Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall has recused himself from an ongoing investigation into the office of Gov. Robert Bentley, who appointed Marshall to his new position only five days ago to fill a vacancy left by the appointment of Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate. A news release from Marshall’s office on Wednesday offered the first official confirmation that an investigation of Bentley’s office has been occurring within the AG’s office — one that’s been suspected since allegations the governor used state funds to facilitate an affair with former staff member Rebekah Mason were first made public in...Read More
Gov. Robert Bentley announced his appointment of state Attorney General Luther Strange as Alabama’s next United States senator last Thursday. Strange, a Republican, replaces Jeff Sessions, who was recently confirmed as U.S. Attorney General. Strange had already announced his intention to run for the seat in a special election, even if he had not been chosen to serve by the governor in the interim. “I am greatly honored and humbled to accept the appointment to Alabama’s Senate seat vacated by Sen. Jeff Sessions,” Strange said. “Sen. Sessions’ commitment to public service is nearly unparalleled in Alabama history and his departure from the Senate leaves tremendous shoes to fill. I pledge to the people of Alabama to continue the same level of leadership as Jeff Sessions in consistently fighting to protect and advance the conservative values we all care about.” Strange was only one of about 20 candidates considered by the governor as a potential replacement for Sessions, but he had long been seen as the frontrunner. The appointment of Strange to replace Sessions brings up questions of a potential conflict of interest on the part of Gov. Bentley, as impeachment proceedings against Bentley were halted when then-Attorney General Strange asked that they be delayed because of his office’s “active investigations” about “related work.” “I respectfully request that the committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to...Read More
(Below is a draft of the State of the State address Gov. Robert Bentley should have delivered to the Alabama Legislature, had he been realistic. It’s the 2017 “Stink of the State” Address.) Lt Gov. Ivey, Speaker McCutcheon, convicted felon Mike Hubbard, President Marsh, suspended Chief Justice Moore, members of the Alabama Legislature, my special guest, and my fellow Alabamians, After more than six years in office, it’s an honor and a surprise to still be the governor of Alabama. I know that during my time in Alabama’s top job, I’ve hurt quite a few people, including the most...Read More
(The following is one of billions of possible conversations that might have taken place at 30,000 feet last week aboard “Luv Guv 1” — Alabama’s state jet — as it hauled Gov. Robert Bentley, his ex-aide and alleged mistress Rebekah Mason, her husband Jon Mason and various office staff to the presidential inauguration. Let’s listen in …) Bentley: “Oh, Rebekah, I’m so glad you and Jim could be here today as we fly to our nation’s capital to watch President Trump take control. This is almost as exciting as checking an entire high school cheerleading squad for skin cancer!”...Read More
The accreditation of Alabama’s more than two dozen community and technical colleges is safe — for now — but the agency tasked with overseeing institutions of higher education across the entire Southern United States has made it clear: When it comes to his role in Alabama’s higher education system, the accrediting body wants Gov. Robert Bentley sacked. In a letter to legislative leadership ahead of the upcoming regular session in Montgomery, Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ (SACS) Commission on Colleges, expressed concerns on behalf of her organization that Bentley’s positions as head of...Read More
About The Author
Lee Hedgepeth writes Montgomery Minute, our state politics column. Lee graduates in May with a B.A. in political science from the University of South Alabama, where he served as a 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. He has previously worked for various statewide political news organizations, including Inside Alabama Politics and Alabama Political Reporter, for which he covered the state legislature full time in 2013. In addition to completing his degree this year, Lee also works part time as a consultant for USA’s Writing Center, where he helps students, faculty, and alumni hone their composition skills.