Former Alabama Governor Resigns to Deal with Scandal

By MATTHEW BEDELL
On April 12, 2017

Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley just resigned from office after dealing with a scandal that has been surrounding his office for years. In order to understand the scope of this story, one must jump back in history.

Three out of Alabama’s last six governors were found guilty of various crimes.

The first is Harold Guy Hunt, a Baptist preacher, who used the state airplane to go preach where he accepted money for his sermons. He was indicted on 13 felony counts. He was found guilty of one of the 13 charges and served five years probation plus he had to pay $200,000 and never won a political race again.

The second is Don Siegelman, a law student from Georgetown Law School. He was charged and found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud. He was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.

Robert Bentley is the third governor to leave the office in disgrace. Bentley was caught having an affair with his political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. He was also nicknamed the "Luv Guv" for his inappropriate comments that were recorded on tape by his now ex-wife.

Bentley pledged guilty to two misdemeanors, failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use. According to CNN, Bentley also started a cult of personality among his staffers in the Governor's Mansion.

Heather Hannah, who was a staff member for Bentley’s wife, was verbally assaulted by Bentley himself, and he accused her of helping his wife record the affair.

Another person whom he attacked was Spencer Collier, the secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Spencer was fired from his job after he cooperated with the attorney general's investigation of house speaker Mike Hubbard who was sentenced to prison after being found guilty on 12 ethics charges. After being fired, Spencer told reporters that he had seen the affair and was using state resources to cover it up.

Bentley stepped down from his office after the firestorm and must now perform 100 hours of community service in his capacity as a medical doctor, pay $50,000 in fines, campaign funds and reimbursements, waive all retirement benefits from his office and he made a personal plea to never run again for public office.

 

mbedell@ramapo.edu

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