|Gov. Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
When might the new tapes be made public? We don't have an answer to that question, but Watkins reports (via his Facebook page) that federal subpoenas are being issued in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, seeking documents related to Bentley, Mason, and her husband, Jon Mason.
On top of that, we have a not-so-subtle political extortion scheme from Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat, to punish legislators who might support impeachment of Bentley, a white Republican. How weird is that? Well, it gets even more strange when you consider that Holmes' punishment would come in the form of outing legislators who are engaging in extramarital activities of their own.
It looks like this story could heat up before it cools down. And who knows how many powerful Alabamians will have tumbled--perhaps into federal prison--before it's all over. Watkins says he does not expect Holmes' scheme to succeed. More on that in a moment.
As for the new, so far non-public, sex tapes, Watkins reports:
Finally, we are reporting today that more Robert Bentley-Rebekah Mason sex tapes exist. According to my sources, these tapes are much more graphic than the ones that have already been made public. And "yes", they prove once again that Bentley has lied to Alabamians about the nature and scope of his relationship with Rebekah.
Meanwhile, Watkins says the federal investigation is marching forward:
Federal grand jury subpoenas are being delivered in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa requiring the submission of various records relating to Governor Robert Bentley, Rebekah Mason, Jonathan Mason and others. This investigation is headed in the right direction.
What explains Alvin Holmes bizarre and brazen effort to protect Bentley? Here is Watkins' answer to that question. He says the scheme has its genesis with Joe Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference:
Yesterday, State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) threatened to expose the extramarital affairs of his fellow legislators if they vote to impeach Governor Robert Bentley. Holmes is one of many "human shield" legislators defending Bentley. Holmes' threat, which seemed to be extremely bizarre for an African-American Democratic legislator, has angered voters in Holmes' House district and has infuriated advocates for ethical government around the state.
Our Facebook news team has solved the Alvin Holmes-Robert Bentley human shield mystery. Holmes is a longtime political "puppet" of Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman Joe L. Reed and deceased Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Paul Hubbert. Reed and Hubbert teamed up to help Bentley defeat Bradley Byrne in the 2010 Republican primary elections. Reed also privately supported Bentley in 2014 election against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Parker Griffin. As a result, Bentley and Reed have developed a close personal friendship.
In the matters relating to Bentley's "sex for power" scandal with lover Rebekah Mason, Holmes is Reed's public voice. This is why Holmes has not condemned the scandal. Rather, Holmes has threatened the legislators who're moving to impeach Bentley. This political threat or "drone strike" was called in by Reed.
The Reed-Holmes scheme appears to be foundering after 23 representatives signed on to support Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and his plan to impeach Bentley. That gave Henry more than the 21 signatures required to introduce an impeachment resolution.
Where is this headed? Polls show, Watkins reports, that Alabamians overwhelmingly want Bentley gone--and they are likely to punish any legislator who tries to protect the governor. Writes Watkins:
Following the lead of State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) and Senate President Del Marsh (R-Anniston), all of the legislators and senators in this seemingly pro-Bentley group have banned together, essentially forming a protective “human shield” around Bentley. Holmes has even gone so far as to threaten lawmakers with exposure of their marital cheating if any member of this group breaks ranks. Holmes’ extortion threat has been effective, even with Del Marsh.
Those "human shield" legislators who are not controlled by Holmes by virtue of his extortion threat are under the direct control and dominion of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is awaiting trial this month on 23 felony counts of public corruption charges.
According to a poll by AL.com in March, nine out of ten Alabamians want Bentley gone. Every major newspaper in the state has demanded Bentley’s resignation. No corporate leader is publicly supporting Bentley, and many have told me privately that Bentley is a total disaster as governor. Yet, only twenty-three of 105 House members co-sponsored the impeachment resolution. None of the thirty-five senators have publicly supported Bentley’s removal or demanded his resignation.
Holmes, Marsh and their fellow "human shield" legislators have figuratively given Alabama voters the "middle finger" with respect to family values, transparency, accountability, and integrity in government. Holmes is not expected to run for re-election in 2018. Del Marsh wants to become Alabama’s next governor, yet he is refusing to stand for integrity in government when it matters the most. The “human shield” legislators who intend to run for re-election and who are following Holmes' lead are running the very real risk of ending their political careers and irreparably damaging their personal reputations. So be it.