Update: Oxendine returns contributions; watchdog files complaint over Oxendine contributions

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine said Monday he has returned contributions that came from a series of political action committees tied to a Rome-based insurance company. 

In a statement just released, Oxendine, who is the state’s insurance commissioner, said the contributions from the Alabama-based PACs appeared to be “from different entities, not controlled by the same person or people. Under those facts, as we understood them, accepting these contributions was perfectly legal. 

Oxendine also said that, “based on facts that have recently come to light, previously unknown to us, we have concerns whether our understanding of the facts were complete. Last week, before these facts fully came to light, we filed an advisory opinion request with the Georgia State Ethics Commission.”

The allegations first came to light last week through the reporting of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The paper asked Oxendine about the more than $100,000 in contributions on at least two occasions before publishings its findings on Sunday

“out of an abundance of caution, I decided to return the funds pending advice from the State Ethics Commission,” Oxendine said. 

“Let me be transparent and direct with the taxpayers of Georgia,” he concludes. “I have promised to transform Georgia government. Although my staff and legal counsel, Stefan Passantino of McKenna Long and Aldridge, advise that we have done nothing illegal, based on the facts as we know them, I am concerned Georgia voters might see this as politics as usual. Therefore, last week, immediately after my initial awareness of this matter, I ordered the process be set in motion to return every single contribution in question and seek advise as to our rights and obligations to the State Ethics Commission.”

Meanwhile, Monday, George Anderson, the executive director of the Ethics in Government Group, said he has asked the State Ethics Commission to investigate Republican gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine’s campaign contributions that are tied to a Rome-based insurance agency.

Anderson, who often files Ethics complaints against candidates and elected officials, says in a filing with the commission that Oxendine violated the state Ethics in Government Act by accepting more than $100,000 in contributions through 10 Alabama-based political action committees formed by Donald V. Watkins, a director of Admiral Life Insurance Co. of America and State Mutual Insurance. Both firms are headed by Delos “Dee” Yancey III from the same building in Rome.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the allegations on Sunday. Oxendine has not disputed the allegations in the article, but has lashed out at the AJC and accused the paper of biased reporting. 

In his filing, Anderson said Oxendine should be fined and forced to admit “illegal acceptance of said PAC contributions.”

The contributions would appear to violate both the limits of donations to an individual candidate and the state’s ban on “common source contributions,” which means an individual cannot get around contribution limits by funneling cash to a candidate through various sources he controls. It is also illegal for a candidate to accept contributions from a source he regulates. Oxendine is the state’s insurance commissioner.

44 comments Add your comment

Wacko George

May 11th, 2009
11:18 am

Watchdog? How about ambulance chaser? How about publicity hound? George Anderson is a certified nut job. His credibility with the news media is zero. If George is such a “watchdog”, why did he have to read about this story in the AJC? I thought he lives in Rome. How did such a huge “scandal” happen right under his nose? This is just another chance for this unemployed idiot to get his mug on the 6 o’clock news. Come on George, I hear Wal-Mart is hiring greeters. Try that for awhile and give us a break!

Oxendine Knows

May 11th, 2009
11:36 am

John Oxendine is in the pocket of the big insurers. His wife does, or did, work for Blue Cross. People who visit his office and ask for help with insurance problems find themselves on his mailing lists for donations to his campaign. He uses his office for fundraising. Past complaints about him have been swept under the rug. Go get ‘em, George!

pensacola dawg

May 11th, 2009
11:43 am

Oh I get it, brek the rules and if you get caught just give back the money and everything is fine. Oxendine has ruined the carier of many good insurance agents by prosecuting them for what amounts to mistakes, shoot I bet they would have loved to say whoops here is the money back. Such BS

Hera

May 11th, 2009
11:43 am

I have known John Oxendine and his father, Judge Oxendine, for thirty years. They are honest and honorable men. There is no possiblity these men can be bought at the risk of their reputations. They do the best they can with the system they have to work in today. Let’s put John Oxendine in Sonny’s place because John has worked hard for decades for the people of Georgia and will continue to do so. For those of you who voted for CHANGE, thanks a lot!!

