The Speaker of the House in the Alabama legislature, Mike Hubbard (R), was indicted on corruption charges yesterday by a grand jury in Lee County. The speaker faces 23 felony corruption charges. If convicted, he could face between 2 and 20 years in prison, and up to $30,000 in fines for each charge.
The indictment indicates that Hubbard used his powerful position in the state legislature to solicit favors from rich and powerful citizens of Alabama. Hubbard is charged with using his office for personal gain, as well as using his position as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain.
Hubbard has denied the allegations, calling them political in nature. Those loyal to Hubbard believe the charges are aimed at hurting his chances to run for governor in four years. Hubbard has stated he will not resign from his post as Speaker, and is currently focusing on his reelection campaign.
Hubbard was one of the leaders of the 2010 takeover of the Alabama legislature by the Republican Party. Republicans swept into power in offices across the state, with Hubbard becoming the first Republican Speaker since Reconstruction. Republicans now dominate politics in Alabama.
Interestingly, Hubbard does not point the finger at Democrats for this issue, but rather at a fellow Republican: state Attorney General Luther Strange. In commenting on the situation, Hubbard notes that the investigation has been going on for two years, and the indictment happened to come down two weeks before an election.
It should be noted that the Attorney General recused himself from the case last year.
The investigation has already resulted in charges against two other legislators. Both Representative Greg Wren (R) of Montgomery and Representative Barry Moore (R) of Enterprise have been charged. Wren plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of using his office for personal gain.