Doctor wants Bentley removed from election

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Jonathan Hardison
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Former Birmingham city councilor Dr. Jimmy Blake has filed a lawsuit seeking to have Dr. Robert Bentley removed from the ballot because Blake says Bentley violated campaign finance laws.

The lawsuit alleges Dr. Bentley's campaign sent out robocalls in July that were actually coordinated by the AEA, but says Bentley's campaign didn't report that help as a contribution, a violation of campaign law.

Blake says Bentley's name should be taken off next Tuesday's ballot as the result.

"Everybody who runs for office are told the rules to play by," Dr. Blake said. "He's to be the chief executive officer of the state of Alabama, he's run a campaign that he's going to clean up politics and bring in new ethics laws. Well, what's the point of new laws if Dr. Bentley thinks he's above the laws we currently have?"

"That's just all politics, that's all it is," Dr. Bentley said. "It has no merit whatsoever, we're letting our attorneys handle all that, it's just politics, it has no merit."

Campaigning in Shelby County Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Bentley said the only robocalls he knew about were positive ones his campaign was doing.

"We did not know who was actually paying for the ones they're talking about," Bentley said. "It turns out Stan Pate was supposed to pay for them, he didn't pay for them, AEA paid for them. When we found out about it, it was reported as in-kind contribution, we immediately reported it and followed the law, and that's all there is."

The attorney general's office also sent Bentley's campaign a letter this week asking the return of 6 contributions from corporations that the government says were over the legal limit.

Bentley said his campaign wasn't trying to hide anything and in fact, found 2 more questionable checks after going back over its records that it is also returning. So is the man leading most polls worried?    

"I've traveled this state, people, they really do not care about robocalls," Bentley said. "What they care about right now is their job, they're caring about things that really affect them. No one is talking to me about these except the news media, so it's really not an issue."

Dr. Blake is hopes to get a hearing on the lawsuit later this week. The election is Tuesday.

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