Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 1:30 pm | Updated: 2:02 pm, Tue Apr 5, 2016.
MONTGOMERY — Saying that Gov. Robert Bentley has lost the trust of the people and his actions call into question his ability to lead, Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, said he’s filing today a resolution to begin the impeachment process.
Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse today after nearly two weeks away, during which Bentley has dominated state news. He’s admitted to saying inappropriate things of a sexual nature to his top adviser, but said he’s done nothing illegal. He’s also said he won’t resign.
Henry at a press conference today said he is glad Bentley has asked the Lord for forgiveness, which is what Bentley said Monday in Limestone County.
“But our actions have consequences and those consequences are this process,” Henry said. He was joined by three other representatives, including House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, and Mike Ball, R-Madison.
“There is a crisis of confidence and this needs to be resolved,” Ball said.
In a written statement, Bentley said today there are no grounds for impeachment and he will defend himself and his administration from this “political attack.”
“Today’s press conference is nothing more than political grandstanding intended to grab headlines and take the focus away from the important issues the Legislature still has to address before the end of the session,” Bentley said.
“There is a lot of work to do before I end my term in office in 2019. I have laid out a strategic plan for success, and I will continue to focus my efforts on making Alabama a great state. That is what the people of Alabama overwhelmingly elected and re-elected me to do. I will continue to work hard for them every day.”
According to a draft of the resolution distributed at the press conference, “there is credible evidence from which to infer that, in his conduct while Governor of the State of Alabama, (Bentley) has unlawfully used state property in furtherance or concealment of an inappropriate relationship with a senior political adviser and has made administrative decisions, including termination, demotion, or the involuntary transfer of executive branch employees, based solely upon the furtherance of that inappropriate relationship.”
Henry said he hopes to get a floor vote in the House on his resolution next week.
Henry, who is a member of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, said impeachment is needed because Alabama is one of a few states that don’t have a recall mechanism available to voters.
Section 173 of the Alabama Constitution states the governor and other constitutional officers may be “removed from office for willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency … or for any offense involving moral turpitude while in office, or committed under color thereof, or connected therewith … .”
The process would have to start in the House, where Articles of Impeachment would be filed. The Senate then acts as a court.
A majority of the 105 House members would have to vote to begin impeachment proceedings.
This story will be updated.
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