Your morning jolt: Lessons on how to pay-to-play nice

Two months ago, Rick Thompson resigned as executive director of the State Ethics Commission.

At the time, Thompson said he intended to start a public strategy firm.

That idea has a little more flesh on it now. Thompson will ally himself with the well-connected law firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge to help candidates and corporations chart their way through federal and state ethics laws.

Here’s a taste of the press release:

This alliance presents [McKenna, Long & Aldridge] with the unique opportunity to utilize Thompson’s expertise on personal and campaign finance disclosure by state, county and municipal candidates, election officials and registration and disclosure by lobbyists, according to Stefan Passantino, head of MLA’s Political Law practice.

“Georgia corporations and candidates have come under ever-increasing scrutiny in recent years,” said Political Law Team Leader Stefan Passantino. “Having the ability to team with the ultimate Ethics Commission insider on issues pertaining to filings and the Committee’s most pressing concerns is an invaluable asset for our clients.”

The law firm, by the way, has now has a blog dedicated to pay-to-play law.

Passantino should ring a bell with you. He’s John Oxendine’s attorney, and last week was tasked with defending the Republican candidate for governor before the ethics commission.

Passantino argued before the board that Oxendine had no reason to believe that the $120,000 in contributions from political action committees were improper or worse, illegal. One of the questions is whether the PACs involved are separate entities. They have the same address, the same director and were all mailed to Oxendine on the same dates.

Already, pay-to-play has become a hot topic in the Atlanta city races, according to my AJC colleague Cameron McWhirter:

As Atlanta campaigns approach their climax, Common Cause Georgia has launched a lobbying effort for the next City Council to pass a “no pay to play” ordinance to limit political donations from individuals and companies that do business with the city.

City Council members said they saw the group’s intentions as good but wondered whether the legislation was practical. They also said the ordinance implies that donors that do business with the city only give to get or keep business, or “pay to play.”

The wire service AFP reports that Jimmy Carter, 85, next month will lead thousands of Habitat for Humanity volunteers building homes for the poor in five Asian nations along the Mekong River, including Vietnam.

Speaking of missions, Republican candidate for governor Eric Johnson of Savannah returned Tuesday from a two-week, church-sponsored to India. Now to back to fund-raising.

While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Nathan Deal worries about vaccine distribution.
  • Clayton OKs in-house study on impact of shutting down C-Tran.
  • Atlanta’s new officers may not hit streets for months.
  • Fulton students to get shorter school year but longer days.
  • Sandy Springs sidesteps Scientology decision.
  • System under siege after murder suspect removes ankle monitor.
  • Former UGA player charged with murder.
  • Some opinion:

  • ‘Other’ voters emerge in Atlanta races.
  • Bob Barr says making nasty faces now a Patriot Act violation.
  • And from beyond:

  • WP: U.S. deeply split on troop increase for Afghan war.
  • Boston Globe: Amherst, Mass., mulls resolution welcoming Guantanamo detainees.
  • NYT: Vatican bidding to get Anglicans to join its fold.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    10 comments Add your comment

    Krooked Kasim

    October 21st, 2009
    9:02 am

    I wonder if he was on the committee when Kasim had to pay all of his ethics fines. http://www.notkasim.blogspot.com

    GoOx

    October 21st, 2009
    9:10 am

    Where has Deal been for the last 16 years? Funny haven’t seen any press releases of letters anytime before he was running against my man Ox. Here’s what Deal, Real, Ghetto, Steal really represents:
    http://www.beaconcastmedia.com/politics/Nathan-Deal-We-Hardly-Knew-Ye-984

    Nice to see Eric is back and ready to focus on his campaign instead of wondering across India.

    How about Handel’s, whining I had a tough life article:

    http://www.beaconcastmedia.com/cover-stories/The-Real-Karen-Handel-Not-What-You-Think–More-Than-You-Know-982

    RUKidding

    October 21st, 2009
    9:11 am

    Wonder how much the Ox is going to pay off Thompson through Mckenna

    General Sherman

    October 21st, 2009
    10:14 am

    Jimmah needs to keep his old sinile butt in Plains.Let Viet Nam rebuild it s own country!

    Base

    October 21st, 2009
    12:30 pm

    Sounds like Rick is a crook to me.

    SoMuch HateintheWorld

    October 21st, 2009
    1:27 pm

    Not sure why people are upset with Thompson leaving. I guess people complain when you have someone in the position holding everyone accountable and you have people who complain when that person is gone. I can only imagine anyone who holds the position would make a lot of enemies, if they are doing their job. So maybe it is a testament everyone time someone writes something negative that the job was being done well.

    Gary

    October 21st, 2009
    1:27 pm

    Hey Ox, Deal has been representing my congressional district for the last 16 years and has done a heck of a job at doing it. How about “your man Ox” worry about his own house and start cleaning it up if he really wants to be governor.

    Maybe he should start by hiring someone with actual video graphics editing experience. And to come up with fresh ideas and arguments. Pulling an old trick out of the Perdue hat is not going to win him the GOP nomination.

    Cant wait for Roy

    October 21st, 2009
    2:55 pm

    Finally one place to look to see how the good ol’ boys on the republican side line their own pockets, and shaft you and I – the taxpayers.

    http://www.whotheyrepresent.com/

    GoOx

    October 21st, 2009
    2:59 pm

    Gary,
    I guess your standards are pretty low. What has Deal, Real, Ghetto, Steal done for his district? Has he gotten any legislation passed? We need a leader with with years of experience running a government agency, not years sitting in dark smoky rooms making deals to enhance his families net worth.

    cletus T Rockafella

    October 21st, 2009
    4:20 pm

    hey goox, your man, Ox, is a lying corrupt thief. He was bought, lock, stock and barrel by the insurance companies long ago. And you expect logical thinking people to buy into the garbage
    and lies of ox? He had the gaul to parade his family when wifey spit out another kid. Big deal.
    Oxendine has lied to the people of the state of Georgia, has been taking lobbyist $$$ left & right and has exhibited all of the typical characteristics of a lowlife, crooked, corrupt politician. I don’t want
    crap of his kind holding ANY office.