Lobbyists: Alabama House speaker sought help getting job

Lobbyists: Alabama House speaker sought help getting job

June 3rd, 2016 by Associated Press in Politics State

Mike Hubbard and Susan Hubbard walk to the Lee County Justice Center to start the second week of the ethics trial of Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, in Opelika, Ala.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

OPELIKA, Ala. — Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's efforts get prominent lobbyists to help him find work after he lost his primary job are taking center stage in testimony Friday as the second week of his ethics trial draws to a close.

Prosecutors put on the witness stand two lobbyists — both longtime political allies of Hubbard's — who testified that Hubbard reached out to them for help finding employment.

Lobbyist Minda Riley Campbell, the daughter of former Gov. Bob Riley, testified that Hubbard asked if she knew of any work that would be right for him.

"He said if you know of anything __ because I know a lot of people — that would be a good fit for me, could you let me know," she said.

Campbell, under questioning by a state prosecutor, also testified that Hubbard communicated "pretty clearly" that he wanted to come work at her father's high-profile lobbying firm.

Her father, the former governor, is expected to testify later Friday.

Hubbard is on trial for ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions to make money and solicit employment, investment and financial favors from lobbyists. Many of the charges relate to Hubbard's efforts to find work after being laid off from Auburn's IMG Sports Network.

Earlier Friday, the head of an influential business group testified that Hubbard said he was under stress because of his financial situation and he said he set up meetings with out-of-state corporate officials to try to help Hubbard find a job.

Business Council of Alabama President Billy Canary testified that he was trying to see "what opportunities might be available" for Hubbard.

Canary, a close political ally of Hubbard's, was one of three lobbyists who had weekly meetings with the speaker about upcoming legislation. Canary also described Hubbard as a friend.

Prosecutors claim he solicited financial favors from lobbyists and people with business before the Alabama Legislature. Hubbard has maintained his innocence, saying he stayed within the limits of the law, which includes exemptions for longstanding friendships and normal business dealings.

On Thursday, two prominent businessmen testified that they invested in Hubbard's debt-ridden printing company out of friendship and because they thought it would be a good investment.