By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
As first reported last week by the Alabama Political Reporter, State and Federal investigators are reportedly continuing their separate probes into the conduct of embattled Governor Robert Bentley (R) and the generous financial compensation he has paid over the course years to his top advisor, and alleged mistress, Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason, as well as allegations that Gov. Bentley and Mrs. Mason are involved in a conspiracy to undermine and obstruct the prosecution against indicted Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) by ordering Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Spencer Collier not to tell the truth to State prosecutors.
When Collier complied with the Alabama Attorney General’s office request for an affidavit, he was suspended and then fired by an angry Gov. Bentley. There are also allegations that the pair and acting ALEA head Stan Stabler have fired or reassigned top ALEA officials without any due process in order to close and cover up a number of State ethics investigations.
It could take weeks for the FBI and the Alabama Attorney General’s office to sort this all out and complete their investigations and likely could take even more time to empanel an investigative grand jury to weigh the evidence against Gov. Bentley and the other accused. If the grand jury did actually indict the Governor it would be months after that for a trial to occur. State Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was indicted on 23 felony counts in October of 2014 and still has not gone to trial.
Waiting for this mess to grind its way through the courts is not good enough for some in the Alabama GOP.
On Monday, March 28, the College Republican Federation of Alabama Executive Board unanimously passed a resolution calling for, “Robert Bentley to resign immediately from his elected position as Governor of Alabama to prevent further shame and embarrassment on the State of Alabama, its citizens, and the Republican Party.”
The College Republican Federation of Alabama consists of seventeen member chapters across college campuses in the State of Alabama as chartered by the College Republican National Committee, and serving as an auxiliary organization of the Alabama Republican Party. The resolution reads:
“Whereas strong, faithful families, honesty, lawfulness, morality, and integrity are among the most important of foundational characteristics of conservative values that exemplify the Republican Party since its founding in 1856, and, Whereas ethical behavior is not only expected from the officials of the state of Alabama, but also mandated by way of Alabama Ethics Laws, specifically in case under sections 36-25-5 and 36-25-7, and, Whereas Governor Bentley has brought shame and embarrassment to the State of Alabama by means of local, state, and national news, as well as social media through his own self-admitted devious, immoral, and possibly illegal actions involving his married female senior top aide, not only of the sexual nature, but regarding her compensation as well as a non-state employee yet making key decisions in the governing of the state, coupled with the very questionable firings at the ALEA, all of which will likely hinder future trust in the state government of Alabama, the Republican Party, and all its branches, and Whereas Governor Robert Bentley campaigned to the citizens of Alabama on values consistent with Conservatism and the Republican Party such as family values, honesty, and with specific attention given to his campaign slogan and motto “No new taxes,” and, Whereas Governor Bentley continues to insist on breaking his promise to the citizens of Alabama by relentlessly pushing for new taxes regardless of the will of the super majority of Republican legislators in Montgomery, and, Whereas Governor Bentley has proven to ineffective at management of state funds, not only through his inability to live within his means as Governor without raising taxes, but also by disrespectfully and blatantly giving unreasonable and ridiculous pay raises to his Cabinet members while many other state agencies are forced to make serious cuts, and Alabama families continue to struggle to make ends meet, and, Whereas Governor Bentley has frankly governed and acted like a Democrat as of late, BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that we, the members of the College Republican Federation of Alabama Executive Board call for Robert Bentley to resign immediately from his elected position as Governor of Alabama.”
The College Republicans’ resolution also encourages, “The State Legislature to take interest in passing a recall law and putting the matter in the hands of the citizens if the Governor refuses to step down.”
Former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee member Terry Dunn drafted a letter to ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan urging the Republican Party to push Bentley to resign.
Former Commissioner Dunn wrote, “Since the story of Governor Bentley has made national news and has brought even more embarrassment to the state, I believe the people of Alabama expect the Republican Party leaders to comply with our Christian values by calling for Governor Bentley to resign immediately. If we do not take action in this matter, it will be seen as hypocritical and bring further embarrassment and disgrace to the State of Alabama.” “By demanding Governor Bentley to resign, this would spare possible impeachment proceedings, especially when the Governor may also be facing possible criminal charges in light of the new ongoing ethics investigation.”
Dunn wrote to Lathan, “I know this is an unfortunate circumstance that has been brought upon the executive committee. But with the upcoming trial of the Speaker of the House, I feel the Republican Party has to take action now in the issue of the Governor in order to uphold the values the Republican Party supposedly stands for since no action was taken in the Speaker of the House indictment.”
A member of the legislature told the Alabama Political Reporter that the legislature wants the Mike Hubbard trial finished, one way or the other, before taking up impeachment of the sitting Governor. The legislators did not want the spectacle of Speaker Hubbard voting on Bentley’s fate while the Speaker is still under criminal indictment.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) has already filed a complaint with the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Political consultant and former Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine (R) told the Alabama Political Reporter that the State is suffering while this case drags on. Nodine said I know all about scandal and this is a cloud that is hanging over the State and it is affecting economic development and job growth.
Nodine said that both Speaker Hubbard and Gov. Bentley should resign and Terry Lathan and the Republican Party should demand that they leave.
On Friday, March 25 Chairman Lathan said in a statement, “We are very disappointed in the news that unfolded this week concerning Governor Bentley’s personal conduct. The public expects our elected officials to act in an honorable manner. Governor Bentley’s apology to our state was the minimum action needed to begin a healing process for us all. It is up to him now to earn back our trust, not in words but in actions.”
Lathan cautioned, “While we do not know if this storyline is finished, we do know that Alabama deserves the best from all who volunteer in public service, take an oath of office and ask for our support. Nothing less will be acceptable.”
On Monday, Bentley reiterated to reporters his position from last week, that he will not resign.