Members of AL legislature may be focus of grand jury investigation

Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 at 9:42 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There are rumblings of yet another government corruption investigation in Alabama. WSFA 12 News confirmed Thursday that several state lawmakers have received subpoenas from a grand jury.

Grand jury proceedings are kept secret by law, so the focus of the apparent probe is unclear. However, questionable spending by lawmakers is one possible concern. Under Alabama law it is illegal for state lawmakers to spend campaign finances on items unrelated to their office.

"These are grand jury subpoenas, based upon what little I know," said House Speaker Mac McCutcheon. "There's little talk about those because under the grand jury subpoena system, you don't go out and talk about those things. So there's very little talk among the members."

McCutcheon told WSFA 12 News that campaign finance laws are likely involved.

"Campaign finance and ethics are very important parts of what we do here and it's important that everybody does what they're supposed to be doing," he said. "We'll just let the grand jury do their work."

Using campaign funds for personal gain is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. State law requires lawmakers to report all campaign expenses valued at over $100.

This would be just the latest in a series of corruption investigations in Alabama. Last year former Governor Robert Bentley pleaded guilty to charges related to campaign finance violations. The year before that, former House Speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted on 12 felony ethics charges. Bentley resigned from office following a well-publicized scandal. Hubbard was sentenced to four years in prison.

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