The Graftmaster Two-Step: Hubbard 'Doe-See-Does' with Rogers…
Recent reader comments suggest last year’s columns were more ‘watchdog-like’ than opinin’. After assuring commenters my goal remains to evoke thought as established by the assigned “THINK” moniker, I’m asked who I consider the most effective watchdogs in our State. My ‘big three from A to Z’ dogs include Bill Britt’s courageous reporting on ethics violations, John Rice’s anti-corruption efforts via the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government (AFLG) and ‘waste cutter’ Jim Ziegler’s accomplishments as State Auditor. Joint effort between two of these watchdogs (Britt & Rice) shepherded me toward this month’s column.
In Nov. 2010, Beth Rogers (Congressman Mike Rogers’ spouse) narrowly won a Calhoun Co. District judgeship election. Some assert ‘Graftmaster moneychanging’ made the difference in her margin of victory. According to Mr. Britt’s 1/13/16 Alabama Political Reporter (APR) article, 2010 campaign finance records show Rep. Mike Hubbard’s Network PAC received money from Congressman Rogers’ federal campaign account. Hubbard’s PAC then donated to State lawmakers who made contributions to Beth Rogers’ campaign. Money transferred from Rogers to Hubbard (who then contributed to the State law-makers he picked) was followed by strikingly similar ‘two-step’ contributions to Beth Rogers’ judicial campaign. One retired legislator, speaking on background for the APR article, alleges Hubbard approached him about a two-to-one swap where each lawmaker contributing to Mrs. Rogers’ campaign would receive double the amount donated to her from Network PAC. Messrs. Britt and Rice note about 30 Republican lawmakers made donations to Mrs. Rogers’ campaign, with many receiving double their donation from Hubbard’s Network PAC. Mrs. Rogers served as treasurer of Congressman Rogers’ federal campaign account; Rep. Hubbard closed Network PAC prior to his 23 felony count indictments of public corruption.
An example of what appears to be one of the two-for-one swaps, Rep. Jack Williams’ campaign made a $1,500 contribution to Mrs. Rogers on May 5, 2010; five days later Hubbard’s Network PAC gave Williams a $3,000 contribution. A smaller example provided was the April 27, 2010 Rep. Mike Ball $250 donation to Mrs. Rogers then Ball receives $500 from Network PAC two weeks later on May 10, 2010. This moneychanger pattern and practice is repeated with other State lawmaker’s who donated to Mrs. Rogers campaign. An abbreviated list of other noteworthy NET PAC “Graftmaster Two-Step” type moneychanging from May 2010 entries include:
- April 26 Owen Drake donated $250 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Owen Drake
- April 27 Greg Canfield donated $250 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $500 to Greg Canfield
- May 3 Blaine Galliher donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Blaine Galliher
- May 3 Cam Ward donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Cam Ward
- May 3 Elwyn Thomas donated $100 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $250 to Elwyn Thomas
- May 3 Howard Sanderford donated $100 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $500 to Howard Sanderford
- May 3, Jamie Ison donated $250 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $1,000 to Jamie Ison
- May 3 Jim Barton donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $3,500 to Jim Barton
- May 3 Jim McClendon donated $ 250 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $500 to Jim McClendon
- May 3 Mike Hill donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Mike Hill
- May 3 Pat Moore donated $200 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $400 to Pat Moore
- May 3 Steve Claus donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $2,500 to Steve Claus
- May 3 Todd Greeson donated $1,500 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $3,000 to Todd Greeson
- May 7 Mac Gipson donated $200 to Beth Rogers; May 10 NET PAC donates $500 to Mac Gipson
- May 8 Chad Fincher donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; September 17 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Chad Fincher
- May 18 Randy Wood donated $1,000 to Beth Rogers; September 29 NET PAC donates $2,000 to Randy Wood.