John Madison

May 11th, 2009
11:55 am

I don’t know George Anderson from Adam but it sounds like “Wacko George” is describing Oxendine, not Mr. Anderson. If you thought Lester was bad for the state’s image, just wait until “Red Light” Oxendine gets elected (and if he wins the Republican primary, there is no doubt that he will win the general election).

WayToGoOxy

May 11th, 2009
12:00 pm

I do not believe a word from Oxendine. It amazes me that a man with his substantial resources does not know the origins of the donations, however, George from Rome has the resources to uncover the illegal donations. It seems that Mr. Oxendine should fire his cronies and hire the guy from Rome. Shoot, if Mr. Oxendine pleads ignorance, then he does not have the intelligence to run for a higher office let alone being the insurance commissioner, and I agree with Pensacola dawg, he has ruined many lives for mistakes. He is an awful example of a public servant.

Lady

May 11th, 2009
12:26 pm

You might want to start to believe him. He really is for less government and lower taxes in Georgia. He also has a plan in motion to lower corporate taxes and invite companies to relocate here to Georgia. Isnt that what you want from your local government leaders. To make Georgia a good place for you to live and work?

John does not like the politics of it all. I have had the pleasure of working with John in the Insurance industry and I can assure you he is not (what your call) in bed with these industries. He has solved several problems for me in a timely and satisfactory mannor. He demands that the rules be followed in every area of his department.

You want lower taxes, more companies in Georgia, more benefits of a good community then vote for John. You want the same, then go vote for the people who are already slamming him to the ground because of fear of the consertative who is also fed up with politics as we know it. For once do some research and avoid the CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE promises that all the democrates are promising. That change is appearing in our paychecks with the form of much higher taxes. We need someone to protect our state and our jobs and our future.

Read the full release, AJC

May 11th, 2009
12:28 pm

Obviously, the AJC didn’t bother to report the full details of Mr. Oxendine’s press release today. In it, he states that on Friday his attorney’s scheduled a call with the AJC reporters for this morning to discuss his returning the campaign contributions. Obviously, they overlooked that fact when they published this attack on Sunday. I wonder why the AJC would publish a non-story like this above the headline highlighting a mother who has three sons serving in the military protecting our country? doesn’t suprise me that the still left-lurching AJC would do such a thing…

Alphar

May 11th, 2009
12:31 pm

After former Georgia governor Zell Miller switched to Repbulican, Repulicans lost their relevance in the country. I am wondering if the 2 are related.

Mid Ga. Retiree

May 11th, 2009
12:37 pm

I am not swallowing Mr. Oxendine’s explanations. However, I am convinced that the AJC would NOT publish a similar story about a Democrat running for the governor’s office. Their coverage of Gov. Perdue and their long-standing tradition of blanket-endorsements of Democrats gives them about as much credibility as Mr. Oxendine.

State Employee

May 11th, 2009
12:52 pm

If Oxendine’s true self comes to light during his campaign, he won’t have a shot at winning. The corruption in his Office is just sickening! I wouldn’t have thought anyone could do a worse job that Sonny, but then here comes Ox!

DannyX

May 11th, 2009
12:56 pm

Enough with the ridiculous AJC bias claim.

This card has been played before. Bill Campbell and Vernon Jones tried the same thing, deflect from the issue at hand and blame the AJC for all their problems. Both of course are Democrats.

Nice company Ox is keeping.

Thomas

May 11th, 2009
1:00 pm

Nathan Deal 2010

Trust

May 11th, 2009
1:01 pm

You can not trust a single one of these people. I am from the central georgia area and I am going to vote for DuBose Porter. Dublin has been growing fast the past 18 years he has served that area well. He is a old school Democrat. He hunts every chance he gets, he is very strong in his faith, and he will LISTEN to the people of Georgia. Look into what DuBose has done for Dublin and what he COULD DO FOR GEORGIA.

