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Reaction to Bentley Scandal

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Reactions to the allegations against Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and his top aide, Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason, continue to pour in.

State Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) said, “Today I ask for two things. One I ask the people of Alabama to pray for our leaders and especially Governor Bentley and his family. Second I ask Governor Bentley to think about the citizens of Alabama and the State he loves and resign immediately. There is absolutely no way he can be an effective leader for our State from this point forward.”

Deanna Frankowski with the Constitutional Conservatives wrote in a statement: “Governor Robert Bentley has done a great disservice to the citizens of Alabama by detracting from what is good about Alabama to what is now the biggest national story, and not in a good way.  If indeed improprieties are found with regard to what Governor Bentley did and that laws of the State of Alabama were broken, he should immediately resign and if he doesn’t, then impeachment should be started.  There are a lot of issues that Alabama needs to be dealing with that most definitely do not include this!”

Attorney, businessman and commentator, Donald Watkins said, “Bentley should spare the State of Alabama of any further embarrassment. It is time for Bentley to start thinking of someone other than himself. The longer Bentley remains in office, the more the media’s investigative stories will keep coming.”

The Alabama House Democrats released a statement by Representatives Craig Ford (D-Gadsden), Darrio Melton (D-Selma), and John Knight (D-Montgomery) saying, “We are deeply troubled by the allegations that have surfaced over the past several days regarding Governor Bentley and our State law enforcement agency, ALEA.  While the Governor’s personal affairs are personal business, the duties of the Office of the Governor are the people’s business.  We hope the Attorney General’s office will swiftly and judiciously investigate all allegations that Governor Bentley asked law enforcement to lie about a criminal investigation or that he misused his office or public funds in any way.”

The co-chair of the Rainy Day Patriots and Director of the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs said, “It’s sad that yet another Alabama politician has forgotten that morality, honesty and integrity are the foundations of our country.  I realize that most of the political class consider my words as naive and plebeian, but how many more corrupt elected officials do we tolerate before we say enough is enough?”

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The trio of House Democrats said, “While press was circled around the Governor yesterday, a General Fund Budget was passed that drastically slashed Medicaid and put our people and our economy at risk. While we discussed numerous allegations of misuse of public funds, a bill is moving through the Legislature to make the State Auditor a political appointee by the Governor.”

The Democratic legislators said, “The legislature will continue forward in the Regular Session in the coming weeks, and our policymakers must have our attention solely focused on creating good policy that builds a better Alabama.  Instead, we have only seen more and more evidence of systemic corruption reaching the highest levels of our State’s government. The people of Alabama deserve better.  Public service is about doing what is best for the people of Alabama, and it is clear these countless distractions–whether criminal or ethical–are affecting our Legislature and now our Governor. It is time for the circus to stop.”

Bentley’s top aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, meanwhile, was angered over former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier’s dismissal of her abilities. “There is no way that man would have said what he did today about another man. He only said what he said about my professional abilities because I am a woman. His comments were clear, demonstrated gender bias.”

Alabama Policy Institute Vice President Katherine Green Robinson responded in an op-ed to those comments: “Her statements are a disservice to women in politics, especially in Alabama politics where women face undeniable challenges. Currently, only 15 percent of Alabama’s state-level elected officials are women.  Though the environment for women in the State House has come a long way, it can be a seedy place, and it remains, in some quarters, a ‘good ol’ boys’ club.’  The affair culture requires professional women to carefully navigate their friendliness, their feminism, their tone, and, of course, their appearance. By making a false claim of gender bias in a world where gender bias does exist, Mrs. Mason has diluted this reality.”

In response to calls for an investigation, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement, “In light of the accusations of potential wrongdoing that have been made over the last two days, and the numerous inquiries that my office has received, I would like to assure the public that the Attorney General’s Office takes very seriously any allegations involving potential criminal misconduct.  My office has a strong record of probing illegal activity in this State and we will continue to do our job.  That said, pursuant to our longstanding policy regarding pending criminal investigations, I will have no further comment at this time.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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