Member of Congress was FBI informant


WASHINGTON -- Carroll Hubbard Jr., a former member of the House of Representatives from Kentucky, served as an informer for the FBI for about six months this year while trying to avoid prosecution on charges related to his use of campaign contributions, the Justice Department said Saturday.

FBI spokesman Carl Stern said that the investigation of Mr. Hubbard was continuing but that the former member of Congress was no longer working for the bureau.

Mr. Hubbard's role as an informer was disclosed yesterday in the Washington Post, which said that he concluded he had no choice but to cooperate with the bureau after finding himself the target of a federal investigation into his use of campaign money.

The newspaper quoted Mr. Hubbard as saying, "For more than six months, I was an FBI slave," who wore a tape recorder and taped telephone conversations.

But Mr. Stern said, "I understand that his cooperation was voluntary."

Mr. Hubbard, a Democrat from Mayfield, Ky., served 18 years in the House. He was defeated in the Democratic primary last year by Tom Barlow, a Paducah businessman who went on to win the general election and now serves in the House.

Mr. Hubbard could not be reached for comment at his home in Kentucky or at his home in Northern Virginia.

Dennis L. Null, a former law partner of Mr. Hubbard's who represented him in dealings with the government earlier this year, said yesterday: "The congressman was attempting to cooperate with the government to the fullest extent, even at the risk of his own life. He was willing to risk everything in helping the U.S. government."

Justice Department officials said yesterday that the investigation Mr. Hubbard began as part of an inquiry into the House bank scandal. Later, they said, federal agents began investigating whether Mr. Hubbard had misused campaign money and whether he had improperly used members of his congressional staff for political purposes.

Congressional aides said they understood that the FBI was planning to use Mr. Hubbard as part of an undercover investigation of corruption on Capitol Hill, like the Abscam investigation in 1979 and 1980.

As part of Abscam, FBI agents posing as representatives of businessmen and wealthy sheiks solicited favors from members of Congress in return for gifts of cash or securities.

But Mr. Stern said Saturday: "There was no Abscam 2 being planned. There was no large-scale dragnet operation against members of Congress."

Lawmakers criticized the FBI for the Abscam investigation, which many described as entrapment.

Mr. Hubbard had 152 overdrafts at the House bank from July 1988 to October 1991. But the overdrafts were just one factor in his defeat. Another was voters' perception that, as a senior member of the House Banking Committee, he had not been vigilant in monitoring the savings and loan industry.

Mr. Stern and FBI officials refused to describe the nature of the investigation of Mr. Hubbard.

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