In a press release, Special Counsel Jack Sharman announced that he will introduce a public report on April 7, which will be followed by hearings in the house. Bentley will be afforded the opportunity to respond and he will report to the House on May 4.
Sharman noted that the timeline is tentative.
The governor is currently being investigated, and he is facing potential impeachment for alleged relationships forged with his former advisor Rebeckah Caldwell Mason. The House Judiciary Committee has instructed special counsel Jack Sharman to proceed with an investigation against Bentley.
In articles of impeachment filed last year, members of the House of Representatives charged the governor with neglect of duty, corruption, incompetency, and offenses of moral terpitude. The articles never made it out of the House, and Bentley has not been tried.
Bentley has denied wrongdoing.
The commission found probable cause that:
- Bentley violated the state ethics law by using public resources, including subordinate personnel, equipment and time under his control, for personal interests. The vote was 3-1 with one abstention (Commissioner Frank C. “Butch” Ellis, whose wife is related to Bentley, recused on all four votes).
- Bentley violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act by improperly receiving a campaign contribution outside the 120-day window allowed by law. The vote was 4-0 with Ellis abstaining.
- Bentley violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act by using funds from his campaign to pay legal fees for former political adviser Rebekah Mason. The vote was 4-0 with Ellis abstaining.
- Bentley violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act by improperly making a loan to his campaign account outside the 120-day window allowed by law when not a candidate. The vote was 3-1 with Ellis abstaining.
The violations would all be Class B felonies, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.