Robert Bentley investigation cost taxpayers an estimated $1M - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Robert Bentley investigation cost taxpayers an estimated $1M

Robert Bentley (Source: Facebook) Robert Bentley (Source: Facebook)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
AL State Auditor Jim Zeigler. (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM) AL State Auditor Jim Zeigler. (Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) – The Robert Bentley investigation came with a hefty price tag out of taxpayers’ pockets.

According to the Alabama state auditor's office,  the investigation cost an estimated $1 million, and many lawmakers are calling for Bentley to pay this money back.

While there is a request from the state auditor regarding the investigation fees, the auditor is estimating the total to be more than $1 million.

So far, a breakdown of fees total $895,000, and that’s not including fees from the Alabama Ethics Commission.

“To be throwing away a million dollars both prosecuting and defending. The taxpayers paid for both sides we got hit both ways we paid to prosecute Robert Bentley and we paid to defend Robert Bentley something is wrong with this picture,” says Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler.

 Zeigler says the year-long investigation of the former governor easily cost the state over one million dollars.

“The ethics commission investigation was over a year long, they interviewed 33 witnesses and processed 45,000 pages of documentary evidence, now that’s huge,” Zeigler said.

The State Auditor's office says they’re looking into new legislation where the state doesn’t have to pay for the defense cost if a public official is being criminally investigated or being investigated on impeachment.

“Now there are some constitutional considerations the person is of course innocent until proven guilty but that does not mean we taxpayers have to pay to prosecute and defend the accused,” Zeigler said.

Zeigler says the legal fees listed don't include the alleged illegal money used to defend former Bentley aide Rebekah Mason.

To view a breakdown of fees so far click here.

RELATED: Special Coverage: Resignation of Robert Bentley

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