Gov. Robert Bentley came out with a strongly worded statement against the federal Department of Transportation’s ongoing investigation into the state of Alabama’s recent changes to its driver’s license regime in the wake of budget cuts in Montgomery.
The second-term Republican said certain Democrats and Obama administration officials are trying to make political hay of what is essentially a simple state governmental change to increase efficiency.
“In an ongoing attempt to politicize a resolved issue, the United States Department of Justice informed my office Tuesday of an impending investigation by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) that is in its early stages and no findings have been made,” said Bentley.
“Due to legislative budget cuts, in September 2015, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) reallocated driver license examination personnel back to the district drivers license offices on a full time basis. Prior to this budget decision, these examiners, who are state employees, were traveling to each county level probate office or courthouse once or twice a week to provide the service of examination. I made the decision in October 2015 to ensure that an examiner report to each county level office at least once a month to continue providing this service,” the governor explained.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton lambasted the Bentley administration over the move during a campaign stop in Alabama in October, calling the reallocation of resources “a blast from the Jim Crow past,” referring to segregation-era policies in the state and elsewhere in the South designed to depress African-American voter turnout.
Bentley went on to say the ongoing investigation into possible Civl Rights violations is baseless, and a waste of time and money by bureaucrats in Washington.
“Despite what the Obama Administration claims, there were no driver license offices closed in Alabama,” said Bentley. “Despite facts to the contrary, opportunistic politicians such as Hillary Clinton have politicized an Alabama budgeting issue to serve their own agenda, going so far as to travel to our state for the sole purpose of political pandering.
“This USDOT investigation is nothing more than a weak attempt to embarrass the people of Alabama and exploit our state in the name of a political agenda. I am confident that the USDOT investigation will find no basis for the claims of discrimination. It is time for the Obama Administration and aspiring national politicians to listen to facts, stop wasting taxpayers’ dollars and put the political agendas away,” Bentley concluded.