Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hubbard seems to be clueless or deceitful with PR blitz in the wake of his indictment on corruption charges

Mike Hubbard mugshot
Indicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) has said he's done nothing wrong during his time as a public official. In a press conference yesterday, Hubbard said the attorney general's office is trying to make it a crime to own a business while serving in a public capacity.

Those two comments indicate Hubbard is clueless about the legal challenges he faces--or he intentionally is trying to deceive the public.

The issue in any criminal case is not whether the accused thinks he has done something wrong; it's whether he has violated the law.

In Hubbard's defense, white-collar statutes often are written in such a murky fashion that hardly anyone can tell the difference between legal and illegal conduct. I challenge anyone to read 18 U.S. Code 666, which governed much of the Don Siegelman prosecution, and figure out what it means. Documents in that case indicate lawyers on both sides gave up on trying to figure out what the statute means and focused instead on case law.

How many public officials are going to look up case law to determine if they have stepped into criminal territory? Answer: very few.

The "I didn't know the law" excuse doesn't work, however, for Hubbard. The indictment primarily cites Code of Alabama 36-25-5(a), and it's language is not hard to decipher:

Section 36-25-5

Use of official position or office for personal gain.

(a) No public official or public employee shall use or cause to be used his or her official position or office to obtain personal gain for himself or herself, or family member of the public employee or family member of the public official, or any business with which the person is associated unless the use and gain are otherwise specifically authorized by law. Personal gain is achieved when the public official, public employee, or a family member thereof receives, obtains, exerts control over, or otherwise converts to personal use the object constituting such personal gain.

As white-collar statutes go, that is a paragon of clarity--and Hubbard had every reason to know what it says.

That's what makes the following remark from Hubbard, as reported by the Montgomery Advertiser, so disingenuous:

The Auburn Republican said he was being targeted for "shaking up the status quo" in state government after winning control of the Legislature in 2010, and angering those "who liked things as they are."

"Why does the Attorney General's Office think it's a crime to own a business?" Hubbard said during the press conference. "And think it's a crime to do business with anyone you didn't know before you were elected to office?"

The indictment makes no such claim. In count after count, the indictment says Hubbard used his office for personal gain, via his various business interests. And that, if proven in court, is a violation of the law.

Hubbard has given every indication that he intends to fight the charges, and he and high-priced lawyer Mark White might figure out a way to coax a not-guilty verdict from an Alabama jury.

But for now, Hubbard gives the impression of a man who does not understand the charges against him--and who doesn't understand how much trouble he might be in.


e.a.f. said...

we have a cute little thing we do here in Canada. Politicans put their stuff in a trust and they step back from the running of their businesses, at least that is what they are supposed to do. Even mayors of major cities do it. It solves a lot of problems.

As they used to say you can not serve two masters. So to Hubbard, you either are a politican or you are a business person. Make up your mind.

Well in his case he might be a whole new thing, prisoner. orange is the new black.....

Anonymous said...

It could be true that he does not understand. Look at others in public office. Look at what they had before taking office, then look at them after serving the public for a few years. Somehow, most of them come into a lot of money or go to work for companies that benefited from laws that they had a hand in passing. The sad thing is we all know this, but keep voting them right back into office. At the end of the day, they are laughing their asses off at how dumb the voters are.