Alabama’s scandal-scarred governor faces a possible day of reckoning Tuesday when lawmakers meet to discuss impeaching him over an alleged affair with his top political adviser — a married mom nearly 30 years younger than he is.
The Alabama House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee will convene at 10 a.m. to begin discussing the fate of Gov. Robert Bentley.
Bentley, a Republican, will not be at the meeting, an official from his office confirmed. In Alabama, as in most states, articles of impeachment are brought by the House of Representatives.
The governor will be represented by Ross Garber, a lawyer who works out of the Connecticut office of the Shipman & Goodwin law firm. He represented two other Republican governors who were facing impeachment, John Rowland of Connecticut and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.
Leading the investigation for the House will be local lawyer Jackson Sharman. Each lawyer will be paid $195 an hour, the official said.
Bentley a 74-year-old sometime Sunday school teacher, has denied sleeping with Rebekah Caldwell Mason and punishing the decorated police officer who blew the whistle on their alleged affair. But steamy excerpts of a purported telephone conversation between the pair have cast doubts on those claims.
The state House got involved last year after 23 representatives — most of them Republicans, like Bentley — signed impeachment articles accusing the governor of corruption and neglect of duty.
The alleged adulterers were outed by the former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, who said he was fired because he refused to cover up the affair.
Mason later resigned. Her husband, former TV weatherman Jonathan Mason, still works for Bentley as the state’s $91,400-a-year head of Serve Alabama, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives.
The Masons were part of the group that attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration with Bentley, local Alabama media reported.
Bentley is a father of four and a grandfather of six from Tuscaloosa. His ex-wife, Dianne Bentley, filed for divorce in August 2015, declaring that their marriage “has suffered an irretrievable breakdown.”