mobile 'Closed to the Public,'" Maximus writes:

At an upcoming event scheduled for July 27 through July 31st, legislators from fifteen southern states will be meeting in Mobile, Alabama behind closed doors. Many who are attending this exclusive event have the option of doing so on the taxpayer's dime. . . .

One lobbying group who's hawking this Mobile soiree is Stateside Associates. Founded by a former Executive Director for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Constance Campanella, the Stateside Associates firm functions as a "stealth lobbyists" organization.


Who is Stateside Associates, and what is a "stealth lobbyist"? Maximus provides insight:

"Taxpayer subsidized stealth lobbyists: Lobbyists who circumvent normal lobbying regulations and procedures to advance the corporate agenda in statehouses nationwide on the taxpayer dime.

"A lobbying behemoth--the self-proclaimed largest firm of its kind--Stateside has enough tricks up its sleeve to tackle even the most difficult, and often delicate, lobbying cases."

Mike Hubbard has claimed to be a proponent of transparency. But he is co-hosting a conference that appears to be about anything but transparency. Maximus adds important perspective:

In the political poker games of corporate deal-making, ALEC-style cronyism, and unembarrassed double standards, no one plays a better hand than the Alabama Republican Party does. With a marked deck at their disposal, they've built a house of cards on "transparency and honor in office" since sweeping all three legislative branches of government in 2010. . . .

If Alabama's legislators return from these high-dollar conferences and events with potential legislative templates in hand that all Alabamians have to live under, then can we at least demand that it's not done on any taxpayer's dime? Might we also demand that any "conferencing" is not done behind closed doors?

The people should demand no less from their elected officials. Beyond that members of the state media need to wake up and thoroughly explore and/or expose serious issues like these--not only in the interest of good journalism, but because the public has a right to know.

Doing any less enables the cloak of secrecy for Alabama legislators.



39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike Hubbard's goose-stepping goons are attempting to destroy Bill Britt. They can't attack his facts so they are trying the politics of personal destruction. So very Mike to do that.

Anonymous said...

MaxShelby rocks!

legalschnauzer said...

I'm not surprised to hear that Hubbard is going after Bill Britt's advertisers. One of the favored tactics for GOP thugs is what I call financial terrorism. It's been used against me, so I have first-hand knowledge of how it works. I also have first-hand knowledge of how some victims, who refuse to sit back and take it, can fight back and inflict serious damage upon thugs.

legalschnauzer said...

Note to readers:

I initially forgot to include an embed of the fund-raising letter that was sent to Poarch Creeks. It now is included at the end of the post. A major hat tip to MaxShelby.

Spasmoda said...

This is what it means to be a citizen journalist. Aren't there awards in the field of citizen journalism? If so, MaxShelby deserves to win one.

Anonymous said...

LS:

Thanks for running the Fulford letter. It needs to be seen in the light of day. Pay attention, fellow Alabamians!

legalschnauzer said...

Spas:

Yes, there are citizen journalism awards. Here is URL to story about some of them:

http://cj.ibnlive.in.com/


CNN even has CJ awards:


http://ijnet.org/blog/cnn-launches-citizen-journalism-awards

I agree that MaxShelby deserves an award.

Anonymous said...

That letter is nothing but a shakedown.

Sharon said...

They need $150,000 from the Poarch Creeks? How much does a convention like this cost? How many donors of this size do they need? That sounds like an awful lot of money to help fund a convention for 1,000 people.

legalschnauzer said...

Sharon:

I thought the same thing. That seems like a huge amount of money from one donor. I wonder if some of that is meant to go straight in someone's pocket.

Anonymous said...

Matt Murphy (aka Robert Ray) Pearl Harbored Britt this morning with info alleging Britt was renting his house from Mabry's wife.

Funny there was not an attack about the validity of Britt's reporting.

Anonymous said...

I imagine the Poarch Creeks are used to having Republicans screw with them.

Anonymous said...

