By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, April 5, State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) held a press conference to announce that he was filing articles of impeachment against embattled Governor Robert Bentley (R). Bentley has had what he admits was an inappropriate relationship with former top political advisor, Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Bentley, however, denies that he did anything illegal or that his performance as Governor has been affected.
Rep. Henry told reporters that he would press for a vote on impeachment by next Thursday.
There seems, at this point, to be little likelihood that articles of impeachment are going to pass the House any time soon.
State Representative Randy Davis (R-Daphne) sits on the powerful Rules committee. He said that the Rules Committee will get articles of impeachment first. Davis predicted that Rules will forward any impeachment resolution to a special investigative committee where any case against Governor Bentley will be thoroughly investigated. Davis said that there will be no action on impeachment until the committee (which is yet to be appointed) presents its report to the legislature.
State Representative Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) said, House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) “does not speak for me” on impeaching Gov. Bentley. The Black Caucus is the majority of the Alabama Democrats and most of us are not in favor of impeachment.
Givan said that as an attorney she is committed to the legal process. “I was accused of doing something wrong too; but through the legal process it was discovered that I was innocent. Governor Bentley deserves the same opportunity.”
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said that this was a media driven event. On one day a reporter is writing a column demanding the Governor Bentley be impeached then the next day that same writer is on the front row at a press conference asking questions: questions that are designed to support their opinion.
Givan said that before the legislature impeaches Bentley we need to ask what are our options? “Kay Ivey? That is not an option.”
When reporters asked Rep. Givan what was wrong with Kay Ivey, Givan said you are reporters you check on it. It will come out.
Kay Ivey is the elected Lieutenant Governor and would step up to Governor if Gov. Bentley were to resign, be impeached, or convicted.
Rep. Williams said that he did not come to Montgomery to put Governor Bentley’s head on a pike. “I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”
Rep. Givan said that Rep. Henry will have to go through the process in order to pass his impeachment resolution. If he tries to suspend the rules that will take a motion to suspend the rules, which is over 80 votes. They don’t have that. Right now they (the pro-impeachment faction) are circulating a resolution and they only have about ten signatures. I don’t think they are going to get many more than that.
Based on what the Alabama Political Reporter learned at the Statehouse on Tuesday, it appears that the majority of legislators, particularly the leadership, are content with burying impeachment in an investigative committee, which is unlikely to make a report of any kind for weeks.