|"Luv Guv" Bentley and his girlfriend|
But Legal Schnauzer readers should not be surprised by any of this. We broke stories that first showed Bentley and Strange are ethically challenged. We even broke the story that Cooper Shattuck, a Bentley sycophant and possible replacement for Strange as AG, has the moral underpinnings of a gila monster. (Our apologies to gila monster lovers around the globe.)
All three of these "gentlemen" have engaged in extramarital affairs while serving in prominent public positions. "Luv Guv" Bentley is known for groping the nether regions and massaging the boobs of his married adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Mason and her husband accompanied the governor to the Donald Trump inauguration on state aircraft, along with an unidentified "special guest." I'm a pretty square guy, but even I can't ignore the kinky fumes put off by that arrangement.
Strange had a well-publicized affair with Jessica Medeiros Garrison, his one-time campaign manager. We are hearing reports that Strange also sunk his claws into another young female staffer who, like Garrison, went through a curious divorce just as she was getting comfortable in LutherLand. (We intend to apply a full-court press to crack that story; when and if we do, you will be reading about it here.)
Our guess is that Garrison is desperate to land some kind of Senate job under Strange, even though her child-custody order requires her to stay within 60 miles of ex-husband Lee Garrison, who resides in Tuscaloosa. Maybe Lee Garrison, who recently announced he would not seek re-election to the Tuscaloosa City School Board, can get a job with Strange and they all can move to the northern Virginia suburbs as one big dysfunctional family. I write that last sentence only slightly in jest. I would not be at all surprised if it happens. After all, Luther Strange has a lot of reasons to make sure the Garrisons keep their power-hungry tastes sated -- and their mouths shut.
As for Shattuck, Bentley's former legal adviser and former general counsel at the University of Alabama, he had an affair with Lisa Waldrop, assistant director of media and communication at Shelton State Community College. Shattuck also was known for boosting the career of young staff lawyer Katie Osburne, elevating her over much more experienced UA attorneys for reasons that were hard to decipher.
How's this for irony? Bentley and Strange ran for public office as "Christian, family values" conservatives of exceptional moral fabric. Shattuck used to be an assistant pastor at First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa until he and Waldrop apparently were booted when their affair became widely known. All three have proven to be "men of the flesh" -- quite literally.
|Luther Strange and his girlfriend|
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed his state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, to fill just-confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat, apparently ignoring widespread concern about the appearance of a corrupt trade.
The Alabama attorney general’s office is conducting an investigation related to Bentley, against whom Strange requested impeachment efforts be stalled in November, citing “related work” by his office. Now, Bentley will be able to pick Strange’s replacement, too.
“I have learned you can’t be surprised in politics, and especially in Alabama politics,” says state Rep. Allen Farley, a fellow Republican who serves on the Alabama House Judiciary Committee, which Strange asked to delay impeachment work.
“If you think something can’t happen, you haven’t been here long,” Farley says. “There are a lot of meetings that aren’t public.”
U.S. News provided details about the deep doo-doo in which Bentley and his paramour, Ms. Mason, reside:
Bentley is caught in a complex web of scandals involving an alleged affair with a now-former senior aide whose husband is an appointee and the alleged retaliatory firing of a state official who cooperated in the corruption prosecution of a state legislature leader later sentenced to prison.
Farley says he’s willing to give Strange – who will be up for re-election in 2018 – the benefit of the doubt that “it’s just one of those things where it appears there could have been collusion."
He recalls the committee being “right in the middle” of its impeachment probe when “all the sudden we get a letter from the attorney general asking us to step down. And shortly after that, this occurs, where Luther is going to put his hat in the ring.”
Farley says he’s also trying to remain optimistic that impeachment work will move forward, though he’s concerned Bentley’s pick for the new state attorney general will slow-walk or nix that office’s probe.
None of this should be a surprise. Why should the public trust Bentley and Strange when we showed long ago that their spouses should not trust them?