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House to hear new push for Bentley impeachment

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There will be a renewed push in the Alabama House on Tuesday to impeach Gov. Robert Bentley.

New articles of impeachment brought by Reps. Corey Harbison and Randall Shedd will be presented during a pre-session meeting, at which Harbison and Shedd will attempt to get lawmakers to pledge support.

In an interview Tuesday morning with APR, Harbison said the new impeachment articles build on the previous articles introduced during the 2016 Session by adding several violations of campaign finance laws.

Included in the new violations are charges that Bentley failed to report a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign in the required time, that he improperly paid the legal expenses for his former staffer, Rebekah Mason, and that he accepted reimbursement from the Republican Governor’s Association during a time when it wasn’t allowed.

“I wasn’t for the original impeachment last year when it was brought up, but man, enough is enough,” Harbison said. “We can’t continue on the way we are in this State. We’ve become a national embarrassment at this point, and we need to do something.”

Both Harbison and Shedd said they were against the original impeachment efforts, believing that the governor could recover from his inappropriate relationship with Mason. However, they have become increasingly troubled by the fact that Bentley continues to allow Mason to remain involved in the operation of the State.

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Both men said that it was Bentley’s recent decision to take Mason and her husband on a trip to DC for Donald Trump’s inauguration that was the deciding factor.

“I know that’s what people in my district care about and I hear plenty from them,” Shedd said. “I’m not a headline hunter. I prefer a quiet life, chasing grandbabies, that sort of thing. But I’m not sure we can continue to function as a state under this cloud. No one trusts the Governor on anything.”

Shedd and Harbison said they also were troubled by Bentley’s appointment of Strange to the US Senate. Harbison said he went so far as to call the Governor’s office to express concern.

During that call, Harbison said a staff member for the Governor lied to him about the investigation and the timeline, telling him that Spencer Collier was the focus of the AG’s investigation, not Bentley.

“But I went back and looked and Collier was cleared in October,” Harbison said. “See, that’s what I’m talking about. You can’t get anything straight from them and no one trusts them. That’s a problem.”

Both Harbison and Shedd said they’re unsure about how successful their impeachment attempt will be, but say they’ve received encouraging signs from other lawmakers. If successful and the articles of impeachment pass, it would do away with the need for a House impeachment committee investigation and set up an impeachment hearing in the Senate.

“It would save us thousands of dollars as a State,” Harbison said. “And it’s really the role we’re supposed to have in this. Send it to court for the Senate.”

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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