|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
Does that add to the evidence that Bentley was using state resources to facilitate an extramarital affair that ended his 50-year marriage to Dianne Bentley and launched multiple criminal investigations of his administration? That certainly appears to be the case.
This is from the Lewis civil complaint, providing insight about when those closest to Gov. Bentley began to suspect he was having an affair:
May 4, 2014, is when Lewis first learned that Governor Bentley might be having an affair with Mrs. Mason. The Governor was flying to Talladega for a race, at which he was the Grand Marshall. Lewis, Paul Bentley (the Governor’s oldest son), the Governor, Mason, and the Governor’s grandchildren were on a State plane.
Paul Bentley leaned over and said to Lewis, “I need to talk to you later in the week.” Ray replied, “Okay. What about?” “Mom says she is seeing ghosts.” “What do you mean?”, asked Lewis. Paul Bentley replied, “She thinks Dad is having a relationship with Rebekah.”
That is in the general time frame of a Decatur Daily article titled "Gov. Bentley picks up pace of in-state flights." From the article, dated July 26, 2014, and written by Mary Sell:
Gov. Robert Bentley’s use of state-owned aircraft increased in the first quarter of this year as he flew around Alabama more often than in the previous three years.
His communications officials say the travel was all related to his role as governor and not his re-election campaign. Any campaign expenses incurred by his office have been reimbursed by his campaign.
Bentley’s flight logs, but not the trips’ costs, are listed on his office’s website. The log for the second quarter — April, May and June — had not been posted as of late last week.
Most of Bentley’s flights are on an older-model Alabama Department of Transportation jet. In June, The Decatur Daily filed an open records request with ALDOT for the cost of each trip taken by Bentley from January through June 3, the GOP primary.
The department turned over records, for a $118 fee, on 35 flights totaling about $83,600. Bentley’s office occasionally uses other state agency aircraft, including that belonging to the department of public safety.
“The governor uses the plane as necessary to fulfill the duties of being governor,” Jennifer Ardis, spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said Thursday in an email. “His goal is to meet with people outside of Montgomery in order to understand local issues and communicate his message of job creation, government efficiency savings, etc.
Did the governor also use the plane to help fulfill his "manly needs"? Alabama taxpayers certainly have grounds to ask that question, seeing as how they pay for these things. You will notice that Bentley's communications team tried to quell any drama that might come from questions about use of state aircraft. And a key member of that team, in various roles, was . . . Rebekah Caldwell Mason. The Decatur Daily helped put her in the spotlight:
Rebekah Caldwell Mason, Bentley’s campaign spokeswoman, said the governor has never used state aircraft for campaign purposes. The Bentley campaign has made payments to the state’s General Fund as reimbursement for campaign-related travel in state vehicles, as required by state code.
Records on the secretary of state’s website show Bentley’s camp has paid $758 to the General Fund since August of last year for transportation and administration cost reimbursements.
Mason is listed as being on at least one flight paid by taxpayers, according to the online flight logs. Before she was his campaign spokeswoman, Mason was director of communications in the governor’s office.
“When the Governor’s Communications Office is short-staffed, I volunteer at no cost to the taxpayers, and the law allows for that,” Mason said of why she was on the flight.
So the governor's mistress volunteered to board flights, at no cost to taxpayers, because . . . well, she's just a swell gal. It surely had nothing to do with allegations, as outlined in the Lewis lawsuit, that she was bonking the governor at the time.