One of three men indicted by a Cobb County grand jury on Thursday, on charges of trying to bilk Smyrna-based gun maker Glock of $3 million, is a former federal prosecutor and 1998 candidate for attorney general.
Jim Harper, now 55, was a Republican in a primary contest ultimately won by David Ralston of Blue Ridge, who is now House speaker. Harper was released from the Cobb County jail on $100,000 bond.
Harper came in fourth in a GOP field of the same number. Ralston was defeated in the general election by Democrat Thurbert Baker.
Harper worked as a prosecutor under U.S. Attorney Kent Alexander. An article from the AJC archives includes these paragraphs:
During the past year, Alexander oversaw a heated personnel dispute involving Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Harper, an ex-Marine who once prosecuted cases in the office’s drug division.
Earlier this year, Harper accused Buddy Parker, the former head of the drug division, of compromising an ongoing FBI investigation by leaking details of the probe to the lawyer of a suspect. Harper did not endear himself to Alexander when he lodged the complaint against Parker directly with the FBI, bypassing Alexander.
Parker strongly denied any wrongdoing and an internal investigation by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Janet King cleared Parker of misconduct. But another prosecutor, David Nutter of the fraud division, sided with Harper on the matter, making it a divisive issue in the office.
Harper has since been transferred out of the drug division to the office’s civil section.
Released from his responsibilities as House rules chairman, state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) has the freedom to become a commentator on the budget process.
Ehrhart told Blake Aued of Morris News Service that Sonny Perdue is using “funny money” to balance the state budget, and – no matter what the governor says – more furloughs are likely for state employees after July.
Erhart’s “funny money” crack came as he was discussing Perdue’s reliance on bonds and his use of $34 million in lottery money to plug a hole in this year’s higher-ed budget.
Consider that HOPE money gone, he said, as well as a mysterious $19 million bond outlay for a Kia training center that he said has already been built.
Blasting an even bigger hole in next years budget, Erhart said there’s no way Perdue’s proposed 1.6 percent tax on hospitals, the so-called bed tax or sick tax, will fly.
The Effingham Herald is just now bring us comments that U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah), a Blue Dog Democrat and ever-vulnerable GOP target, made over the weekend on the topic of health care reform.
There are some of us who are trying to make some sense out of this and some of us are trying to get this back to the middle and keep it there,” Barrow said. “I think we’re going to get a chance with the health care debate. The vote in Massachusetts has forced folks to hit the reset button.”
Barrow said the process that resulted in the House and Senate versions — not to mention the proposals themselves — is flawed.
“This is what happens when you build a big bill. You take things people can agree on and attach stuff to it that folks don’t agree on in order to try to jam it through,” he said. “That’s bad policy, bad politics, and that’s what we’ve had a lot of so far.”
What Barrow would like to see done is to have insurance companies treated more like public service utilities. He also wants to see those with pre-existing conditions be eligible for health coverage.
“There are people who are talking about that now who weren’t talking about it before,” he said. “All folks really want is incremental change to try to fill in the gaps, to fix what’s broken in the places where it’s not working right.”
While the American health care system is the best in the world, Barrow said, it doesn’t deliver services and coverage to everyone.
“I don’t think we need a comprehensive, sweeping overhaul of our system,” he said. “I think what we need is incremental change.”
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.