Archive for May, 2010

Updated: Oxendine lawyer slams Ethics Commission

By Cameron McWhirter/cmcwhirter@ajc.com

File this under bad timing.

Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine has a potentially embarrassing hearing scheduled before the State Ethics Commission on June 24, less than a month before the July primary.

Stacey Kalberman, the commission’s executive secretary, sent Oxendine a letter this week alerting him of the upcoming public meeting.

Last year, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that two Georgia-based insurance companies had used ten Alabama political action committees to funnel $120,000 – almost ten times the legal limit – to Oxendine’s campaign.

Georgia’s Ethics-in-Government Act prohibits officials from taking money directly from companies they regulate. The law also prohibits funneling money through PACs to get around contribution limits of $12,200 per candidate in a normal election cycle.

After the stories, Oxendine returned the money and the State Ethics Commission opened an investigation. After months of …

Continue reading Updated: Oxendine lawyer slams Ethics Commission »

Updated: Chamber denies press access to gubernatorial forum

Many of the Republicans and Democrats who want to be the next governor of Georgia are at this moment discussing the state’s future at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

But what is said there is apparently a secret as the Chamber has denied requests from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other outlets to cover the panel discussion at the Ritz-Carlton along Lake Oconee.

The closing of the forum to the media has prompted protests from the AJC and other publications that are part of the Georgia Newspaper Partnership. Thirteen daily newspapers from around the state have joined together to cover this year’s elections.

Chamber spokeswoman Joselyn Baker said Wednesday that it is the Chamber’s “standard policy” to close board meetings to the media. Yet, at a forum Wednesday before the Chamber board for candidates for attorney general, a reporter for the Fulton County Daily Report was allowed to cover to discussion. When asked why that forum was …

Continue reading Updated: Chamber denies press access to gubernatorial forum »

Report: Thurmond skipped disclosures for 2 years

Jim Walls at atlantaunfiltered.com says state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond hasn’t been taking care of his paperwork:

Thurmond, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, filed no financial disclosure forms with the State Ethics Commission in 2008 or 2009, a check of the commission’s online look-up shows. Elected officials in Georgia are required to report on basic details of their personal finances every year by July 1.

Since he’s leaving his state job, Thurmond is not required to file the form this year. A similar disclosure for the Senate campaign is due Tuesday.

Continue reading Report: Thurmond skipped disclosures for 2 years »

Harp confident he’ll win GOP runoff for insurance commissioner

Larry Peterson of SavannahNow.com reports that Seth Harp says he will be one of the top two finishers in the July 20 Republican primary for state insurance commissioner.

And Harp, a Columbus state senator campaigning Tuesday in Chatham and Effingham counties, says he’ll win the Aug. 10 runoff.

“People have come to know me through my 10 years of legislative service,” he said. “They know me as a person of integrity. It’s a matter of trust.”

Nine Republicans – including John Mamalakis of Savannah – and one Democrat are seeking to replace the GOP’s John Oxendine, who is running for governor.  Read the complete story

Continue reading Harp confident he’ll win GOP runoff for insurance commissioner »

Perdue hints at backing independent candidate for state superintendent

Earlier this week, we told you that Gov. Sonny Perdue might appoint a successor to state School Superintendent Kathy Cox — who would then conduct an independent campaign to win a full four years in November.

Otherwise, the timing of Cox’s resignation restricts Perdue to the five candidates – two Republicans and three Democrats – already on the ballot. Or, Perdue could pick a caretaker who would simply fill out the last six months of Cox’s term.

On Tuesday, after signing a bill that gives the governor more power to intervene in the affairs of troubled school systems, Perdue dropped a very large hint that he is indeed considering Door No. 3 – the independent route.   Read the complete story

Continue reading Perdue hints at backing independent candidate for state superintendent »

Andrew Young: Tea party motivated by ‘nativism’

AJC columnist Jim Galloway reports that in an interview with ABC News, former Atlanta mayor and Civil Rights legend Andrew Young was asked what he thought about the tea party movement:

[H]e’ll all but tell you it’s one sign the country hasn’t reached a post-racial era.

