We don't have an answer to that question at the moment. But if such a plan was in the making--and it still could be in place right now--it points to criminality of a shockingly vile nature. It points to the possibility that Alabama's "justice" system is for sale--especially for those who are connected and moneyed enough to afford favors.
Joe Miller, who teaches nonfiction and journalism at Columbus State University, has written a four-part series at TNR that provides a splendid overview of Alabama scandals involving Hubbard, Moore, and Gov. Robert Bentley.
In part four of the series, Miller gives Legal Schnauzer credit for breaking the story of Bentley's affair with advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason--a fact the Alabama mainstream media (MSM) consistently ignores. Miller also notes the efforts of attorney Donald Watkins and I to expose the Bentley scandal in summer/fall 2015, long before the MSM was willing to take a serious look.
On the down side, Miller misspelled my name as "Robert Schuler" in the first version of his article. But he is trying to get that corrected, and all in all, I have to call myself a big Joe Miller fan. Also, I think TNR is doing a major public service by showing what can happen when so-called conservative interests and their corporate supporters take over all three branches of state government and have unfettered access to the public piggy bank.
The revelations about Hubbard and Moore can be found in part three of the TNR series. The issue arose during testimony about plans to give Alabama Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI), a client for Hubbard and several Republican lobbyists, a monopoly on the state's Medicaid prescriptions. Lobbyists Ferrell Patrick and John Ross were pushing for the plan in spring 2013 and scheduled a meeting with the Speaker and others to discuss it. From Miller's TNR report:
Patrick told them that he and Ross represented American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc., or APCI, an Alabama-based company that represents independent pharmacies across the state and country. Though APCI and its affiliates opposed the idea of privatizing the prescription drug program, Patrick said, they would change their position if they could receive the contract to run it.
The company had no experience running such a program, and Patrick told Hubbard and the others that they wouldn’t be able to save $20 million a year, which is what the governor’s office was hoping for with their plan. But they could probably save $10 million.
According to court testimony, everyone in the meeting was in favor of the plan. But Hubbard had multiple reasons for favoring it. Writes Miller:
Hubbard had his own reasons for saving $10 million that went beyond closing holes in the budget. According to testimony, he was hoping to carve off $10 million that he could shift to the state’s court system, which was run by Roy Moore. (Moore is currently under suspension for ordering court officials statewide to disobey a mandate from the federal courts to grant marriage license to same-sex couples.) Hubbard—who at the time was the subject of a grand jury investigation—reportedly believed that if he could help Moore, Moore might be of help to him at some point in the future. The parties involved were on board with this plan, too.
So Hubbard, and his "conservative" brethren in the meeting, were OK with shifting money to Roy Moore--for no apparent reason than that Moore possibly could do a favor for Hubbard in the future. With the Speaker under a state grand-jury investigation, it seems pretty clear what that hoped-for favor might be.
Did the $10 million actually make it to the court system that Roy Moore controls? Did it come with a "quid pro quo" attached?
Just one more reason that the Hubbard trial, regardless of its outcome, should not be an ending. It should be just the beginning of an effort, led by federal investigators, to unearth the unspeakable graft that has turned Alabama government into a sewer.
The feds reportedly are already targeting Bentley and Mason, so perhaps they can add Hubbard, Moore, and former governor Bob Riley to their list. Joe Miller focuses on the Bentley scandal in part four of his TNR series, titled "The Most Shameless Sex Scandal in American Politics." It was published on Monday:
Mrs. Bentley, for her part, tried to keep up appearances. She tweeted on July 24, the couple’s anniversary: “God has blessed us w/ 50 years of marriage. I thank him for health, family, faith and most of all His love and grace.” But a month later, she’d had enough. On August 28, she filed for divorce.
Almost immediately, the first reports of the governor’s affair appeared, on the blog Legal Schnauzer and in a series of Facebook posts penned by Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins. Bentley vehemently denied the allegations and went after Watkins and Legal Schnauzer author Roger Shuler by having his staff investigate them through state and federal criminal databases, according to Alabama Political Reporter.
But the state’s legitimate news agencies, while acknowledging the “rumors,” held off on the story, and Bentley and Mason went on having a good time. Throughout the fall and early winter of 2015, the two traveled by state plane to Eva, Jacksonville, Decatur, Haleyville, Mobile, Fort Payne, Andalusia, and Birmingham. They took two trips to Gulf Shores, and one to Las Vegas, an Al.com investigation later revealed.
As for the Hubbard scandal, consider this: If Roy Moore, in fact, sold his office to Mike Hubbard. that makes Moore's problems related to gay marriage seem quaint by comparison.