Economy

Severe weather expected in Alabama and Georgia

Severe weather expected in Alabama and Georgia

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley speaks at the 31st Annual Seafood Bash in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

While investigations from the Ethics Commission, the Legislature and the office of the Alabama attorney general have encircled him, Bentley has attempted to go about the job of being governor as if nothing was amiss.

After more than nine hours of testimony and deliberations Wednesday - and over a year after the filing of the first complaint - the Alabama Ethics Commission found "probable cause" that Gov. Robert Bentley violated the state's ethics and campaign finance laws.

The 74-year-old governor admitted personal mistakes after recorded phone calls surfaced of him making sexually charged remarks to a female aide.

Bentley, who was accused previous year of maintaining an extramarital affair with Mason, and using State funds to do so, has denied any legal wrongdoing and has said that his affair with Mason wasn't physical. The AEC also said Bentley improperly received a campaign contribution and improperly made a loan outside of a 120-day window allowed by law and that he used campaign funds to pay for legal feels, which are linked to an alleged affair he was having with former political adviser Rebekah Mason.

The commission functions similarly to a grand jury and will decide if there is probable cause that Bentley broke the ethics law. However, he maintains he did nothing illegal. The commission stated that it is prohibited from any further comment on the issue because matters are still ongoing.

NYC politician wants Rikers Island renamed for Kalief Browder
But City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said the mayor can do even better. "Now let's be clear [about] what this is going to take".

The commission also heard from witnesses, including former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier and state Auditor Jim Zeigler.

"I hope the governor does what is best for the state and seriously considers stepping down", state Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh said Thursday. Twenty-three lawmakers a year ago filed impeachment articles against Bentley accusing him of corruption and neglect of duty. Special counsel Jack Sharman, under a tentative schedule he released, plans to kick off proceedings Friday with the release of a report.

Bentley lawyer Ross Garber said the accusations "are not the kinds of things that result in impeachment of a governor".

Collier, who served under Bentley as the chief of the state's law enforcement agency, has accused the governor of using ALEA as a political tool to get back at those who allegedly didn't support his relationship with Mason.

The governor's attorney expressed an objection to the potential timeline last week, saying the governor would be denied due process and that removing the governor would overturn the will of the voters who elected him.


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