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Here’s Why the Governor of Alabama Is Facing Impeachment Due to An Affair

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley speaks during a news conference on Friday, April 7, 2017, outside the Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala. Bentley vowed again he won't resign even as his political troubles mounted and lawmakers said they would move forward with impeachment hearings because of a sex scandal. (Albert Cesare /The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

When many of us think of politics in the south, we think of conservatism, family values and drama that people know how to hide pretty well. However, the governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, is currently embroiled in legal and personal drama, and depending on how it plays out, this could be one of the biggest political scandals of 2017.

Gov. Bentley is a Republican in his second term, who admitted in March 2016 to having an improper relationship with his senior political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. On Monday, Alabama lawmakers began hearing evidence that could lead to Bentley’s impeachment.

Special counsel to the Judiciary Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives said Bentley had “encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation” and forced state officials to help him hide “an inappropriate relationship.”

The 74-year-old governor maintains he did not break the law, and on Friday he says he has no intention to resign.

Just last week, the Alabama Legislature’s ranking Republicans called for Gov. Bentley’s resignation and the State Ethics Commission found probable cause to ask the district attorney to consider prosecuting the governor.

Special counsel to Judiciary Committee, Jack Sharman has a damning 131-page report that paints Gov. Bentley as desperate to hide his relationship with Mason.

The report says Gov. Bentley was anxious about recordings that his estranged wife, Dianne Bentley, (who filed for divorce in August 2015) had of conversations between he and Mason. Sharman describes how Gov. Bentley attempted to use a member of his security detail to break up with Mason on his behalf. The report also says the governor demanded Mason be able to travel in official vehicles long after she was no longer on the state’s payroll. There’s even details of incident where the Gov. Bentley is accused of threatening to retaliate against one of his estranged wife’s aides if they told her about his relationship with Mason.

That aide, Heather Hannah, quotes the governor telling her during their confrontation in the kitchen of the governor’s mansion,”You will never work in the state of Alabama again if you tell anyone about this.”

Gov. Bentley’s lawyers maintain his behavior does not call for impeachment.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the governor said, “The people of this state have never asked to be told of or shown the intimate and embarrassing details of my personal life and my personal struggles. Those who are taking pleasure in humiliating and in shaming me, shaming my family, shaming my friends, well, I really don’t understand why they want to do that.”

He went on to say, “It may be out of vengeance. It may be out of jealousy. It may be out of anger. It may be out of personal political benefit, I don’t know. But I would ask them to please stop now. Our state doesn’t need this anymore.”

The Alabama Republican Party is calling for Gov. Bentley’s resignation.