What’s next for Gov. Bentley?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.”

It seems evident that Gov. Robert Bentley sits in a similar room without imagining the obvious way out.

If our sources are correct, on April 5, the State’s Ethics Commission will hear evidence of possible wrongdoing on his part. How Director Tom Albritton presents the facts of the investigation will be critical to what happens next. Albritton finds himself in the unenviable position of introducing the fruit of an almost year-long investigation. How he presents those facts, what he says and doesn’t say will perhaps mean more than the ethics probe itself.
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Lawsuit compelling US Senate Special Election before 2018 may assure that date sticks

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A cloud hangs over the Special Election to fill the vacancy of Senator Jeff Sessions, and it’s not just that Gov. Robert Bentley called for the election to concur with the 2018 General Election some 22 months later or Bentley’s appointment of his nemesis Luther Strange to fill the post. It goes beyond the question that could have been asked Attorney General Steve Marshall, and the lawsuit being pursued by State Auditor Jim Zeigler. While all of these things have led to questionable motives, varying legal interpretations, and general confusion, one thing remains constant: the number of days on the calendar to minimally meet the constitutional requirements for holding a Special Election.
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Trump administration cutting regulation while State lawmakers do the opposite

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

As the administration of President Donald J. Trump moves to dismantle Obama-era regulations on lending, the opposite is true here in Alabama, where some legislators are pushing for more rules, not less.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration signaled its intentions to roll back and limit the powers of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), as part of the Republican effort to end the Dodd-Frank Act.
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Bentley’s mandatory Cabinet meeting, “Just keeping the team together”

By Bill Britt

Alabama Political Reporter

A mandatory cabinet meeting called by Gov. Robert Bentley sent the chattering class into a frenzied fit of speculation earlier today. The meeting which took place around 1:00 p.m. was not a crisis meeting but one where Bentley assured his closest allies that he was feeling well and wanted to keeping fight for his agenda.

According to those with knowledge of the meeting, Bentley reminded his cabinet that there was a lot that needed to be accomplish over the next two years and that he expected his cabinet members to move toward without hesitation.
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Want Mike Hubbard on your voicemail?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

What’s a convicted felon to do while out on bond?

If you’re the disgraced felon, and former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, you offer to be “the voice” of products and services. In a letter widely distributed to media companies, Hubbard wrote, “Performing voice-overs for various projects has been one of my favorite and most enjoyable jobs during my career in collegiate sports and broadcasting.”
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Longtime educator Jimmy H. Baker appointed ACCS Chancellor

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Community College System board of trustees voted on Wednesday to appoint acting chancellor Jimmy H. Baker as chancellor starting April 1.

Baker, who has served as interim chancellor for more than six months, replaces Mark Heinrich, who retired after being sidelined by a prolonged illness.

“Jimmy Baker has done a tremendous job of leading the system during the chancellor’s absence and has been far more than a place-holder,” said Al Thompson, Vice Chairman of the Community College system’s Board of Trustees. “As we searched for a permanent replacement, we realized we could never find a chancellor who would be more experienced or prepared than Jimmy Baker.”
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Judge sets hearing on US Senate Special Election

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Montgomery County Circuit Judge J. R. Gaines on Tuesday set an injunction hearing arising from a lawsuit challenging the legality of Gov. Robert Bentley’s calling a Special Election to fill the US Senate for 2018, which will be nearly two years after it was vacated by Jeff Sessions who became the US Attorney General this year.

The suit, brought by State Auditor Jim Zeigler and Tommy Chapman, chair of the Conecuh County Democratic Executive Committee and former District Attorney for Conecuh and Monroe Counties, is seeking a mandatory injunction requiring Bentley to reschedule the Special Election.
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Republican Trump supporters upset over alleged Democrat appointees (even though one is not an appointee)

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Republican reaction to a story reprinted by The Montgomery Independent from an original story in Inside Alabama Politics (IAP), has resulted in a petition letter to President Donald Trump asking him not to appoint Democrats to Federal positions in the Middle Judicial District of Alabama.

The petition arose from an IAP report that suggested the Trump administration is considering Louis V. Franklin Sr., for United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and Circuit Judge Greg Griffin as United States Federal Court Judge to replace Judge Myron V. Thompson. While there is no official announcement concerning either position, speculation about Franklin’s appointment as US Attorney for the Middle District appears to be accurate.
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Will Bentley face the Hangman’s noose?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

It may be too late for Governor Robert Bentley to save himself as the gallows of impeachment’s trap door is oiled and ready. There is, however, a chance that the man, Robert Bentley, may be spared the Hangman’s noose; but even that outcome is tenuous at best.

Bentley, like so many men before him, fails to grasp that it is not his alleged affair with the married former staffer, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, or using his position as Governor to destroy perceived political enemies, such as former Law Enforcement Chief Spencer Collier. Hubris is his undoing.
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Ignoring facts about small loans leads to unintended consequences

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Paid political operatives, registered and some unregistered, falsely claiming to be supported by the Alabama Federation of Republican Women are citing old resolutions and outdated press reports to convince some Republican lawmakers to back new legislation to cap all loans at 36 percent interest. The small loan industry says this bill would effectively close down small loan borrowing across the State sending these borrower to online lenders not registered or accountable under State law.
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