Why Alabama's governor resigned - and what's next
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 22:38
After an escalating year-long controversy, Bentley resigned ahead of impeachment hearings and was booked in jail on Monday, pleading guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance charges.
Last week, the Alabama Ethics Commission cited evidence that Bentley broke state ethics and campaign laws and referred the matter to prosecutors who could have sought felony charges tougher than the misdemeanors to which Bentley pleaded guilty.
The Alabama Ethics Committee said that Bentley might have broken state laws in his attempts to cover up his affair.
It was a stunning downfall for the governor, a Republican who acknowledged in March 2016 that he had made sexually charged remarks to his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
"Over time, the nature of the Bentley-Mason relationship also became more obvious to the governor's staff", the report read.
His wife's chief of staff Heather Hannah also claimed that Bentley told her she would "never work in the state of Alabama again" if she told anyone about the affair, the 130-page ethics report outlines.
Ivey is taking the reins of a state in political turmoil, and not just because of the circumstances that catapulted her into office.
Bentley was a dermatologist and church deacon before he ran for governor seven years ago on a platform of preaching the virtues of family values, with Dianne Bentley, his wife of almost 50 years, by his side. He led Ivey through her first oath of office in 2003.
According to Sharman's investigative report, filed last week, Bentley was desperate to keep the allegations from spreading beyond the Governor's Mansion, where they were apparently well-known among staffers.
"I think between her and the leadership in the House and Senate, we'll continue to progress", he said.
And Thomason said while she doesn't place all of PACT's shortcomings on Ivey, she still has her doubts.
Under the deal, Bentley will be required to perform 100 hours of community service and will forfeit $37,000 of his campaign funds.
Bentley, a medical doctor who served in the United States Air Force, served two terms after getting elected Governor in 2010. Among the first casualties of the new administration: Jon Mason, the husband of ex-Governor Robert Bentley's once top aide, Rebekah Mason, with whom he was accused of having an affair.
"Republican corruption has spread like kudzu throughout our state", Democratic Party chair Nancy Worley said in a statement.
"It's really time for us to look ahead and start moving forward on more pressing matters", Republican Sen.
Bentley had vowed as recently as Friday not to resign, saying he had done nothing illegal. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley plans to resign over allegations he covered up an affair. Her earliest involvement in politics came during high school student when she served as lieutenant governor at Alabama Girls State, according to her official biography.