In a Friday press conference and defiant in the face of impeachment, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley refuses to step down amidst a number of scandals.
A news conference was called suddenly on the steps of the state capital, according to Alabama.com, where Bentley spoke out for the first time since the state Ethics Commission discovered reported that they have found probable cause that he had violated ethics and campaign finance law.
While Bentley was speaking to the press and denying all allegations, his lawyers were busy trying to stop the release of an impeachment investigation report by filing a complaint against the state House Judiciary Committee.
Bentley has been under fire for lying about an illicit affair with an aide. State lawmakers, including fellow Republicans, have charged the governor with poor judgment, and articles of impeachment were filed last year claiming this poor judgment has been detrimental to people of the state and that his “abuse of his official duties and powers consistently demonstrates diminished capacity.”
According to the Alabama Ethics Commission, Bentley used public resources for personal reasons and received improper campaign contributions. The Alabama governor has also been accused of using campaign funds to pay an aide’s legal fees and making improper loans to his campaign. Along with impeachment, Bentley is facing possible criminal charges, as well.
Further complicating this scandal is a recording of Bentley making sexual comments to his married aide, Rebekah Mason, with whom the 74-year-old former dermatologist was having an affair.
While attempting to block any of these private details that may be part of the Judiciary Committee’s investigative report, Bentley’s Friday press conference served as a distraction. Bentley announced that he will not resign, despite pressure to do so, saying:
“The people of this state have never asked to be told of or shown the intimate and embarrassing details of my personal life. Those who are taking pleasure in humiliating and shaming me, shaming my family, shaming my friends, well, I really don’t understand why they would do that. It may be out of vengeance, it may be out of jealousy, it may be out of anger… But I would ask them to please stop now.”
Although politicians are often subjected to an overabundance of scrutiny of their personal lives, and Bentley may wish to claim that his personal life is personal, Bentley’s “lady friend” was a government employee on state payroll, and the Judiciary Committee found that he was using campaign funds to pay for her legal fees, which makes his “personal” affair a subject of public inquiry.
And like many conservative “family values” politicians, instead of simply stepping up and claiming responsibility and making amends for his choices, Bentley decided to dump it all on “God.”
“For the past several years, I have struggled. Last year, I got to a point where I recognized that I could not carry these burdens alone. It got to the point where I knew I could not do this by myself. That day. last May, I asked God to take these struggles and to help me carry these burdens… and I completely gave him all of me.”
Well, obviously not all…
Impeaching Bentley seems to be one thing both Alabama Democrats and Republicans can agree on. According to CBS, state Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh said on Thursday:
“I hope the governor does what is best for the state and seriously considers stepping down. I don’t think it does us any good to have the House go through these impeachment proceedings.”
Republican Rep. Ed Henry told CNN that removing Bentley was “one of the few truly bipartisan issues.”
Watch Bentley’s speech to the press below:
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