“It’s good to be king,” said Mel Brooks.
It’s also pretty good to be governor.
Except in Alabama, where Gov. Robert Bentley may get the boot for allegedly having an affair with his married political adviser.
On Tuesday, a lawmaker filed articles of impeachment against Bentley over what he politely called “incompetency.”
“We’ve never tried to impeach a governor,” said Rep. Ed Henry, who, also alleges the governor’s “willful neglect of duty,” “corruption in office,” and “offenses of moral turpitude.”
The call for removal comes after former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier said Bentley had an affair with Rebekah Mason, who served as his political adviser until resigning last week, says the Montgomery Advertiser.
The governor, 73, admits to making suggestive comments to Mason, 44, but both deny they had an affair.
Bentley, who ran on a “family values” platform, may have been trying to start a new family after his wife of more than 50 years divorced him last year, according to sexually suggestive phone recordings on YouTube.
In the divorce, the governor was able to keep his primary home, guns, lawn mower and Crimson Tide football tickets, which suggests Alabama’s first lady really wanted out.
It’s unclear who made the potentially illegal phone recordings, but various reports indicate the governor’s wife made them in 2014 before filing for divorce.
In one recording, Bentley is heard describing how he likes to come up behind the woman, presumably Mason, and touch her breasts. When asked about that conversation and similar recorded comments, Bentley says his relationship with Mason was not sexual.
In another, he tells the woman if they keep doing what they are doing they are going to have to start “locking the doors.”
Alabama, like most Southern states, has had so many great governors the state constitution is a bit hazy on how to get rid of a bad one.
Bentley refuses to resign. He blamed his woes on the media and said his actions are not “all that egregious.”
The governor had less control of his position at his longtime place of worship.
Bentley and Mason are no longer members of the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, according to the pastor. Local media speculates Bentley, who taught Sunday school and served as a church deacon, was kicked out after recordings of his phone conversations went public.
Mason resigned her position last week. Curiously, she was the only high-ranking member of Bentley’s staff not required to file financial disclosure reports.
Mason stopped filing reports in 2014 when she moved off the state payroll to serve as the communications coordinator for Bentley’s reelection campaign. Mason has said her company, RCM Communications, was paid more than $328,000 for providing consulting, advertising and media placement services to Bentley over the last three years, reports AL.com.
Mason’s husband, Jonathan Mason, has a company too. University of Alabama records show that company — JRM Enterprises — has been paid $245,600 for advertising “service and professional fees,” reports AL.com in an extensive look a the Masons’ “complex financial web.”
Mr. Mason also works for the state — he was paid $91,000 in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 for his service as head of Serve Alabama, the “governor’s office of faith-based and volunteer service.” He received an 18.7 percent raise in 2014, the same year the governor admits he made marital mistakes.