LS, You need to get your hands on the enclosure letters from Marsh and Hubbard. What a prize that would be!!!

Anonymous said...

Porn Pom says,

Hubbard’s cupboard’s, sloppy seconds’ bare
sharing lies-lies, and more lies gov
caring mule whores gaming funds,

Come cum, dumb dumber dumbest
not the individual citizen’s, journalism’s trigger fingers
know where the real spot,

Hot-Cold, boldly caressing words
saying playing sliding staying, tuned into the
reality CLOSED to general public,

talk-walk, orgy “down there”
“at an upcoming event, scheduled for July
the 27 through 31 2013,”

“LEGISLATORS FROM, 15 SOUTHERN STATES
behind closed doors” meeting, ‘Flaming Bird’
media and lobbyists on taxpayer’s,

dime-time, not trustworthy fair
pimps with their gimps, thugs do mug
Mobile in Alabama’s stuck re·pug·nan·cies

(GOP "Republicans" are repugnant)

legalschnauzer said...

Wow, Porn Pom, that's heavy stuff.

Thanks for some serious verse. Four paws up from the Schnauzer!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU Legal Schnauzer and as the Marx Brothers would go on and on, thank you, thank you and so on.

You got the Porn Pom name exactly correct and that got the nasty little wonder real pissed off.

Josie chased the "Arabs" that came here to study, down the halls in university. Laugh I would, while the Arabs terrified of a little ToTo, running faster than a ginger bread man to get away.

Your journalism has inspired the Josie poet Porn Pom.

Thank you again into infinity, PP

Anonymous said...

There is a very very strong rumor that Hubbard is using Matt Murphy for damage control about an explosive article Britt is bringing about Hubbard that supposedly the AU Board of Trustees has seen and is having an emergency meeting about.

Anonymous said...

From story: "Hubbard might have been caught in a lie."

That isn't news. "Hubbard caught telling the truth" might win you a Pulitzer . . . .

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:49--

That is very interesting information about Hubbard/Matt Murphy/Bill Britt and AU Board of Trustees. The possible involvement of trustees is particularly interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Molli said...

ALEC is notorious for closed door meetings. Within these meetings they distribute pre-prepared "legislation" to state legislators. ALEC's legislation is written by and for their largest corporate donors. Legislatures that join ALEC (such as Bryan Taylor) pay a nominal fee to be a member. Their fee is a very small percent (really not even a drop in the bucket) compared to the corporate kingpins contributions. The Alabama Accountability Act was written by ALEC and will only enrich the rich. The ALGOP also ran with the ALEC prepared Immigration bill, Voter identification, Stand your ground (just to mention a few). These bills were picked up and forced down the throats of the people of Alabama. Our legislators used their propaganda and deceitful tactics to elevate these harmful bills to top billing. ALEC was exposed for being the initiators of the Immigration legislation that swept our country. Nationwide outrage re the Immigration legislation forced large corporations (once they were exposed) to withdraw their huge contributions to ALEC. The Alabama State legislators do NOT create bills they simply hope to be rewarded by running with ALEC bills.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for important background, Molli. MaxShelby is quite knowledgeable about the whole ALEC scam. I'm trying to get up to speed on it. Seems like Alabama is fertile ground for this outfit. Is ALEC tied to the Koch Brothers?

Anonymous said...

Obummer is going for the nuclear option, he's in the ME at this time brokering the deal with Israel's Bibi "Sewer" pimp-whore-mofo.

It's gonna backfire, tho.

The 'brotha is one in the same 'cloth' with Hubbard despite the co'la.

"Taxpayer's Money" is the clue.

Means they've got the digital credits and the rest got the debt.

Ripe time for change alright.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Mike Hubbard got his start in broadcasting as a Midget Wrestler on WTBS' "Georgia Championship Wresting" back in the '70s?

I hear his favorite "hold" was the "crotch grab."

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 12:22--


Thanks for the chuckle. Love it.

Molli said...

Koch brothers are leaders of ALEC

Anonymous said...

