Bill would let officials solicit money for criminal defense

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A bill moving in the Alabama Legislature would allow public officials to solicit money from lobbyists and others for criminal defense funds.

Tom Albritton, director of the Alabama Ethics Commission said Monday that the bill would be a significant step backward for public ethics in Alabama.

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved the bill by a 62-16 vote. House Speaker Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges.

Albritton says the ethics commission does not support the bill.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jack Williams says public officials should be able to start criminal defense funds because of the high legal fees in such cases.

Williams said he did not introduce the bill because of the speaker’s case, but said that he would benefit from the legislation.

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