Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief
Alabama governor Robert J. Bentley resigned from office on Monday, April 10 after allegations arose that he had used campaign funds for personal gain.
ersonal gain. Bentley’s reputation was irreparably damaged when an affair with his top adviser, Rebekah Mason, was brought to light in March 2016. Bentley’s wife, Dianne, had filed for divorce the previous year, and it was finalized in September 2015.
The governor’s resignation comes in the wake of official impeachment hearings that began Monday morning.
“All indications are that Governor Bentley is going to resign shortly,” Koven L. Brown, a state representative for District 40, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “He has submitted his letter of resignation to Lt. Gov. [Kay] Ivey and she is to be sworn in a little [later] this evening. As sad as this situation is, I am relieved that it is over and our state can move on. We have much work to do in this legislative session and it will hopefully move smoother with this cloud lifted. Please continue to pray for all of us in state government. Most all of us love to serve our respective districts and take our legislative positions very seriously.”
Bentley, who was serving his second term as governor, had been under investigation by the Alabama Attorney General’s office for criminal felony charges. The Alabama Ethics Commission confirmed that it had probable cause to support these accusations.
Bentley pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use.
As per the plea deal, Bentley has one week to pay $36,912 in campaign funds, essentially emptying that fund and giving the money to the state. He will also be required to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket fines to return the misappropriated money to the campaign fund before that fund can be closed.
Bentley must also perform 100 hours of community service and is prohibited from running for public office again.
In a report released on April 7, the lawyer for the Alabama House of Representatives alleged that Bentley had coerced, sent threatening messages to and threatened to prosecute some of those who had criticized his affair with Mason. The report also described how Bentley reportedly used a member of his security detail to end his relationship with Mason on his behalf and how he allowed Mason to use official state
vehicles after she had left state payroll.
Also included in the report are accounts of how Bentley attempted to cover up audio tapes of sexually charged conversations between himself and Mason.
Bentley will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, a former state treasurer, high school teacher and bank officer. Ivey is only the second female governor of Alabama, the first being Lurleen Wallace, who served from 1967-68.
“The Ivey administration will be open, it will be transparent and it will be honest,” Ivey said on Monday.