Day 3: Lawmakers say Hubbard 'probably' had a conflict of interest

Day 3: Lawmakers say Hubbard 'probably' had a conflict of interest
Norris Green answers questions from defense lawyer Bill Baxley during the Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard trial on Thursday, May 26, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo)
Norris Green answers questions from defense lawyer Bill Baxley during the Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard trial on Thursday, May 26, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Source: Todd Van Emst/ Opelika-Auburn News/ Pool photo)

LEE CO., AL (WSFA) - Eight witnesses took the stand Thursday on the third day of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's ethics trial.


The first witness of the day, Randy Kammerdiener, is one of the owners of Majority Strategies, a political consulting firm the Alabama Republican Party used for political advertising during its takeover of the legislature in 2010.

Hubbard is accused of using his position as chairman of the Alabama GOP to bring money to Craftmaster Printers through Majority Strategies.

Kammerdiener testified that he worked with the Alabama Republican Party and - specifically - Mike Hubbard in 2010.

On the witness stand, he read an email he sent to his business partner, Brett Buerck, saying if they wanted to work with the Alabama GOP they had to use Craftmaster Printers to print their materials. He also read another email that stated they were "forced" to use Craftmaster.

Kammerdiener testified he didn't think his company had any other options to use for printing than Craftmaster, although he didn't say why he felt that way.

While he was questioned by the defense, Kammerdiener testified he "never had a specific conversation with Mike Hubbard saying I had to use Craftmaster."

Kammerdiener also testified Majority Strategies made less profit on the Alabama GOP project because printing was more expensive, and his company wasn't marking up printing like in other projects. The only money they were making was on the design. That means the Alabama GOP was saving money, he testified.


The second witness of the day was Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark). He's Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which controls the general fund budget. Clouse was questioned about a meeting involving the state's Medicaid budget at Hubbard's office.

In the meeting they discussed adding language to the general fund budget that would add a pharmacy benefits manager to manage the prescription drug program for Medicaid recipients.

Hubbard and a lobbyist for the American Pharmacy Cooperative, Ferrell Patrick, were present at the meeting. APCI wanted this language added to the budget.

Hubbard is accused of violating ethics law by using his position as speaker to make money from APCI as a consultant and also voting on this legislation when he allegedly had a conflict of interest.

Clouse testified he did not know Hubbard was being paid as a consultant for APCI at the time of these discussions about the PBM. Clouse said he learned of Hubbard's contract with APCI after the 2013 legislative session had already ended.

The state specifically asked Clouse if he felt Hubbard had a conflict of interest after he learned about the contract, and Clouse responded "probably so."


The third witness to take the stand, Norris Green, was the director of the Legislative Fiscal Office. He also testified that he was not aware Hubbard was under contract with ACPI.

He said Jason Isbell, the legal counsel for the speaker's office at the time, gave him language to put in the substitute version of the budget. The language was put into the budget as it was submitted, and that was the budget the House voted on.


Both witnesses worked in the LFO during the 2013 legislative session, along with Norris Green.

They testified about being involved in meetings and discussions Hubbard, members of the speaker's staff, and Patrick about adding language to the bill that had to do with adding a pharmacy benefits manager to the Medicaid system.


The final three witnesses of the day testified on the reaction at Medicaid when they learned about the pharmacy benefits manager language that was added to the budget.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar testified that it was widely known the Alabama Medicaid Agency was exploring the idea of using a PBM, but they were trying to weigh all of the factors involved and hadn't decided yet if they should go forward with it.

Director of Clinical Services for Medicaid Kelli Littlejohn testified that when she found out about the PBM being added to the budget and read the language in the bill, she immediately called Azar because it was an "urgent concern."

Azar said Littlejohn's call was the first she had heard of the additional language, and she could "quickly tell it was going to be an issue." She then called former State Health Officer Williamson, who also didn't know about the addition of the PBM language.

Littlejohn testified that she was concerned about Medicaid being mandated to use a PBM and that her understanding was APCI would be the only PBM that would fit the criteria in the bill.

The bill passed the House that night and Hubbard voted in favor of it, but the language in question was eventually changed.

The defense's questioning suggested Hubbard's vote wasn't an issue, because the language never went into law.

Testimony will continue Friday. Several officials from southeast Alabama are scheduled to testify along with people connected to Majority Strategies and APCI.

Here's a recap of Wednesday's court events, which focused on Hubbard's businesses and his consulting contracts with several companies.

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