OleSchool

May 11th, 2009
1:23 pm

Uh “Lady” what industry are those jobs you are talking about going to be in, please explain. Our current republican leaders opted against Biotech research, a fast-growing industry for an already highly-educated workforce in Metro-Atlanta to score political points with the religious right.

Lower taxes for businesses doesn’t equal sustainable growth and prosperity without a comprehensive plan or vision to address transportation concerns. Oxendine, nor any others Democratic candidates for that matter, have addressed the proverbial elephant in the room, which is the uncontrolled growth of Metro-Atlanta.

Ox is running on the same failed/tired platform that is hindering the growth of our state. He is devoid of any new ideas, content to lead a party where 33% of its leaders prefer to secede from the union and simply think that his johnny-come-lately admission of an ethical standard will suffice for the backward arse voters in our state. Unfortunately, it probably will.

Mr Bob

May 11th, 2009
1:35 pm

A couple of questions about Oxendine based on rumors floating around Republican circles, if you know, I would appreciate confirmation or discreditation:

Did Oxendine have a DUI or drink/driving incident(s) a few years ago?

What was the story about Oxendine and the abuse of emergency vehicle lights?

Charlie Kane

May 11th, 2009
1:40 pm

Si-rene running OX is a good man about as much as Madonna lives her life “Like A Virgin.”

James Hatcher

May 11th, 2009
1:52 pm

The only time I met John Oxendine, I thought he was a pretty nice guy. He seems like his heart is in the right place, but in the primary I will likely vote for Nathan Deal.

The key sentance in the article is “It is also illegal for a candidate to accept contributions from a source he regulates. Oxendine is the state’s insurance commissioner.”

I can assure you that Mr. Donald Watkins (the man behind the donations) made it very clear where the contributions were coming from.

Aaron Gould Sheinin

May 11th, 2009
2:30 pm

To the poster behind the monicker “Read the full release, AJC:” I wanted to offer a few more facts. My colleague Cam McWhirter, who was the primary author of Sunday’s story, talked to Oxendine several times last week and tried often to get him again on Friday. At 2:16 p.m., he got an e-mail from Stefan Passantino saying he could provide “legal perspective,” but was about to get on a plane from DC back to Atlanta, but would be available Monday morning. Cam wrote him back at 2:25 and said he would like to speak with someone that day, Friday, but would be glad to talk Monday as well.

Perimeter Progressive

May 11th, 2009
3:51 pm

I love how many times Oxendine uses “facts as we understand them.” That reeks of sleeze. Well, despite his convenient interpretation of the facts, the facts remain that he took money from people he is supposed to be regulating. The folks who think the AJC is biased for reporting, shockingly enough, actual facts honestly should get off the Bortz. Oxendine, knowing there’s no way to spin this, is trying to blame the mirror for showing his true reflection.

Perimeter Progressive

May 11th, 2009
3:56 pm

And lady – more taxes haven’t been taken out of my paycheck. Stop getting hysterical with hype. Even if Oxendolt lowers business taxes, businesses aren’t going to relocate to Atlanta because of the massive traffic jams, according to the article on Sunday that quotes from people who, you know, understand the truth rather than hysterical hyped up bortz propaganda.

Bat Boy

May 11th, 2009
4:17 pm

Perimeter Progressive:
We all see the taxes coming. You are a fool if you don’t. There is no way to keep selling half of our government spending to the Chinese for our grandchildren to repay. Taxes must ultimately rise to fund this insane level of spending. Obama’s current estimate of the deficit is four times greater than the obscene deficit that Bush ran. While there are some current estimates of spending per person, it’s instructive to see that Obama’s budget is more than $60,000 per income taxpaying family.

Use of a pejorative for a name is only appropriate in the fetid swamps where “progressives” normally hang out.
Traffic Jams are becoming the norm in Atlanta because we are allowing population growth without adequate provision to get people where they want to go. That is a code word for roads. Not bike paths. Not sidewalks. Roads.
Invoking Bortz or Rush might be a rhetorically effective bogeyman in your circles. Out in public though, it’s just boring proof of your intellectual inadequacy.