One can find similar ‘two-step moneychanges’ outside NET PAC, for instance Nov. 12 Stephen Hurst donates $1,000 to Beth Rogers; Nov. 15 Mike Rogers for Congress donates $2,000 to Stephen Hurst. Don’t expect any legislator to have the courage or integrity to expel this sort moneychanger obfuscation on Goat Hill. The rational forecast is more ‘ethics law reforms’ to grandstand on the issue and make it even more difficult to discipline in the courts. The most pathetic sycophants claim these laundering amounts are small but it only requires one felony conviction on the smallest amount to remove each participant. Little wonder former State Senator Rice is the one who connected the dots and first reported this ‘two-step’ hide the ball activity on WACV’s News & Views radio show. It was disheartening how few covered (much less understood) Rice’s ‘Double Dark Money’ fight during the AFLG’s anti-corruption campaign last election cycle. It is dizzying to watch the money go back and forth - esp. with DSA PAC (managed by Mr. Swatek) in the mix. In April, Congressman Rogers transferred $20,000 from his federal account to Hubbard’s Network PAC. About a week later donations from legislators began to flow into Mrs. Rogers’ campaign account. In May, Rogers contributed $20,000 Network PAC; in July he contributed $35,000; and in October he made two contributions of $5000 and $10,000. Congressman Rogers’ federal campaign account transferred approx. $90,000 to Hubbard’s Network PAC; Hubbard’s PAC gave around $50,000 in contributions to State lawmakers. For a more detailed list and links to more campaign transfer data go to Capitol Hotline’s Jan. 17th FB link: https://www.facebook.com/Capitol-Hotline-511116412268940/
Those who’ve read past columns understand the many shortcomings with Congressman Rogers long before his moneychanger laundering with Hubbard was revealed. He was one of the most notable sycophants on the “I Believe in Mike Hubbard” stage as they circled the wagons around Speaker Hubbard following his 23 felony indictments. Hard to imagine Rogers doesn’t know the character and integrity of Mr. Hubbard to realize how deleterious he’s been to our State and the general welfare of his district. Doesn’t really matter if the Congressman is too incompetent to identify corruption or the more likely truth he aids, privately benefits from and abets Hubbard - the harm is nonetheless profound. According to Govtrack.us (InsideGov and OpenSecrets.org - Center for Responsive Politics) Rogers ranked among the 35 least effective of our 435 House of Representative members based on voting record, introduction and passing of bills. Given what he’s likely to champion, I consider his ineffectiveness a blessing with only one piece of legislation passed he’s sponsored during 13 years of Congressional ‘service.’ VoteSmart documents Mike Rogers consistently voting for Continuing Resolutions instead of standing firm for a budget as one of the few tasks assigned him in the Constitution. The last budget passed was in 1997 under Clinton/Gingrich; seems Congress has become increasingly more comfortable not adhering to their oath of office these past decades. Of twelve transparency bills introduced, Rogers didn’t sponsor or co-sponsor ANY of them.
Even more illustrative, Rogers is a member of the sub-committee on Border Security - almost as effective as his ‘standing up against Obama with our incompetent Senators – long on rhetoric, short on accomplishment. Beginning his 14th year in the House of Representatives, Rogers is adamantly opposed to term limits, but is too ignorant or complicit (does it matter?) to address the problem of the unconstitutional 435 limit which exacerbates hyper-gerry mandering, removing restrictive ballot access laws, etc. Rogers voted for the 2008 bailout/first TARP which has prolonged the economic downturn and further impedes recovery; voted to raise the debt ceiling 4 times to discourage fiscal discipline. Given my time in the real world at FoMoCo a pet peeve is his yes vote on Cash for Clunkers harming the environment by removing durable/ recyclable used vehicles and raising transportation costs for lower income drivers. More recently (June 18, 2015) Rogers helped approve the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill to further empower presidents’ unconstitutional “fast-track” trade agreements including the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). October 28, 2015, Mike Rogers was one of 79 Republicans who just voted to raise the debt ceiling yet again, which further sabotages small government conservatives’ efforts to curb the Bush/Obama reckless spending we’ve observed these past decades. Nov. 4, 2015, Mike Rogers again voted with big government Republocrats to reject an amendment to prohibit the Export-Import Bank from providing loans/guarantees distorting world markets with more cronyism. The Lee County Patriots of Liberty T.E.A. party made a strong effort to get Rogers to ‘do right’ on this one - it was met with the usual disdainful disregard we’ve come to expect from this ‘public servant.’ Don’t expect Rogers (or Sessions, Sewell, Shelby) to be there for you when a federal agency abuses their authority to make you homeless in Alabama - they’ve made it clear they do not care about their constituent’s civil rights, esp. when it gets in the way of empowering their master and the wealth transfers they promote for special interests over the general welfare.
In closing, the Jan. 10th resolution of the Alabama Republican Party steering committee, “request Mike Hubbard to suspend his role as Speaker until his trial is complete, and the indictments against him are resolved,” provides some hope this sort of unethical ‘Graftmaster two-step’ will not be sanctioned by ALL in this party allowed back into our State to reaffirm they’re the same “Ole Party of Grand Theft” and hegemony. It would be revealing to see if this small majority would hold if the entire Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee had the courage to address and vote on this matter. Many are simply relabeled modern Democrats (think Dial, Shelby, et al) who have no party loyalty beyond it being the vehicle of opportunity to accomplish their grand theft from the public; no different than the bank robber’s loyalty to his get-away car until a better one comes along…
Postscript: given comments about SCV Commander Carlyle’s photo inserted in last month’s column and my August 15th column on the murder of Mr. Anthony Hervey, I was delighted to see one of my favorite positive economists, Prof. Walter Williams, revisit this tragic loss: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/01/walter-e-williams/blacks-confederacy/ I can still see/hear Mr. Hervey in my mind speaking before the Birmingham crowd, “Tell the truth; shame the devil!” Seems there’s still no shortage of those willing to kill to advance their hatred - we’ll see if those responsible are brought to justice for ending a life which indeed mattered. Hervey authored a book entitled "Why I wave the Confederate Flag: Written by a Black Man." Well-known for donning a Confederate uniform and waving a Battle flag on the Oxford square, he’d often attract a crowd as he spoke about the history and his views on the subject. The South lost one of her native sons who exemplified the best Spirit in the Heart of Dixie.