Attempting to solicit roughly $2.3 million worth of bribes while in office, former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted Friday of 12 felony ethics charges. Despite the fact that Hubbard was caught receiving money and personally lobbying for his friends in a blatant conflict of interest, the former House Speaker denies committing cronyism and plans to appeal the jury’s decision.
On October 20, 2014, Hubbard was charged with 23 felony counts, including soliciting bribes from lobbyists and using his office as both Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain. During the investigation, Attorney General Luther Strange recused himself and appointed Acting Attorney General Van Davis to oversee the case.
“We hope this verdict tonight will restore some of the confidence in the people in the state of Alabama that public officials at all levels in the state of Alabama will be held accountable for their actions,” Davis stated on Friday. “Especially those who would betray their public trust and their position of public trust while in office from all levels, local, county, and state.”
After deliberating for seven hours, the jury convicted Hubbard of voting on legislation with a conflict of interest that would benefit American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc.; receiving money from a principal, American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc.; receiving money from a principal, Edgenuity; using his office for personal gain through a consulting contract with Capitol Cups, a business owned by Robert Abrams; lobbying the state Department of Commerce for consulting client Robert Abrams; lobbying the governor’s office for consulting client Robert Abrams; using state personnel to benefit consulting client Robert Abrams; soliciting and receiving money from a principal, former Business Council of Alabama (BCA) Chairman Will Brooke; soliciting and receiving a thing of value from a principal, former BCA Chairman Will Brooke; soliciting and receiving money from a principal, James Holbrook/Sterne Agee; soliciting and receiving money from a principal, Great Southern Wood President Jimmy Rane; and soliciting and receiving money from a principal, Hoar Construction President Robert Burton.
“It’s a sad day in the state because people have a distrust in government when you look around all three branches,” State Senator Cam Ward said after the verdict was announced. “This kind of affirms what people have been thinking.”
A subject of impeachment proceedings, Gov. Robert Bentley currently faces allegations of having an affair with a former staffer and using public funds to cover up his sexual indiscretions. Head of the Alabama Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after ordering probate judges to ignore the federal ruling allowing same-sex marriages.
Facing up to 20 years in prison for each of the 12 ethics counts, Hubbard ironically championed several ethics reforms in 2010. Scheduled for sentencing on July 8, Hubbard plans to appeal the convictions while refusing to admit any guilt.
Due to his felony convictions, Hubbard was automatically removed from office according to state law.