Perimeter Progressive

May 11th, 2009
4:41 pm

Bat Boy – Nice moniker, but you should let the big leagers handle this one. You must also need a little help with literacy, as no where do I mention anything about bike paths or sidewalks – gotta love the intellectual rigor of making up responses to arguments that don’t exist. I love the way you say “we are allowing”, so you must be saying the solution is big government to regulate where people can live! So, you’d be happy with a communist system? (Cause that’s what that sounds like to me – government telling people where they can and can not live.)

I’m willing to bet that Obama will be able to turn a deficit into a surplus, unlike W’s reverse.

Michael

May 11th, 2009
4:58 pm

“Nutjobs” like George Anderson and “biased liberal rags” like the AJC are instrumental in uncovering government wrongdoing by their investigations and Open Records requests. Most citizens don’t have the time nor the money to chase down self-dealing government actors. And for what it’s worth, Texas is worse.

pensacola dawg

May 11th, 2009
5:04 pm

Somebody should take a look at the nepotism in the Insurance department. I personally know thee men a father and 2 sons thathave been hired over the past 20 years to cushy out of state auditing jobs for the Ga Insurance Department. The father retired a few years back the first son has been working for the department or 15 or so years and within the past 3 years the younger brother was hired. I doubt these jobs were ever posted where anybody else can see them. They pay over 100,000 per year. How about some crack reporter look into this Its definatly the facts!!!

James

May 11th, 2009
6:05 pm

I really just don’t understand how someone on Oxendine’s staff didn’t do a little research into a PAC that was giving them so much money. It seems like that’d be slightly important.

And how about the guy who gave him the money…if he is so ready for Oxy to be governor, shouldn’t he have wanted to follow the law? That much money is bound to raise a red flag or two.

I’m tired of this race already. None of the candidates seem like even remotely good choices. Looks like another 8 years of Perdue-esqe government in Georgia.

Lynn

May 11th, 2009
6:14 pm

In order to attract new businesses with high salaries the very first thing Georgia is going to have to fix is its educational system, transportation and I dont see that coming from either party. They could not even muster up enough votes to pass a bill for sell of Alcohol on Sunday. When everyone know it is done illegally and boy do we need the revenue, to help support our failing schools and pot holes.

Anyone but Johnny

May 11th, 2009
6:23 pm

Johnny is a joke and a fraud. The sooner we get rid of him and move on the better.

Ellie

May 12th, 2009
6:36 am

Anybody who thinks Oxendine or any other Republican gives a hoot about the little guy is living in a fantasy world. He knew exactly where those donations came from and when his hand was caught in the cookie jar, he had to think of some lame excuse.

J

May 12th, 2009
8:12 am

I filed a complaint to Oxendine a few years ago when i got in a car wreck in college (from some idiot who brake-checked me). The guy who brake-checked me was driving his girlfriend’s car and didn’t have his driver’s license on him. I got stuck with the ticket, and the impact messed up my car badly. Oxendine sent me a letter saying there was no loss of value on my car, and that the major damages to my car were not going to be covered by my insurance company. I got screwed out of $3500, and had to pay that as a poor college student b/c of some idiot. How did this guy ever stay in office?

J

May 12th, 2009
8:14 am

Oh, and don’t ever get insurance with Progressive … they may be cheap, but there is a good reason they are cheapoer than the others … i learned the hard way

We Need Oxendine's Intelligence and Honesty

May 12th, 2009
8:18 am

John is an honorable man who has done a great job running the insurance department of Georgia. All candidates for public office are given contributions and they have to be able to accept them based upon the assurances of the donors. If the donors have not told the complete story, then it is hard for the candidate to know if there is something afoul. And, remember we still do not know the rest of the story since it is pending before the Ethics commission at Oxendine’s request.