“Without making a moral judgment about it, let’s just say ethno-centrism runs so deep in America that we are hardly beyond this,” he said….

The tea party “is motivated by a nativism — an appeal to the good old days and people who are anxious about change and want to go back to the way they would like to think things were.”

Young, 78, was plugging a new book, “Walk in My Shoes,” that he’s co-authored with his godson, Kabir Sehgal.

Continue reading Andrew Young: Tea party motivated by ‘nativism’ »

Report: GOP’s Johnson didn’t report some funds

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Eric Johnson did not disclose more than $280,000 in taxpayer money paid to his Savannah architecture firm at a time when he was required to do so, according to an Associated Press review of financial reports and state records.

Under state ethics law, Johnson was obligated to disclose any business with the state worth more than $20,000 since he held more than a 10 percent ownership as a managing partner of Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung — one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the Southeast. Johnson no longer has an ownership interest in the firm.

Between 1999 and 2004, Johnson’s financial disclosure reports show the firm took in $578,953 for design work on eight state contracts, most for the state university system. At the time, Johnson was the top Republican in the state Senate.

Missing from Johnson’s reports, however, was an additional $289,375 the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission paid to the Savannah firm …

Continue reading Report: GOP’s Johnson didn’t report some funds »

Barnes hits Atlanta airwaves with two-week buy

Former Gov. Roy Barnes will pepper Atlanta airwaves over the next two weeks with his first campaign ad in the state’s largest media market.

The AJC’s Jim Galloway brought you the ad first this morning. The ad, entitled “Chalkboard,” will appear on WSB-TV, WXIA, WAGA and WATL. Barnes’ campaign spent about $150,000 for airtime. It is Barnes’ third ad of his campaign to seek re-election to the post he lost in 2002. His first two spots, however, didn’t air in the Atlanta market.

Former Adjutant Gen. David Poythress is the only other Democratic gubernatorial candidate to run television ads, although his aired only in southern  parts of the state. Republican Eric Johnson, a former state senator, is the only GOP candidate to air an ad in the Atlanta market.

In the new spot, which focuses on the economy and jobs, Barnes promises to end teacher furloughs and restore a state-funded property tax relief grant that the Republican-controlled General Assembly eliminated.

According to public …

Continue reading Barnes hits Atlanta airwaves with two-week buy »

Senate candidate smeared in anonymous flier

The race to fill the 42nd district state senate seat, set in a heavily Democratic area of metro Atlanta, has been a downright polite affair over the past several months. Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, Decatur lawyer Tom Stubbs, independent Steve Patrick and Libertarian David Montane have avoided any nastiness. Carter and Stubbs, both Democrats and both lawyers, have publicly said they think the other candidate is a nice guy.

But on the Friday before next Tuesday’s special election, things got ugly in the district, which encompasses eastern sections of the city and a large part of DeKalb County including Decatur. Someone – no one has taken responsibility – distributed fliers in the Toco Hills neighborhood that purported to show one of Carter’s donors in a photograph with the late Yasser Arafat, onetime leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and first president of the Palestinian National Authority. The flier linked Carter and …

Continue reading Senate candidate smeared in anonymous flier »

Updated: If there’s an election but no candidates, who wins?

Two-term state House member Rep. Kevin Levitas (D-Atlanta) announced Friday he will not seek re-election, leaving exactly zero candidates running for House District 82.

Levitas qualified to run again last week, but in a statement Friday said he has changed his mind.

“Given the immense talent and dedication of those in our community, I know that our area and our state will be well-served by my successor,” Levitas said in a statement.

But, no other candidate has qualified to run. So who will represent the DeKalb County district?

That, apparently, is a good question. Nobody seems to know for sure just yet, although several possibilities exist. Primary among them is that someone can petition to run as an independent, which would require collecting signatures from 5 percent of eligible registered voters in the district. With just more than 25,000 registered voters in District 82, it would only require about 1,250 signatures.

That seems the most likely way the seat could …

Continue reading Updated: If there’s an election but no candidates, who wins? »