State Auditor Jim Zeigler is an old foe of Gov. Robert Bentley.
Now that the governor is now embattled over accusations of inappropriate behavior towards a former staffer – and widespread opposition from members of his own Republican Party – Zeigler made remarks over the weekend indicating he does not intend to ease off now.
Zeigler spoke to supporters of the so-called Common Sense Campaign, a conservative political group, in the town of Theodore over the weekend, away from the scourge of “Sodom and Montgomery.”
There, he excoriated the governor for what he called — appropriating the famous Hank Williams song — “His Cheatin’ Heart.”
“When tears come down like fallin’ rain / You’ll toss around and call her name,” recited Zeigler in a bawdy send-up of Zeigler. “But she won’t come the whole night through / because her cushy job is through.”
Zeigler served up invective against both Zeigler and the lawmakers who have made little progress in fledgling efforts to impeach him.
Calling his summary of the matter a “Lack of Progress Report,” Zeigler noted a bill to begin impeachment proceedings filed by Rep. Ed Henry has not been taken up in committee and stands little chance of passing before the Legislature adjourns by May 16. Zeigler said that means no legislative impeachment process could take effect until 2017 at the earliest.
“The people of Alabama want and need a solution to the serious problems in the governor’s office soon, not in 2017,” said Zeigler. “To allow the dysfunction… to linger until 2017 is not acceptable.”
Towards that end, Zeigler proposed legislative to create what he dubbed an “executive recall.”
The bill, which he said was more likely to pass than existing mechanisms, would:
- Propose a constitutional amendment establishing a recall process for all seven members of the Cabinet, including the offices of governor and state auditor, to be voted on in November 2016;
- Provide that a petition by 10 percent of registered voters may trigger such a process; and
- If recalled, a special election to replace the governor would be held within 120 days.
The process would avoid the usual order of succession should a governor step down, whereby an existing officer would take their place because that way, “The people remain in control, not Montgomery politicians.”