Alabama Republicans Could Impeach Gov. Bentley
The Alabama Ethics Commission’s next meeting is April 5 and the topic of whether Gov. Robert Bentley (R) should be impeached could come up for discussion.
And just in case this does hit the fan, the Associated Press reported contracts for top-dollar lawyers on both sides of the case had been signed, sealed and delivered.
The Alabama House has added $160,000 to the contract of special counsel Jack Sharman. He will now make at least $350,000.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bentley’s administration signed a deal with attorney Ross Garber for an extra $85,000 on top of the $100,000 he was already earning from defending the governor.
All will be paid with state funds.
Bentley has been accused of misusing state resources and property in connection with his alleged affair with his former communications director and political advisor, Rebekah Mason.
Both Bentley and Mason have denied any wrongdoing.
However, Bentley has admitted making inappropriate comments to Mason. For instance, he said in one phone conversation with her, “You know what. When I stand behind you and I put my arms around you and I put my hands on your breasts.”
Bentley could hardly dispute the veracity of that charge.
As PJM reported, his now ex-wife recorded the whole phone call for posterity.
“But baby, lemme tell you what we’re gonna have to do tonight,” Bentley added in the recorded phone call. “Start locking the door. If we’re gonna do what we did the other day, we’re gonna have to start locking the door.”
PJM also reported that during a March 23, 2016, press conference, in which he was described as “nervous” and “awkward,” Bentley said he felt he had to “apologize to the people of the state of Alabama” for his relationship with Mason.
The confession before reporters in Montgomery came a couple of hours after several people who worked for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, including the former head of the ALEA, pushed the Bentley-Mason affair into the public spotlight.
Mason resigned from the Bentley administration. But her husband — yes, she was married at the time of the alleged affair — still makes more than $91,000 a year as head of Serve Alabama, a state agency.
The Alabama House Judiciary Committee voted March 8 to direct special counsel Jack Sharman to get back to his investigation of impeachment articles against Bentley.
The committee’s investigation was stalled in November due to an order from former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. But now that Strange has been appointed to fill out U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ term in the Senate, the probe has been reopened.
The committee directive to Sharman ordered him to "resume his activities and investigation and to coordinate as much as is practical and possible with any other related investigations and proceedings so that we will stand better ready to move forward with public hearings when appropriate.”