About a week ago, two members of the Alabama state House – one Republican, one Democrat – announced plans to pursue impeachment against Gov. Bob Bentley (R) over his sex scandal and its broad implications. As AL.com reported yesterday, they weren’t kidding.
State Rep. Ed Henry, following through on plans he announced last week, outlined articles of impeachment he will introduce against Gov. Robert Bentley. […]Henry, a Republican from Hartselle, was joined at a news conference today by Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, minority leader in the House, and Reps. Mike Ball, R-Madison and David Standridge, R-Hayden.The five-page resolution charges Bentley with willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency and offenses of moral turpitude.
Ed Henry is a long-time Bentley foe, so his role in this surprised no one, but what was significant about yesterday’s news conference was the fact that he didn’t stand alone. When one well known critic of the governor calls for his impeachment, it’s easy to roll your eyes; when four state representatives – including three from the governor’s own party – unveil an impeachment resolution, it’s not as easy to dismiss.
It’s worth noting that there are only 12 days remaining in the legislative session in Alabama, and so impeachment proponents intend to move fairly quickly, with a vote eyed for next week. If the impeachment resolution passes the state House by majority vote, the matter would then go to the state Senate for a trial that could, in theory, remove Bentley from office.
Both legislative chambers are run by large Republican majorities. As best as I can tell, there are no headcounts yet about the kind of support impeachment currently enjoys in the state Capitol.
There is, however, some reason to be skeptical about the odds of success for the impeachment push.
As Rachel noted on the show last week, the state House is currently run by a Republican Speaker who’s facing more than 20 felony corruption charges, and Bentley is probably going to be a witness in the case. Don’t be too surprised if the Speaker slows down the impeachment process to help the governor whose support he’ll need to potentially stay out of jail.
Bentley, meanwhile, spent much of yesterday pushing back against the allegations and insisting his personal misdeeds do not warrant removal from office.
And what happens if state lawmakers force the governor’s ouster? Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (R), recently described as “unfit to serve,” would receive a promotion. Ivey said yesterday that she’s ready to take over should the need arise, though the lieutenant governor said she hasn’t spoken to Bentley since the scandal broke.