Within hours of a Georgia Supreme Court decision upholding the use of touch-screen voting machines, Secretary of State Karen Handel celebrated with a press release.
“Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation due to our four levels of security testing on touch-screen voting machines,” crowed the Republican candidate for governor.
But if Handel is fer it, then GOP rival John Oxendine must be agin it.
Said the Ox, in a counter news release:
”With all due respect and appreciation for the Supreme Court of Georgia, I am deeply disappointed in the decision today to reject the challenge to touch-screen electronic voting machines.
….[M]any Georgians will suggest, and I agree, that the 2000 presidential election demonstrates the exact need for a back-up paper system to establish the integrity of the voting process.”
Who knew that Oxendine was an Al Gore man?
A third Republican candidate for governor, Eric Johnson, was at the state Capitol on Monday, packing up his office. After 17 years, Johnson resigned from the Senate in order to concentrate full-time on his gubernatorial campaign.
Johnson said the University of Georgia has asked for his papers and such – or at least the right of first refusal. “I never considered myself a historical figure,” he said.
On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes has penciled in a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser at the World Trade Club in downtown Atlanta on Oct. 13. It looks to be a McKenna, Long & Aldridge affair. Organizers are Buddy Darden, Gordon Giffin, Steve Labovitz, Keith Mason and Ed Sims.
DuBose Porter, another Democratic candidate for governor, has relaunched his Web site with the video below.
But Porter might want to work on what the trade calls search engine optimization. If you Google “DuBose Porter governor,” the first thing that pops up is Roy 2010 Governor. Fancy that.
If only golf could be played in church basements instead of at country clubs. We told you about that ABC News piece from last week, which focused on the way members of Congress use leadership PACs to boost their lifestyles.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss was the poster child. But Republicans are still talking about the numbers rattled off in this parallel Washington Post article over the weekend:
In California, he’s putted at Pebble Beach, where a round of golf costs $495. In Florida, he’s driven the ball down the fairways of the Boca Raton Resort, with its signature island green on the 18th hole. These are among the dozen premier resorts where Chambliss played golf in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars.
Yet Chambliss is hardly rich. His net worth is between $181,006 and $415,000, according to his 2007 financial disclosure report, ranking him 91st in the Senate in terms of wealth.
The congressman pays for his golf through a political leadership fund, the Republican Majority Fund, which took in $692,618 during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost all of it came from lobbyists, political action committees and corporate leaders.
But of the $112 million that leadership PACs spent during the two-year campaign cycle that led up to the 2008 elections, less than half was passed on to candidates or party committees, according to a ProPublica analysis of Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The rest paid for entertainment, administrative costs, fundraising and other categories that are so vague that it’s impossible to know for sure how the money was spent….
Leadership PACS file disclosure forms with the FEC that are so cursory that lawmakers don’t have to disclose who contributed at a PAC fundraiser, the day the event was held or how much money was raised.
Chambliss’s leadership PAC ran up a $50,394 bill at the Ritz-Carlton Naples on Jan. 25, 2008. The only note of explanation was the stated purpose, “PAC EVENT/LODGING/BANQUET/GOLF.”
“The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to tell the personal from the political,” said FEC Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub. Only a quarter of the more than $750,000 that Chambliss’s PAC spent during the 2008 cycle — about $200,000 — went to help GOP candidates. The rest went for golf, including payments to resorts and transportation — a private jet on one occasion and limos on another. In July, ABC News cameras captured shots of Chambliss and other lawmakers playing golf at the five-star Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
Chambliss declined to be interviewed but his communications director, Bronwyn Lance Chester, defended the golf outings.
“Every fundraising event Sen. Chambliss has held has been appropriately conducted, all expenses have been closely scrutinized and all reporting has been accurate,” she said.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Recession pushes 26,000 metro Atlanta families into poverty. Austell moves toward contract with disaster recovery company. Homeless sex offenders live in woods in Cobb County. Atlanta fined $1.6 million for pension glitch. King siblings hold shareholder’s meeting — first in five years. Grady dialysis patients to get care for three months. Snellville delays Sunday liquor decision. Young strippers from Cheetah win court case. Rome bans “Girls Gone Wild” event. Illegal aliens charged $2K for driver’s license.
Two views: How should President Barack Obama respond to the fight in Afghanistan? U.S. turns blind eye to obesity as health costs soar. Marriage crisis is root of poverty.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
ABC: Morris Publishing Group working to restructure outside bankruptcy court. Athens Banner-Herald: Broun softens health care reform rhetoric .
UPI: CIA opens center for climate change. NYT: Abortion fight complicates debate on health care. WSJ: Iran’s troubling nuclear disclosure leaves key questions to be answered.
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.