|Mike Hubbard's mugshot|
Don't bet on it.
Alabama was the No. 6 most corrupt state in a recent Fortune magazine ranking and probably deserved to be No.1, thanks to our tendency to elect self-serving "leaders" like Hubbard.
Hubbard is a major public figure, and if he is convicted, it would represent a rare instance of a white, conservative Republican being held accountable for his misdeeds. That hardly has ever happened since Karl Rove arrived on the Alabama political scene in 1994, followed a few years later by Jack Abramoff and millions of dollars in Mississippi gaming cash.
Rove and Abramoff helped lay the foundation for the Riley Machine, led by former Governor Bob Riley (2002-2010) and driven largely by his children, Birmingham lawyers Rob Riley and Minda Riley Campbell.
Without the support of Team Riley, Hubbard probably never would have risen to political heights. One publication recently called Hubbard "Riley's second son." Hubbard even named one of his son's "Riley," in honor of the former governor.
Yesterday's indictment provides details about deals Hubbard tried to make with several members of the Riley Machine--including Bob Riley, Minda Riley Campbell, and political consultant Dax Swatek. According to a report at al.com, most of those approached gave Hubbard what he wanted. From Mike Cason's article:
According to the indictment, Hubbard solicited favors from some of Alabama's rich and powerful. They include former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, Business Council of Alabama CEO Billy Canary, Hoar Construction CEO Rob Burton, Great Southern Wood CEO Jimmy Rane, former Sterne Agee CEO James Holbrook, lobbyist Minda Riley Campbell, Harbert Management Corp. vice president Will Brooke and political operative Dax Swatek.
Most gave Hubbard what he wanted, according to the indictment, including major investments into Hubbard's company, Craftmaster Printing.
That raises this question: Did most of these deals amount to illegal "quid pro quos," where there was an agreement for the giver to receive something in return for his gift? If so, both parties in the deals should be subject to prosecution, as happened in the case of former Democratic governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
That probably would be covered by federal bribery law (see 18 U.S. Code 666), but we do not know at this point if the U.S. Department of Justice is involved.
So far, Hubbard is the only major team member to have his mugshot taken. That means the question now about the Lee County grand jury is this: What's next?
If Mike Hubbard proves to be the "big fish" that was caught in the net, not much will have been accomplished. The real big fish--members of the Riley family--are still swimming in Alabama's murky political waters.
That's where the attention of law enforcement needs to turn next.