April 2, 2016
Southern Torch (3425 articles)
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Alabama Legislators call for Bentley’s resignation

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala—The plot thickens for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley this week with the calls from legislators suggesting that Bentley step down or face impeachment charges that could eventually lead to his removal from office.

State Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, reported to the Associated Press Wednesday that he intends to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bentley next week in the wake of the ongoing scandal with the governor’s office involving an alleged affair with former top political aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, was quoted in an article by Alabama Media Group on Wednesday as confirming that Henry plans to introduce the articles of impeachment against the governor in the Alabama House of Representatives next week. Ford said “over half” of the House is in favor of impeachment. Only a majority vote is needed to impeach the governor in the Alabama House, but the measure must then be confirmed in the Senate by two thirds majority vote for removal from office.

Ford said that he did not know what charges would be leveled against Bentley in the impeachment articles, but said the move is necessary because “the governor has lost the trust of the people of Alabama.” He also said that the impeachment process gained credibility since it’s being drafted by a Republican legislator in Rep. Ed Henry.

Southern Torch will point out however, that while Bentley and Rep. Henry are indeed both Republicans, the two also have a long track record of repeated conflicts regarding Bentley’s attempts during the 2015 Alabama Legislative Session and ensuing 2015 Special Legislative Sessions to raise taxes in order to balance the Alabama budget.

Mason announced Wednesday in a statement through the governor’s press office that she would be resigning immediately.

“I have resigned as Senior Political Advisor to Governor Bentley and will no longer be paid from his campaign fund,” Mason said. “I have also ended my work with the Alabama Council For Excellent Government. My only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband who I love dearly.  They are the most important people in my life. Thank you for your prayers for our family.”

The resignation comes one week after Bentley admitted to making inappropriate remarks to Mason, but denied any physical relationship. Bentley’s admission followed the firing of former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Spencer Collier from his post as Alabama’s “Top Cop” for alleged misuse of state funds.

Following his dismissal, Collier reported to local media that Bentley had been involved in an extramarital affair with Mason. The same day, March 23, audio recordings of the alleged Bentley and Mason affair were also leaked to the media. The governor can be heard making a number of sexually suggestive comments to a woman named Rebekah on the recordings.

Despite Mason’s resignation, Bentley said Wednesday that he has no intentions of resigning the office of Governor.

Roughly a week ago, on March 23, Bentley admitted to making inappropriate comments to Mason. The secretly recorded phone conversations were made public by the former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier, who was fired earlier in the week.

Collier said that Bentley confided in him that he was, “madly in love” with Mason and that when he confronted Bentley about the relationship, “Gov. Robert Bentley simply hung his head and asked for advice on how to get out of it,” Collier said.

The phone conversation was reportedly recorded as part of a private investigation conducted on behalf of Bentley’s ex-wife in 2014. In the recording, which was made public today, Bentley can be heard making inappropriate comments in a phone call in which the other party is widely believed to be Mason.

Though Bentley has denied any physical relationship, in a press conference last week he admitted to saying, “some inappropriate things.” He also took the time to apologize to his family and the citizens of Alabama, saying, “Today I want to apologize to the people of the state of Alabama, and once again, I want to apologize to my family. I am truly sorry and accept full responsibility.”

Mason, having served in many roles close to Bentley for years, did not address allegations of a physical relationship or Bentley’s behavior, but responded to claims made by Collier that she, “wields extraordinary influence within the governor’s office.” In a statement, Mason accused the former top-cop of gender bias and that he wouldn’t be making those comments if she were a man. Southern Torch will continue to monitor this story and provide updates on our website as things develop.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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