By Morgan Bryce
A self-reported ethics issue from Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes to the Alabama Ethics Commission has been referred to the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
The Observer obtained a copy of the commission’s April 1 meeting, which had Hughes’s case listed on its agenda. Voting information reveals that two members, Commission Chair Judge Charles Price (Montgomery) and Vice Chair Beverlye Brady (Auburn) abstained from the vote to refer the case.
Because of laws surrounding allegations made against a public official, neither the commission nor Hughes are able to comment on the fine details of the alleged ethics issue.
“Several months ago, I self-reported a possible ethics issue to the Alabama Ethics Commission. I reached out to them to explain what was going on and to ask them if, in fact, what I was doing constituted a breach of any ethical standard,” Hughes said in a written statement. “They said they could not advise me, so, out of an abundance of caution, I ended the action; I was later notified the commission was conducting a review. I cooperated fully and transparently, voluntarily answering every question asked, as well as providing all documentation requested.”
According to information provided on the commission website, ethics issues or violations are initiated by a complaint, which must be filed by a person or persons with “credible and verifiable information supporting the allegations contained in the complaint.” The commission “is prohibited from accepting verbal, anonymous or unsigned complaints.”
Hughes is asking citizens to look at his track record of the last 18 years and let those speak to his character and integrity.
“I have always put doing what is right above all else in my career. I also want people to understand this has nothing to do with any case I or my office has prosecuted. This was a mistake made out of a lack of knowledge and education and the fact that I self-reported underscores my commitment to doing things the right way. Please know that I will continue to speak out and fight for the citizens of Lee County in order to keep our community safe,” Hughes added.
Follow the Observer more information and updates on this story as it develops.