Gov. Robert Bentley Thursday appointed state attorney general Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, following his confirmation as U.S. attorney general. Strange will serve through at least the 2018 election. Strange had announced his intention to seek the seat regardless of whether Bentley appointed him. The appointment raised eyebrows because of the reported ongoing investigation of the governor's office by Strange, and the fact Bentley will appoint his successor. While Strange has never confirmed the investigation, he asked the House Judiciary Committee to suspend its impeachment investigation of Bentley, due to "related work" by his office. Some state lawmakers were sharply critical of the appointment. A leader of the impeachment efforts, state Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle), said it "looks like collusion." State Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) said Bentley's move appeared both "corrupt" and "foolish." Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), an unsuccessful aspirant for the appointment, called it "awkward." Strange denied any deal was made, noting that his request to the committee occurred before the election. Bentley named Alice Martin, a deputy state attorney general and former U.S. Attorney, to serve as acting attorney general, while he interviews candidates for the position.
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