MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) – In the remaining months leading up to November, the two candidates vying for Alabama attorney general will have around $1 million cash on hand a piece, though one of the candidates has received much of his support from political action committees chaired by a lobbyist who once pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme.
As of Monday, Republican Attorney General Luther Strange has more than $1.1 million remaining in his war chest in his bid for re-election, campaign finance records show.
His Democratic rival, Joseph Hubbard Jr., has at his disposal $942,065.50 – a sum primarily supplied by a variety of PACs that are all chaired by the same individual, Montgomery lobbyist and former state Sen. John Teague.
In 2001, Teague and his fellow lobbyist Johnny Moore, along with former Alabama Transportation Director Jimmy Butts, pleaded guilty to charges in a bribery case that funneled money to support Butts’ son racing career, according to an Oct. 30, 2001, article in The Gadsden Times.
Teague, who received a full pardon months after bring convicted, was accused of serving as the conduit for the illegal money and pleaded guilty to charges of an ethics breach and of filing false tax returns.
Thirteen years later, Teague’s PACs have put $1 million into Hubbard’s campaign coffers, campaign finance records show.
The most recent donations came on May 6, with three separate donations of $250,000 coming from A PAC, Speed PAC and T PAC. The $750,000 is in addition to a $250,000 contribution supplied by a Teague PAC at the start of Hubbard’s campaign.
Teague chairs all three PACs, according to alabamavotes.gov.
And the financial source fueling those PACs is Poarch Band of Creek Indians, with around $2 million in donations made to Teague-chaired committees, according to campaign finance reports.
The Native American tribe operates Indian casinos within the state, including the fairly new casino in Wetumpka, which has been the subject of a lawsuit brought by Strange over electronic bingo machines that the Attorney General’s Office contends should not be permitted within the state.
Hubbard has openly criticized Strange for his stance against the tribe under federal jurisdiction, while Strange has openly criticized Hubbard for taking money from gambling interests.
So far in the 2014 election cycle, Hubbard has raised a total of $1,134,475.38.
His opponent, Strange, had more than $1.1 million on hand at the start of the election cycle and has since raised $833,803.
Some of Strange’s larger contributors include:
-Farm PAC with a $25,000 donation on July 30;
-Raga Alabama PAC with a $50,000 donation on April 28;
-A $25,000 donation made by Jay Grinney (CEO HealthSouth) on March 27;
-Alfa Mutual Fire Insurance made a $25,000 donation on March 13; and
-Linda Smith contributed $25,000 on March 13.
Reach David Yates at email@example.com