Archive for September, 2010

Campaign paid $135K to lease aircraft from company Nathan Deal co-owns

Nathan Deal’s campaign for governor has paid a company in which the Republican nominee is a part owner more than $135,000 to lease aircraft — many times more than any other candidate for governor in this campaign cycle.

Since its launch in May 2009, Deal’s campaign has paid $6,000 a month for access to an airplane and a helicopter, as well as additional thousands of dollars a month in actual flight costs.

Deal’s Democratic opponent, Roy Barnes, has paid about $16,000 for aviation services since July 1, 2009. Deal’s former rival for the GOP nomination, Karen Handel, paid $6,325.40 in airfare in 2010.

State ethics laws bar candidates from using campaign money for personal benefit. It is unclear whether Deal personally benefited from the money paid to his company.

Chris Riley, Deal’s campaign manager and pilot, said neither Deal, his campaign nor his private company are making money from the arrangement.

The campaign, Riley said, sought an attorney’s opinion “to be sure we are …

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Libertarian John Monds: Eliminate state income tax

In an interview with the Associated Press’ Doris Turner, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate John Monds, among other things,  says a big part of fixing the state’s economy is doing away with the state income tax and instituting a fairer system:

Monds said he would do away with the state income tax, instead relying on sales tax with local revenue-sharing, which he says is fairer.

“Everybody pays instead of a particular segment of the population,” Monds said. “You don’t want to punish those who produce, and that’s what an income tax does. We ought to encourage more production.”

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Nathan Deal: Cautious candidate casts himself as proven leader

In a new Associated Press profile of GOP gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, childhood friends say he always seemed destined to be a leader:

Nathan Deal has been building the resume to run for governor his whole life.

Top grades. Student body president. Debate champion. Law school. Military record. A nearly three-decade-long career in the state Legislature and Congress.

“We all figured in, oh, the 5th or 6th grade that Nathan was going to be governor,” said his childhood friend Tommy Walker, of Sandersville. “He was just that way, the class leader with the good grades. It’s like it was in his DNA.”

Deal beat former Secretary of State Karen Handel this August in a GOP runoff and now faces Democratic opponent and former governor Roy Barnes. Since that win, Deal’s record in politics been overshadowed by looming financial problems, including a need to repay a $2 million debt from a failed store run by his daughter and son-in-law.

Throughout his career, Deal, 68, has been the kind …

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Barnes, Deal oppose pipeline to Savannah River to draw water for Atlanta

Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes appear to be on the same page when it comes to making the state’s water challenges a top priority. The Augusta Chronicle’s Walter C. Jones explored their positions in a weekend article:

Gubernatorial candidates Nathan Deal and Roy Barnes both rank solving the state’s water crisis as a top priority, and they mention many of the same solutions, such as building more reservoirs and negotiating with neighboring states. The biggest differences come in how far they are proposing to go toward those goals.

However, one step they both vow not to take is laying a cross-country pipeline to withdraw water from the Savannah River to supply Atlanta.

“Taking water from the Savannah River Basin is not an option,” Deal says.

Barnes frequently uses the line, “Ours is a storage problem. Ours is not a supply problem.”

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Nathan Deal on Ga. 400 toll: ‘Georgians will support new tolls only if we keep promises’

The State Road and Tollway Authority, led by Gov. Sonny Perdue, on Friday voted to continue the Ga. 400 tolls until 2020, reports my AJC colleague Ariel Hart.

The decision will no doubt have an impact on political campaigns up and down the ticket, beginning with the governor’s contest.

The first word from the campaign of Republican Nathan Deal expresses his disagreement with the decision, but includes no criticism of Gov. Sonny Perdue — not even a mention:

“Ga. 400 commuters are also taxpayers like all other drivers in our state, and I don’t think it’s fair to continue to single them out for this daily fee,” Deal said. “It’s certainly true that this corridor has undergone explosive growth in the past 20 years , but so have many other corridors in the metro Atlanta area.

“In these tight budget times, we must consider all options for improving mobility in metro Atlanta and throughout the rest of the state. Tolls will play a role in how we fund needed expansions in highway …

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Phil Gingrey’s call for bipartisanship doesn’t make GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’

This just in from AJC’s Washington reporter Bob O’Keefe:

The “Pledge to America” that Republicans unveiled Thursday is filled with plenty of ideas the GOP says are necessary to make Washington work better.

But here’s one proposal that Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta said he suggested to GOP leaders that didn’t make it into the party plan.

Too bad, because it could’ve been the one that would’ve made the most difference.

Just prior to the unveiling of the “pledge,” every Republican House member was called together by GOP leadership and asked if they had any last-minute suggestions. Gingrey said he delivered his in writing.

His idea: Include a pledge of bipartisanship to the American people.

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Deal discloses finances again; says he’s not insolvent

Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal filed a new financial disclosure statement Thursday after a week of questions about his financial state, including questions about his personal solvency.

The latest disclosure, the second amendment in seven days for Deal, comes after media pressure to explain apparent omissions of assets and debts, and after a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Deal’s personal finances appeared to be in turmoil.

Deal’s campaign, which began 16 months ago, acknowledged errors in previous filings, saying that it was not familiar with state requirements after the former state legislator had spent 18 years in Congress.

Thursday’s release paints a brighter financial picture for the Gainesville Republican. Deal reports a net worth of $2.86 million, up 38 percent from his disclosure of just a week ago. Deal’s claimed real estate holdings jumped from $1.97 million a week ago to $5.66 million Thursday.

Deal reported substantially …

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More students close to Sanford Bishop received charity scholarships

More students with close ties to U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) or his family appear to have received charity scholarships distributed by the District 2 congressman, who is seeking re-election in November.

The Associated Press reports four more students have acknowledged receiving the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards. Bishop already has paid back scholarships that went to several family members. He has said Republican rival Mike Keown is using the scholarship revelations in a  “smear campaign”. From the AP:

Now the circle of people known to have received scholarships and have connections to the Bishops is growing, raising fresh criticism from a government watchdog group and questions from charity officials. Public documents and interviews show that two scholarships went to the children of individuals who were employed by Bishop’s wife, while two more went to persons with connections to the congressman’s office.

“Those scholarships were intended to go to smart, …

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Monds, Deal, Barnes confirmed for Oct. 3 debate before college students

Who says young adults aren’t interested in the political process? This report in from AJC reporter Laura Diamond:

Student leaders from several Georgia colleges have organized a gubernatorial debate to be held Oct. 3 at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. Democrat Roy Barnes, Republican Nathan Deal and Libertarian John Monds are confirmed to attend, student organizers said.

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Roy Barnes announces endorsements from Republicans

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes announced endorsements from several Republicans today.

Saying they are now members of his “Republicans for Roy Steering Committee,” he identified them as:

• Curtis B. Avery Jr., a retired cattle farmer from Harris County

• Dr. Gale Buchanan, a former U.S. under secretary of agriculture from Cook County

• Carlton E. Joyce, an attorney from Chatham County

• Martin Nesmith, a businessman from Evans County

• Steve Roberts, a Berrien County commissioner

• Larry Snellgrove, a former county commissioner from Houston County

• Charles B. “Charlie” Tanksley, a former state senator from Cobb County

• Lisa Underwood, a former the Georgia Education Association’s Republican Caucus co-chair from Lee County

• Jeff Wainwright, a past president of Georgia Peach Council from Taylor County

• State Rep. Bob Lane, of Bulloch County

“Right now, Georgia is falling behind,” Lane said in a prepared statement, “and more than ever before, we must elect a true …

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