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.

Robert Bentley

Zeigler: Amendment would make impeaching Bentley impossible

When voters take to the polls Nov. 8, they’ll be deciding much more than who will be the newest residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. After the options for president, the handful of candidates seeking statewide office and below the lengthy list of potential constables, there are 14 constitutional amendments Alabama residents will be asked to consider — including one State Auditor Jim Zeigler has dubbed Gov. Robert Bentley’s “Get Out of Impeachment Free Card.” That ballot measure, Amendment Six, reads as follows: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to become operative January 1, 2017, to...

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AG: ‘No basis’ for Bentley investigation of Collier

Alabama’s former top law official, Spencer Collier, has been cleared of allegations made by Gov. Robert Bentley the day before Collier blew the whistle on the governor’s affair with his former communications officer. Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Luther Strange released a statement saying his office and a grand jury never found any “credible basis” for the criminal inquiry Bentley initiated into Collier’s conduct when he served as secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Bentley announced Collier’s termination March 22, after stating an ALEA Integrity Unit had uncovered “a number of issues, including possible misuse of state funds”...

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Bentley blames everyone but himself

A newly released recording of a state representative’s 2015 phone conversation with Gov. Robert Bentley sheds new light on Bentley’s state of mind — and failure to take responsibility — in the days following his divorce from former First Lady Dianne Bentley and the revelation that he had an inappropriate relationship with a top adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. In the recording, Bentley sternly but unconvincingly seems to shift blame for his recent personal and political woes from himself to others, including “casino gambling” supporters and to the former First Lady. Muriel Farley, whose husband State Rep. Allen Farley speaks to the governor on the phone call, recently released the recording to conservative blog Yellowhammer News after publishing a personal blog post entitled “Dianne Bentley, My Friend,” in which she reflects that she regrets not being more supportive of the former First Lady in the days after the governor’s scandal began to unfold. “Maybe, just maybe, I could have picked up on something different about [Dianne Bentley] and been there to help,” Muriel Farley writes in the post. “Maybe, just maybe, her eyes didn’t glitter like they had in previous years. Maybe, just maybe, she needed a shoulder to lean on. So, I now regret my poor decision.” Farley had stopped attending a Bible study class sometimes led by Dianne Bentley after her husband’s relationship with Gov. Bentley deteriorated following...

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Zeigler continues efforts to remove Gov. Bentley

While the main consideration of the Alabama Legislature’s Aug. 15 special session will be a proposal to create a state-sponsored lottery, State Auditor Jim Zeigler is asking House members to consider removing Gov. Robert Bentley from office while they’re in Montgomery. Specifically, Zeigler has requested the House Judiciary Committee report “at least one article of impeachment” against Bentley during the special session — a request he made to committee Chairman Rep. Mike Jones earlier this week. In a speech to the Wetumpka Rotary Club on Tuesday, Zeigler asked that the Judiciary Committee schedule a meeting before or on Aug....

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Bentley shifts blame for confidentiality agreements

After announcing changes to the way coastal insurance policies are written on the Gulf Coast, Gov. Robert Bentley was once again confronted with questions about a growing number of scandals plaguing his office. Bentley has spent most of the last six weeks denying allegations of a long-running affair with his former political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, but recent reports have alleged the governor also forced the members of staff to sign confidentiality agreements in an attempt to keep their relationship under wraps. In Spanish Fort on Tuesday, Bentley denied any involvement with making staff sign the confidentiality agreements, saying it was his former chief of staff Seth Hammett’s idea. “I did not do that, that was done by my chief of staff at the time, Seth Hammett,” Bentley said. “He made a lot of changes, and I allowed him to do those things. But that was his idea and that’s why we did it.” Bentley went on to defend the confidentiality agreements, arguing that other state administrations and corporations have similar policies. “This is something that is modeled after many states,” Bentley told reporters. “Many states do that. I don’t know that all of them do, but many do. Corporations do that. (Hammett) is actually the one who came up with that idea.” Hammett, who resigned from Bentley’s office in October of 2015, left with some controversy after it...

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Bentley has plenty of questions to answer

The empty chair in State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s office Monday served as a perfect allegory for what Gov. Robert Bentley has become. In the wake of the scandal that erupted from revelations about his bizarre relationship with former chief adviser Rebekah Mason, Bentley is a king without a throne. While no one could possibly have expected Bentley to show up and be grilled publicly during Zeigler’s made-for-TV event, it’s doubtful the governor could have walked in and successfully answered tough questions, even if he wanted to do so. Interview opportunities with the Luv Guv have become rare since tapes secretly recorded by his ex-wife went public, causing anyone with half a brain to seriously doubt whether Bentley and Mason’s affair denials over the past year had been truthful. But even after everyone got to hear Bentley discuss his favorite method of grabbing Mason’s boobs and talk of moving his beleaguered secretary, Wanda, away from his office door so she might not hear whatever noises they make, the governor has continued to deny a physical affair with his powerful and well-paid former adviser. When Bentley has appeared in public, he’s been as snippy as a Yorkshire terrier. He snaps at reporters and dictates what he will and won’t talk about, as if that’s going to stop journalists from asking about the scandal that could drive him from office or get...

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Ignoring impeachment, Bentley talks ‘jobs’ in Mobile

Dodging questions about the ongoing efforts to remove him from office, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley held a ceremonial signing of the Alabama Renewal Act in the Port of Mobile on Friday. Introduced by State Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), the Act aims to stimulate economic growth throughout the state by extending tax deductions to companies investing into projects in pre-existing industrial areas and complexes. “That deals with economic development in all parts of the state,” Bentley said. “Those areas can be used to recruit jobs, and the tax credits that can be given in those areas will help develop additional...

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Bentley gets a visit

Robert Bentley lay in bed staring into the darkness, flipping on a flashlight every now and then to look at a small photo of a woman, kind of like Tom Hanks did in “Castaway.” His woman was gone now. Back to Tuscaloosa. He sniffled and wiped away a tear with the tip of his nightcap. He’d started sleeping in one years before because he thought a verse in the Old Testament advised covering one’s head while sleeping so the Devil couldn’t get in. Rebekah had gotten him this particular Brooks Brothers cap that was even softer than her hair....

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