Rod

May 12th, 2009
8:39 am

Why return money that is clean? Because it isn’t clean and the AJC whether left, right or chicken wing got out the truth. I laugh when people stop asking if it is a lie or the truth and start asking why didn’t they do a story about a Democratic.Neil Carter (Gimme a break). Get to the truth no matter what party they belong to a crook is still a crook whether Democrats, Republican, Green or Whig party!

GoAustinScott

May 12th, 2009
9:42 am

Repubicans really need to take a look at Austin Scott in this race. He understands rural Georgia and Metro-Atlanta and cares equally about both. He does what he feels is right and doesn’t care about standing up to other members of his own party. He is very well respected at the Capitol having served in the House for 14 years. He is young and progressive and not afraid to make tough decisions. He has my vote and I hope as people get to know him over the next year, he will earn theirs as well. Oxendine will NOT be good for Georgia!

David Milum

May 12th, 2009
9:49 am

You really want to know about what kind of a man John Oxendine is? He is a crook who illegally doubled the capacity of the Forsyth County Jail to gets votes from the sheriff’s cronies. All those inmates stuffed into a fire unsafe jail designed for half its present capacity in racks three tall….yes I said triple bunks and the floor! Big fat lie from John Oxendine, the same guy who George Anderson caught up with the last time abusing his siren to get around traffic for nothing.

For any adventurous news reporters out there, my name is in the book and the large stack of documents are in my hands. Come and get um’! John Oxendine knew exactly who gave him that money and don’t any of you folks believe any different, as it can’t be true that any of you are that gullible and plain ole stupid.

Jim Hill

May 12th, 2009
10:13 am

I am interested to know how President Obama is going to reverse the largest deficit ever, and the projections that it will grow dramatically for the remainder of his first term, to say nothing of a (hope not) second term. He is a charming and amiable man, but so far he hasn’t been close with his projections as to his budget deficits…and if he pushes through even some of his favored programs it will get much worse. It is so bad that I miss G W Bush.

Jefferson

May 12th, 2009
11:31 am

Why not just raise taxes to cover the spending ?

Dave

May 12th, 2009
1:15 pm

This candidate says if you elect me governor you won’t be getting beer sales on Sunday I am against it. We don’t need another governor who legislates morality.

Legislatorari

May 12th, 2009
2:17 pm

Legislating morality? You say we shouldn’t do it? Like laws against murder, rape, robbery and things like that? Seems to me it is a good thing to legislate against harmful immorality in our society.

Perimeter Progressive

May 12th, 2009
4:01 pm

Legislatorari, if beer on sunday is harmful immorality in our society, why aren’t you learning the crusade for total Prohibition throughout the week?

Jim Hill

May 15th, 2009
12:22 pm

You don’t raise taxes to cover spending for two reasons…the voters will turn those who do out of office, and during these economic times taking even more of the money families need to survive out of thier pockets to bail out banks and businesses seems almost criminal. I assume some would “soak the rich”, but those who invest in the businesses needed to provide jobs and taxes simply would invest less.

Geoff. Waterhouse

May 31st, 2009
12:51 am

We Need Oxendine’s Intelligence and Honesty
What a load of rubbish!!!!!!!!I would be very interested to know who wrote the claptrap “John is an honorable man who has done a great job running the insurance department of Georgia!”

John Oxendine is a LIAR and I can prove it and, Mr. Oxendine, if you read this, remember, before you pick up your phone to call your lawyer, the TRUTH is a perfect defence and I can prove what I say

[...] regulates both companies. After the AJC report, and several months after the donations were made, Oxendine returned the money “out of an abundance of [...]

Bill James

June 4th, 2010
2:05 am

John “Shake Down” Oxendine has been tracking his poll numbers for years, using his current office to entrench his cronies and shake down the industries he is supposed to oversee. I needed his help in a dispute with BCBS of Georgia involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in which they were clearly in violation of the law. He listened to our case, said he would get back with us, and then three days later, I received an invitation to attend a pricey fund-raising luncheon for his campaign. I did not ask to be on his campaign mailing list, so the inference was clear. If I scratched his back, he would scratch mine. What a crook!