Given the seriousness of the scandal surrounding Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), many observers have been watching other state Republicans closely, looking for cues about the state of the governor’s support from his ostensible allies. If Bentley is going to somehow survive the controversy, he’ll need Alabama Republicans to rally to his defense.
That’s clearly not happening. Not only is Bentley facing resignation calls from many Republican officials, but the Alabama Media Group reports that one state GOP lawmaker is moving forward with impeachment plans.
State Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, is moving to start impeachment against embattled Gov. Robert Bentley amid the scandal engulfing the governor’s office surrounding his former senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. If the House impeaches Bentley, it would bring the governor one step closer to being removed from office by the legislature.House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, confirmed to AL.com that Henry was planning on bringing the articles of impeachment against the governor as early as next week.
The same report noted that by Ford’s assessment, more than half of the state House’s members are in favor of impeachment, though this will be clearer next week when the chamber returns from its spring break.
Also yesterday, Bentley’s top political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, announced her resignation. Mason is the woman with whom the governor admitting having inappropriate communications, though he claims not to have had a “physical relationship” with her.
“I have resigned as Senior Political Advisor to Governor Bentley and will no longer be paid from his campaign fund,” Mason’s statement read. “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.”
Given that there’s no evidence of official misconduct from Mason, it’s not altogether clear why she has to go while the governor doesn’t.
For his part, Bentley insisted yesterday he doesn’t plan to quit. “The question is being asked by a lot of people across the state if I have any intentions of resigning,” he told reporters. “I have no intentions of resigning. My intentions are to try to make this state better. My intention is to try to work through all the difficulties we are going through.”
The governor also described the scandal, which he first acknowledged publicly a week ago, as “old issues.” The Birmingham News’ John Archibald doesn’t quite see it that way.
“These are not old issues. These are not unimportant issues,” Archibald explained in his latest column. “These are signs of a deep problem, a gaping chasm of trust and failure and harm. This will not go away with assurances that Bentley’s personal problems have been long resolved. It will not go away with Rebekah Mason telling us that she will no longer be paid by the campaign or some shadowy group set up to shuffle money to Bentley’s, um, friend. How can the boss stay just because the object of his affection leaves?”