Robert Bentley

Gov. Robert Bentley resigned on April 10, 2017 after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors related to campaign financing. Bentley had also been under fire for more than a year after intimate recordings between he and his political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason were captured and released by his ex-wife and former First Lady Dianne Bentley. Lagniappe's collection of news stories and commentary is below.
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Robert Bentley

Governor resigns amid personal, political failures

While former Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation ended what was nearly the first impeachment of a top politician in Alabama history, the cloud of the Republican’s misdeeds will likely loom large in Montgomery for some time to come. Last Friday, the House Judiciary Committee’s special counsel, Jack Sharman, released a 131-page report that is the result of multiple interviews, statements and other evidence collected by the committee totaling thousands of pages. The report and its accompanying exhibits provide an intimate view of the tangled web Alabama’s 53rd governor had woven for himself prior to his formal fall from power. Capitol...

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Bentley deserved more than he got

From Ardmore, Alabama’s most northern settlement, to The Bayou in the south and all the way to state lines east and west, a giant flushing sound could be heard Monday afternoon as the tired, pathetic saga of the Luv Guv ended the way we all knew it had to — with him leaving office. This unlikely, gawky, churchy dermatologist came out of nowhere to take the governor’s office six years ago and for the most part he delivered what can best be described as a slow-speed train full of kittens crashing into a school bus loaded with baby seals....

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These magic moments: 10 nuggets from the Bentley scandal

Much of the report released by Jack Sharman, special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, which considered former Gov. Robert Bentley’s impeachment, has been widely reported. It’s 131 pages, and the thousands of pages of accompanying evidence have been required reading for Alabama’s political press over the last week. Still, though, there’s plenty of material — lots of magic moments — that haven’t yet been brought to the public’s attention. Here are 12 you should know about from the report. You may want to sit down. 1. In one of the recordings handed over to the impeachment committee by...

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Bentley resigns as governor following plea deal

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced his resignation after being booked on violations of campaign finance law this afternoon — bringing an end to a year-long scandal surrounding his admittedly inappropriate relationship with a former staff member. Despite recent claims that he had “no intention of resigning,” Bentley’s announcement on Monday was all but certain following action taken last week by the Alabama Ethics Commission, which found he had violated state ethics and campaign laws on four occasions. Those charges were alleged he’d used his campaign funds and state resources to facilitate and ultimately cover up an alleged affair with...

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ALGOP to Bentley: ‘Immediately resign’

After a week rocked by developments in the unfolding scandal engulfing Gov. Robert Bentley, an Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee has asked for Bentley’s resignation. The request was made via resolution on Sunday evening — on the evening of a House Impeachment committee meeting where members are expected to discuss the results of a damning report released by a special investigator last week. The ALGOP Steering Committee praised the Alabama House of Representatives, the Alabama Senate and the Alabama Supreme Court for “ their diligence in the impeachment process” and for “putting partisan politics aside for the people of...

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Impeachment committee releases report damning Bentley

By: Lee Hedgepeth The committee considering the impeachment of Gov. Robert Bentley has issued a lengthy report outlining the two-term Republican’s alleged misdeeds in office. The report, which was released while the governor’s legal team argued in court to prevent its publication, pours fuel on the political and legal fire the state’s chief executive has found himself in since his extramarital relationship with former top aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason went public last year. The 131-page report was compiled by the House Judiciary Committee’s special counsel, Jack Sharman, and is the result of interviews, statements, and other evidence collected by the committee totalling thousands of pages. It gives weight to many of the claims made by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier, who Bentley fired after Collier cooperated with authorities conducting the criminal probe of then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Collier filed suit against Bentley, claiming he was fired not only because of his cooperation with law enforcement, but also because he refused to facilitate and cover up the governor’s affair with Mason. “Governor Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks intended to protect his reputation,” Sharman’s report concludes. Then, page after page, the report sets out a narrative of Gov. Bentley allegedly doing just that, particularly in...

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Ethics commission says Bentley violated law, recommends charges

After more than nine hours in a closed-door session on Wednesday, the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that Gov. Robert Bentley broke state ethics and campaign finance laws on four occasions. The commission began its regularly scheduled meeting at 9:30 a.m., then went into executive session to hear testimony from a number of witnesses including Bentley, whose staff and security attempted to shield him from the press’ view. Bentley has been under fire since his admittedly inappropriate relationship with former staffer Rebekah Caldwell Mason went public over a year ago. While Bentley has admitted to having “inappropriate conversations”...

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Impeachment, criminal probe of Bentley moving forward

The Alabama House of Representatives committee considering the impeachment of Gov. Robert Bentley voted unanimously last week to move forward with its investigation of the state’s embattled chief executive. Bentley has been under fire since his extramarital relationship with a former staffer was revealed in early 2016. The 9-0 decision by the House Judiciary Committee was a reversal of the the body’s previous course of action, which — pursuant to a letter from former state Attorney General Luther Strange — had been to halt the legislative investigation into the governor until related work was completed by law enforcement. Just over two months after that letter effectively put the impeachment process on hold, Bentley appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions’ ascent to the position of U.S. Attorney General, a move some politicos said “stinks.” “By the attorney general vacating the office, the governor gets to single-handedly choose a lawyer to investigate him and his girlfriend,” Jim Zeigler, Alabama’s Republican state auditor, said of the appointment. “The whole thing stinks … We’ve had real problems in state government in Alabama over the past year. It’s got the potential to get much worse.” That sentiment — that Bentley would replace his own investigator — clearly held some weight, as Steven Marshall, Strange’s replacement as state AG, recused himself from the investigation of the governor soon after taking...

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