By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Sunday, June 12, State Auditor Jim Zeigler responded with skepticism toward Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s assertion that he, the Governor, was assigned as Governor by God. Zeigler called Bentley “delusional.”
Gov. Bentley wrote, “Alabama is strong because our people are strong. As leaders we were placed here to serve our people and that is exactly what we are going to continue to do. God has assigned us to this task, and we will work hard to honor Him. I have the utmost confidence in the men and women of the Alabama Legislature. We will all continue working together to solve the real problems facing our state and to help Alabamians. We will pass a balanced budget that funds essential state services, create well-paying jobs and care for our sick, our elderly and our children. No matter how difficult the challenge, the people of this state will know we are working hard every day to serve them.”
Zeigler’s reply was: “Gov. Bentley is continuing to say he is ‘assigned by God’ and ‘will work hard to honor Him.’ This is a violation of the 3rd Commandment in Exodus 20:7. Bentley is using the name of the Lord in vain. Also, his statement in reaction to the Hubbard convictions never mentioned Hubbard or the situation. He talked only about himself. This is indicative of the problem. Our governor is self-serving and delusional.”
Zeigler was quoting Exodus Chapter 20 Verse 7: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
Throughout Bentley’s time as Governor, Mike Hubbard has been the Speaker of the House. Bentley and Hubbard served together in the Alabama House when Republicans were still the minority, though their working relationship has been strained at times.
Gov. Bentley was called as a witness for the prosecution in the recent trial to testify that Hubbard did not reveal to him that he was working for the Southeast Alabama Gas District (SEAGD) as an economic development consultant, when meeting with the Governor on projects benefitting SEAGD.
On Wednesday, June 15, the Alabama House Judiciary Committee will meet on whether or not it should proceed with impeachment proceedings against Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R). The Governor’s detractors allege that the Governor’s conduct has been immoral and an embarrassment to the State. There are allegations that State resources may have been misused to further and coverup an affair with former top political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Mason resigned after an audiotape surfaced suggesting that Bentley and Mason were involved in an adulterous affair. Bentley acknowledges that he and the married Mrs. Mason have had an inappropriate relationship but denied being physical with the longtime friend from Tuscaloosa. Mrs. Bentley has divorced the Governor over the matter.
State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) said in a statement, “Pursuant to the rules adopted in the House in the final days of the last session, the House Judiciary Committee is now responsible for investigating allegations asserted in Articles of Impeachment and also making a recommendation to the full House as to whether or not cause exists to impeach the official.”
Rep. England said, “Before the end of the session, a resolution with 23 co-sponsors was passed that contained Articles of Impeachment for Governor Bentley charging him with willful neglect of duty and also corruption in office. As a result of the resolution being passed, the House Judiciary Committee will meet on June 15, at 10 AM to discuss and adopt rules for the impeachment investigation of Governor Bentley.”
Recent investigations have centered on just how Mrs. Mason was being paid while with the Bentley re-election campaign in 2014 and then later by Bentley’s non-profit: the Alabama Council on Excellent Government. There are rumors and allegations that campaign finance laws and Alabama ethics laws may have been breached.
Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said in his own statement that the impeachment proceedings were taking way too long.
Zeigler said, “The citizens of Alabama are weary of the Bentley problems. They want the air cleared on the Bentley administration soon. It appears that an impeachment investigation would not report its results to the full House until February, 2017, when the Regular Session starts.” Zeigler said then, “The people of Alabama do not want to wait until 2017 to clear the clouds over the governor’s office. They want something done now, or at least in the next few months. I agree.” It is unfair to the taxpayers for their State government to have to operate under a cloud.”