Alabama Auditor Asking to Restart Halted Impeachment of Gov. Bentley
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has been asked to restart the halted impeachment investigation of Gov. Robert Bentley.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler says the November halt of impeachment proceedings was “an obstruction” by Attorney General Luther Strange.
Below is the request sent on Sunday, January 1st to Rep. Mike Jones, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which is tasked with the impeachment investigation:
I hereby request that you re-start the impeachment investigation and proceeding against Gov. Robert Bentley.
Attorney General Luther Strange had requested that you halt the impeachment due to activities by his office. He stated that his office had “related work” to the investigation of Gov. Bentley.
It is clear that there was either a serious misunderstanding between the Attorney General and this committee, or else an obstruction of the legislative impeachment process by Attorney General Luther Strange.
On Nov. 3, Attorney General Luther Strange wrote to you as Chair of this committee:
I respectfully request that the committee cease active interviews and investigation until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed.
The next day, a news release from the House Public Information Officer stated:
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said today that he’s suspending hearings into the Articles of Impeachment filed against Gov. Robert Bentley at the request of Attorney
General Luther Strange, who is conducting a separate investigation of the governor.
In the same news release, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon said:
“…I believe that moving forward with impeachment hearings while there is an active criminal investigation would put a number of parties in a difficult position. I support pausing the committee investigation and allowing criminal proceedings to run their course.”
Now, Attorney General Luther Strange says he never said there is a criminal investigation of the governor.
As Paul Newman famously said: “What we've got here is a failure to communicate.”
The constitutional duty of impeachment of a governor lies solely with the Alabama House of Representatives. The required number of representatives had signed articles to initiate impeachment, which was done. The next step is consideration by your House Judiciary Committee. I ask that you do your constitutional duty and restart the impeachment.
The regular session of the legislature starts Feb. 7, just over one month away. It is obvious that the session will start without a report from your committee on impeachment. That failure was caused by the obstruction of the impeachment investigation by Attorney General Luther Strange. The only way that obstruction can be corrected is for this committee to restart the impeachment proceedings.