How will Governor Bentley respond to State Auditor’s Order?

FILE -In this Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley listens to a phone call as Rebekah Mason, right, announces his win for Alabama governor, in Montgomery, Ala. Bentley defeated his opponent Democrat Parker Griffith. Bentley admitted Wednesday, March 23, 2016, that he made inappropriate remarks to his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Bentley said he did not have a sexual relationship with Mason, but he apologized to his family and Mason's for his behavior. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

VANCE, Ala. (WIAT) — Governor Bentley made a public appearance Friday in Tuscaloosa County to highlight job growth, but he’s also facing new questions related to the scandal in Montgomery.

Bentley appeared at the Mercedes Plant in Vance, where a $1.3 billion addition is being built nearby, to talk about his administrations success in the automotive industry, but he is facing new hurdles related to allegations.

Governor Bentley  refuses to discuss the order requesting telephone and financial records related to himself and his former senior political adviser

“I’m here to talk about jobs,” he said.

Likewise, he isn’t commenting on the impeachment resolution in the House.

Bentley’s trip to Vance is meant to highlight nearly 20,000 jobs that will be created over the next 1-2 years in the states multimillion dollar automotive industry. But it appears he cannot escape the dark cloud of controversy hanging over the state capitol, even with the big announcement in his hometown.

The Governor released a brief response on his website Friday:

“The appropriate legal process is through the Alabama Ethics Commission where the Auditor has already filed a complaint, and we are fully cooperating in every way. I do not intend to respond further to Mr. Zeigler.”

Apart from that response, Bentley is not taking questions on the topic.

Lawmakers pushing for impeachment say Bentley’s credibility and his ability to attract new industry has been compromised.

CBS42 asked commerce secretary Greg Canfield if the scandal has made his job tougher.

“You know I don’t notice,” Canfield said. “You know we’re so focused on what we’re doing and the day-to-day activity of carrying out our strategy that we really don’t have a lot of time to pay a lot of attention to external factors.”

With questions lingering about how the scandal will affect Bentley’s legacy, CBS42 asked Canfield what he predicts  people will remember 20 years from today.

” I think people are going to remember the fact that they will have more opportunities 20 years from now because of the work that we did today,” he said.

We spoke with Zeigler on the phone earlier. He says his biggest challenge in trying to force the governor to cooperate is that the state auditor does not have subpoena power. He is strategizing about a way to force the governor to turn over the records he requested.

 

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