Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has a problem. He wants to advance his political agenda, but all anyone seems to want to talk about is his alleged “relationship” with a former aide.
While the specifics of the relationship are not yet known, Bentley did admit he made inappropriate sexual remarks to the aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who quit last week. The governor claims he didn’t have an affair with Mason, but that hasn’t stopped fellow Alabama politicians from taking potshots, and encouraging their supporter to do the same. Some are even calling for his resignation – or, barring that, his impeachment.
Bentley Denies Wrongdoing
Bentley is having none of that. In media reports, he said: “I just want the people of Alabama to know there is nothing there, nothing illegal there, there is nothing that has been done that would affect the people of Alabama for my job.”
The idea, then, from his perspective is to try to get people to focus on the job he is doing rather than personal matters that may impact his job.
But that likely won’t be good enough. Bentley ran as a strong conservative, a position that tends to suffer most from allegations of sexual impropriety. Opponents can use the moral failing to cast doubts on his other positions. Whether or not those allegations have merit, they will find a receptive audience.
Scandal Spurred by Scorned Employee
The entire situation is drenched in sordid details, so many the press can’t help but eat it up. The whole debacle started after Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier was fired by Bentley. That’s when Collier accused Bentley of having an “inappropriate relationship” with Mason. This allegation was followed by Collier’s accusation that Bentley asked him to provide false information about a case he was privy to.
Bentley flatly denied those allegations, but that got the investigation going. Media swarmed, eventually forcing Bentley to admit to making “inappropriate sexual comments” and leading to Mason’s resignation.
All Eyes on Bentley’s Personal Life
Suddenly Bentley’s personal life was center stage. This included his recent divorce from his wife of 50 years, who said their marriage has suffered irreparable damage.
After Bentley denied Collier’s allegations, an anonymous source sent audio recordings to the Associated Press in which Bentley could be heard making sexual comments to someone, though the object of his affection was not identified. Mason’s abrupt resignation points all suspicious fingers in one direction.
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