Trouble Deepens for Alabama Gov.

He faces ethics probe over alleged affair
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2016 9:59 AM CDT
Trouble Deepens for Alabama Gov.
In this Tuesday, March 22, 2011 photo, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, center, arrives for a news conference at the Alabama Capitol. At left is Rebekah Mason.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

Alabama's state auditor says Gov. Robert Bentley "continues to disgrace the state," leaving him with no choice but to report his fellow Republican for suspected ethics violations stemming from an alleged affair with political adviser Rebekah Mason. After filing an ethics report Friday, auditor Jim Zeigler said it is clear Bentley "is misleading the people of the state about the nature of his relationship," and the couple "have been using state property and resources in furtherance of their personal relationship," NBC reports. The report will trigger a formal investigation of the governor, who has apologized for a recorded conversation from 2014 in which he talks about touching Mason's breasts but denies that a physical affair took place.

Zeigler also said that Mason—whose company made $328,000 over the last three years working for Bentley, according to—needs to either register as a lobbyist or be classified as a public official. Making matters worse for Bentley, a full recording of the then-married governor's side of the conversation has been leaked to Gawker, which says it is clearly a conversation between two people "in the midst of an intense relationship that they nonetheless needed to keep secret." Mason's husband, meanwhile, posted a statement of on Facebook Friday praising his wife and saying he long ago "resolved the personal issue playing out now for everyone this week," WAFF reports. (Read more Robert Bentley stories.)

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