Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Records indicate that taxpayers are helping pay for an upcoming book about the Republican Party's takeover of the Alabama Legislature. The book, to be called "Storm In The State House," reportedly will focus on Mike Hubbard's exploits as party chair from 2007 through 2010--and as speaker of the house in 2011.
A Montgomery Independent story from last Friday shows that the Alabama House of Representatives has spent $136,000 of public money to pay for research, writing, and editing on the book. The Independent also pointed to signs that Hubbard (photo above) had signed off on the use of public funds for a book that glorifies him and the Republican Party.
Someone apparently did not want that story to receive too much exposure; it quickly was pulled from the Independent's slot at al.com-- and has not returned . The fine folks at alabamacorruption.blogspot.com (also known as Vincent Confidential) were on the ball and copied the article before it disappeared.
That led to an enlightening post yesterday:
Why would the elites who control Alabama's mainstream press want to keep the Hubbard story under wraps? Probably because it shines light on the cozy relationship that Hubbard and other Alabama GOPers have with the Swatek Azbell Howe & Ross (SAHR) lobbying firm of Montgomery.
How stench-inducing is that relationship? Vincent Confidential (VC) spells it out?
For a brief time on October 21, 2011, a potentially explosive story ran on Al.com entitled "Researcher For Hubbard Book Paid By House." The Montgomery Independent authored the story, based on information from Inside Alabama Politics, that revealed David Azbell of Swatek, Azbell, Howe & Ross had collected $136,000 of public money via an authorization from the Alabama House of Representatives and presumably green-lighted from the likely source of Mike Hubbard.
Azbell had been (and may still be) acting as a consultant with Hubbard on the book charged with the duties of "research, editing and writing." From 2007 until March of this year, Azbell was collecting $2,000 per month for "public relations work for the House Republican Caucus ." In March of 2011, the sum jumped four fold to $8,000 per month for duties unclear to the Montgomery Independent before deadline of the story prior to the October 21st publication.
As suddenly as the story appeared, it quickly disappeared.
Sounds like someone touched a nerve, doesn't it? And the folks who run al.com clearly are more interested in protecting conservative elites than in educating the public.
Fortunately, our friends at VC do want to educate the public. And they put the GOP scam in perspective:
Azbell's deal with Hubbard seems to suggest that cronyism is alive and well in the Republican controlled state house despite Mike Hubbard himself lambasting the democrats for the same sins the "shakedown Alabama' crowd, led by the virtuous as a pole cat Hubbard, are perpetrating against the public: