Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bitter Home Alabama, Con't

I've covered the two biggest messes in Alabama GOP politics, the state's GOP leadership stuck in a massive impeachment scandal that has already taken down the state's House Speaker Mike Hubbard while Gov. Robert Bentley is facing an impeachment scandal after the ridiculously failed cover-up of an affair with one of his staff, and the state's attempt to disenfranchise black voters by passing a strict voter ID law and then closing 90% of drivers' license offices in predominantly black counties, a move that generated enough national outrage that the state reversed the closings.

It turns out that Bentley's scandal and the DMV office closings have a connection, and it's Rebekah Mason, the staff member Bentley was having an affair with.

Governor Robert Bentley's former top advisor and secret paramour Rebekah Mason led a politically-motivated effort in 2015 to close 31 driver's license offices in mostly black counties, a move that embarrassed the state and was later reversed.

The decision also led to a federal investigation and drew civil rights protesters such as Jesse Jackson to the state.

Mason's role was highlighted in a 131-page report released Friday by the investigator leading impeachment efforts against Gov. Bentley, a report largely focused on the relationship between Mason and Bentley.

The report and exhibits can be found here.

According to that report, which was compiled by lead investigator Jack Sharman, it was Mason who "proposed closing multiple driver's license offices throughout the State" and asked the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to "put together a plan."

According to Sharman's report, former ALEA head Spencer Collier understood Mason's intentions were to have the plan "rolled out in a way that had limited impact on Government Bentley's political allies."

Collier, according to the report, claims he then reported the closure plan to then-Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's office because he was concerned about a Voting Rights Act violation.

Collier assented to the closure plan, but through the use of an "objective measure based on processed transactions per year to determine which offices to close," the report states.

The closures were estimated to save around $200,000, an extremely small savings in a General Fund that typically has annual shortfalls ranging from $100 million to $200 million.

So yeah, the Governor's mistress very much wanted to keep black people in Alabama from being able to vote, and wanted to do so in a way that "protected" her lover.  Nice lady, huh.  Meanwhile, the impeachment proceedings against Bentley continue, and the former state AG?  He's now Senator Luther Strange, Jeff Sessions's replacement.

Alabama keeps on keepin on in the corruption department.

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