Terrible. Governor Bentley MUST resign.
On Nov. 17 of last year, Gov. Robert Bentley boarded a state airplane for Las Vegas, along with his former political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, communications director Jennifer Ardis, Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Barganier and his security detail.
They went to attend the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference.
Oh. And to catch a show. They didn’t have to think twice before going to the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace for an elaborate concert by Celine Dion.
Bentley went backstage and made Dion an honorary Alabamian. He posed for pictures with her, which he showed around the office – along with backstage passes for which he was ungubernatorially proud. Mason and Ardis posed for pictures, too. The concert was “amazing,” Ardis said.
Bentley’s staff argues that there is no foul. Ardis said Bentley himself paid for all the Celine Dion tickets, and the Republican Governors Association reimbursed the Bentley campaign for the cost of the conference and the flight. The campaign reimbursed the state, and no taxpayer money was used, she said.
That part may be true.
But here is the fun part…
She did provide a copy of a deposit to the state of Alabama in the amount of $11,641.35. It was dated March 25 of this year. It came almost 19 weeks after the trip. And it came 3 days after former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chief Spencer Collier went public with claims that Bentley and Mason had been engaged in an affair, and that Bentley had been warned that using state or campaign assets to carry out an affair could be illegal.
Ardis said the Republican Governors Association wired Bentley’s campaign the reimbursement. She said she does not know why there was a delay or when the payments will appear on campaign finance reports.
This is a cover-up, abetted by the RGA… They only paid for this because Collier was about to bring a bunch of heat.
They also tried to shake the Governor’s security team, he was successful…
Collier said Bentley went to current ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler, who was then head of the executive security detail, and sought to leave security at home. He said Stabler came to him, and he in turn went to the governor.
“It was basically negotiated, but eventually security went,” Collier said. “But he made them keep their distance.”
He said the governor had never tried to alter protection plans before.
Ardis said the governor denied talking to Stabler or Collier about changing the plans. Stabler – through the governor’s office – said Bentley did not try to change the routine.
Collier said he learned of the potential breaches after the trip and admonished Stabler “for security reasons.” He said the detail did not guard the governor and his staff at some meals, and did not go to the concert. He called it “highly unusual and against protocol.”
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