MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey Tuesday spoke for the first time on the scandal in the governor’s mansion.
As lawmakers are joining forces to give Gov. Robert Bentley the boot, Ivey shared her thoughts. Political leaders are starting to pick sides.
“Business of state continues to go–we are organized –that’s a good thing that our laws and processes are in place and the state’s fixing to do its business here in the Senate and there in the House,” Ivey said.
Since Bentley apologized for inappropriate remarks made to his former top advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a lot of things have happened. Many have called for his resignation, an ethics complaint has been filed, and Tuesday, lawmakers are starting the impeachment process. But one thing that we haven’t seen is a comment from Ivey. The lieutenant governor didn’t offer much on the scandal surrounding Bentley. But if he were to leave office, she says she would be prepared.
“Clearly we know our duty and have a plan in place,” Ivey said. “Absent — not having a plan would be a dereliction of duties, but if there’s a need, we’ll implement it.”
Tuesday, lawmakers said they’re going to try to make that happen.
“If the people of this state believe that the governor is incompetent and incapable of filling the position, then it is up to us to impeach,” Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, said.
This came two weeks after phone recordings were published, unleashing a firestorm of questions about Bentley’s relationship with the woman reportedly on the other end of the call, his top political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. For some lawmakers, the main question is the governor’s integrity.
“We’ve heard the tapes, we know what’s going on- what was going on in that relationship, that it’s hard to believe that that hasn’t clouded his judgment. That he hasn’t used his office to cover up the affair.”
For that reason, lawmakers are taking Bentley to task on four articles of impeachment:
- Willful Neglect of Duty
- Corruption in Office
- Offenses of Moral Turpitude
“Robert Bentley has said time and time again, publicly, how much he loves the people of Alabama. And I believe that’s true. And I believe he loves them. And if he does, it’s time to let them go,” Henry said.
Henry said if Bentley were to step down or be indicted, the impeachment process would end. But right now, he’s trying to expedite it.
Henry explained that the resolution would need a four-fifths vote from the House of Representatives to bring the resolution to the floor, but he’s uncertain that he has enough votes to do that.
Rep. Henry says if it follows the normal legislative process, it could be on the calendar for a vote next week. If the articles of impeachment pass, it’ll be up to the senate to have a trial. If a majority of the Alabama House agrees, the impeachment process could happen fairly quickly–just over a month.
But that could depend on House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is facing felony ethics charges himself. Hubbard would have to notify the lieutenant governor about the house preference to impeach the governor, and she would preside over the senate hearing.