I love the part in the letter where the Poarch Creeks learn that $150,000 will buy them "access" to key elected leaders. That's what it costs to have "access" to people we elect for public office?

Samuel said...

I read that letter and keep hearing the words "quid," "pro," and "quo."

Anonymous said...

Matt Murphy pulled a stealth attack against Bill Britt on the radio this morning. Accused Britt of living in a house that is rented from the wife of AEA head Henry Mabry. Britt wound up hanging up, but Murphy never got around to asking about anything of substance in Britt's reports on Mike Hubbard. Sounded like Murphy couldn't counter that, so he went after Britt on other subjects.

Not sure about Britt's living arrangements, but he clearly has raised some hackles with reports on Hubbard. You probably have done the same thing, LS. Beware.

Murphy pulled a "shoot the messenger" routine on the radio with Britt.

Anonymous said...

Hubbard's response to Britt has been to cut off all contact. He doesn't even send Britt press releases. THAT'LL show him - not getting to read David Azbell's schlock . . .

Hubbard is apparently scared to death of what Britt will break next. Wants to shut him up at any cost.

Anonymous said...

I heard a podcast of the Murphy/Britt interview. Sounds like they've had problems before. There is a reference to their previous conversation not ending the way they wanted . . . or some such.

If Britt didn't know these people play dirty, he certainly knows it now.

Anonymous said...

Britt must really be butt-hurt over Hubbard cutting off all contact. I know that would put me in the dumper.

Sounds like Hubbard has reason to be fearful over what Britt has coming.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is URL to the latest from Bill Britt on Mike Hubbard's bid-rigging over Auburn sports multimedia rights:


http://www.alreporter.com/al-politics/political-news/state-news/4371-anatomy-of-a-rigged-bid.html

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the Matt Murphy show and Bill Britt interview.

http://www.100wapi.com/page.php?page_id=401

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we all just call Matt Murphy by his real name - Robert Ray. He's also from the same area in Georgia as Hubbard.

Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, kind of makes me wonder where Robert Ray lives. Two can play that game.

jeffrey spruill said...

Wasn't ALEC instrumental in getting the "stand your ground" law passed in Florida?

Max Shelby said...

Thank you for the kudos LS, I'm appreciative of your reader's comments too.

ALEC is huge in Alabama and growing stronger every day. Rep Mary Sue McClurkin is the state chair, and one of Governor Bentley's gals, Rosemary Elebash serves as co-chair.

Under McClurkin's control, as is the case with every state chair for ALEC, is what's known as an ALEC Scholarship Fund, but it's not a scholarship fund in the traditional sense. This one operates to pay legislators for various trips to bring more bad legislative ideas back to the state.

The public doesn't know anything about it, how much is in it, and who has benefited from it because the media refuses to ask.

HB56, the Voter ID bill (going into effect just in time for 2014 state elections) and McClurkin's recent abortion bill are all ALEC templates.

The Center For Media & Democracy maintains a great database on ALEC called ALEC Exposed.

There's an Alabama portal on the site listing all known Alabama ALEC legislators. Many won't admit they are members, but the endeavor to find and include more continues.

If people don't wake up and start raising some hell about this we'll be in worse mess than we are now.

If such a thing is possible. Or imaginable.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, Max. The list of ALEC politicians in Alabama is particularly interesting. Safe to say this list is not all inclusive?

Anonymous said...

ALEC reminds me of how the UN engineered ICLEI operates. From what I've read so far, ICLEI could certainly benefit from ALEC directly and indirectly. ALEC has their hands in it across the board including and especially commerce and agriculture. I bet if we dig more we will find that ALEC is intentionally paving the way for organizations such as ICLEI and banks to destroy our citizenry by taking everything from us and furthering the NWO agenda! People need to open their eyes and stop allowing imposter politicians (RINO's, essentially every republican in Alabama and the USA and does include democrats) to legislate taking everything from the people especially property rights ie, ICLEI!