Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is probably the only person in Alabama right now who doesn’t think he’ll be impeached for ethics violations.
Bentley is standing
on a political precipice after the state Supreme Court on Saturday cleared
the way for a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Monday, The
Associated Press reported. Bentley, a 74-year-old former Baptist deacon, is
accused of violating campaign finance and ethics laws.
You might remember the good deacon from his efforts back in
2015 to close 31 driver’s license facilities across the state. That left eight
of Alabama’s 11 counties with a majority African American population
without a driver’s license facility, according to reports by Alabama.com. That’s
important, because Alabama requires photo ID for voting, and driver’s license
facilities are the easiest and most popular place to get them. (See how that
Bentley claimed the move was to cut state costs, but that
argument was bullshit, as anyone who
looks at a map can easily figure out. According to Alabama.com, the closing
of the facilities would save the state only about $200,000, compared to a
general budget shortfall of up to $200 million.
The governor’s attempt to disenfranchise black voters didn’t
pan out in the end, because the U.S. Department of Transportation intervened
with a federal investigation, stating that facility closings violated the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. The federal agency’s involvement was prompted by an NAACP
lawsuit and pressure from civil rights groups.
Bentley also is a vocal supporter of President Donald
Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, issuing
a statement last January saying that Alabama would not support sanctuary
cities. In 2011, he signed one
of the most draconian immigration laws enacted in recent memory, requiring
public schools to check on students’ immigration status and making it illegal
to knowingly give a ride to an undocumented immigrant. After federal courts
blocked several of the law’s measures, he signed a revised version the
But none of this is the reason for Bentley’s impending
political demise, which could land him up to 20 years in prison if the legal
process moves forward and he is convicted. Instead, much of the governor’s
undoing comes from an alleged affair with his former top aide, and his paranoid
attempts to cover it up by bullying people (including investigators) with state
While all of this may be indicative of the twisted morality
with which our political system operates in the U.S., there is a silver lining.
According to a report issued Friday by the investigator leading impeachment efforts,
Rebekah Mason—the governor’s former adviser and the
target of his cheating ways—is the person who proposed that driver’s
license facilities be closed, Alabama.com reported. She also allegedly asked
the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to “put together a plan” to make it
The head of ALEA, Spencer Collier, then reported the plan to the state attorney general’s office, the newspaper reported. Oh, the karma.