Oxendine in 2003: ‘You’ll give me money because you’re afraid not to’

Updated at 11:29 a.m. to include a response from John Oxendine.

Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Austin Scott to restrict campaign contributions from executives of companies regulated by state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine was kept in place by a House governmental affairs subcommittee on Wednesday.

Both Scott and Oxendine are Republican candidates for governor.

Hank Gurley, spokesman for the Scott campaign, said HB 1166 was held back to allow subcommittee members to rework language that barred the insurance commissioner or members of his immediate family from accepting gifts exceeding $100 in value.

Gurley said the bill would proceed, but some House members want the gift provision to adopt the language that currently governs members of the state Public Service Commission.

But this is the stuff likely to raise an eyebrow: During discussions about his legislation, Scott says another House member handed him a Fortune magazine article from June 2003. The original can be found here.

The short piece by Carol J. Loomis stems from comments made by Oxendine before a group of auto-insurance executives:

Want an unvarnished look at how Georgia’s Republican insurance commissioner, John Oxendine, 41, views the businesses he oversees? Here, courtesy of a newsletter company, Risk Information, is what Oxendine said at a recent conference it held for auto-insurance managers.

First, Oxendine said, those managers ought to be wary of the 12 states in which the insurance commissioner is elected — Georgia is one of them — because “we are different.” Details: “We are a pain in the butt. We are very high-maintenance…. I am not a professional regulator, I am a politician…. I’m going to do what I think is going to get me reelected.”

Oxendine does believe, he says, that insurers are entitled to a fair and reasonable profit: “I am not one of these Socialists never ever going to give out a rate increase.” But, he said, “you need to realize that you have to find a way to always make me look good in front of the voters.”

As for campaign contributions, he noted he wasn’t allowed to take them from insurance companies, but money from individuals is entirely acceptable. And gettable: “I’m the incumbent. You all are going to give me money because you’re afraid not to.”

Maybe this man had a mother who told him never to lie?

Oxendine e-mailed this response:

“The article didn’t tell the whole story. I was commenting on the benefits of having an Insurance Commissioner who is elected, not appointed, and that incumbent officials receive contributions from people who have an interest in that office.”

“Look at the contributors to Mr. Scott’s campaign in the past and I think you’ll see some hypocrisy in his new attitude. The folks that have given to him historically are those PACs and lobbyists who have an interest in the legislation that goes through the committees he sits on. If Scott wants to make changes to the law, he should make the same rules he has proposed apply to legislators and other officials as well.”

Fortune drew Oxendine’s quotes from a June 9, 2003 report by Auto Insurance Report, a newsletter. Click here for the entire account, made available with permission.

In context or out, expect Gov. Sonny Perdue to add this to his file on why the insurance commissioner should be an appointed position, rather than an elected one.

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86 comments Add your comment

NoOx

February 18th, 2010
9:38 am

My man Ox will do whatever it takes to get elected.

Ox please just go away

February 18th, 2010
9:39 am

Ouch – that hurts. Ox it is time to do what you always do – drop out

Mike

February 18th, 2010
9:50 am

John Oxendine just looks like a politician – sleezy & dishonest. This man does not need to be governor. I hope the voters of the state of Georgia are smart enough to see through him.

[...] but I think in the case of the Insurance Commissioner Perdue has a good argument. Take a look at this from the Political Insider. Commissioner Oxendine makes it clear in no uncertain terms that [...]

Mr. George Jung

February 18th, 2010
9:53 am

And watch these yahoos vote for him anyway, just because he has an R behind his name.

wesleywhatwhat

February 18th, 2010
9:56 am

ox, go back to running red lights…

Snafu

February 18th, 2010
10:01 am

And the i.diots will vote for this cr00k. Oxendine is what is completely wrong with Georgia,well first is the school system, but then it seems to be going hand in hand lately. These backwards people from GA just don’t get it. Slow to everything! Oxendine is a joke and this bafoon gets to TV and lie to the people all the time. People your insurance rates are going to get higher.

Dont like the OX

February 18th, 2010
10:04 am

Old Roy starts to look better and better every day. And I am a “R” ….

GoOx

February 18th, 2010
10:04 am

Another unfounded hit job by the liberal AJC. My man Ox was simply pointing out how folks could legally support him.

Hey GoOx!

February 18th, 2010
10:07 am

Fortune is pretty darn conservative, brother. They wrote the “hit piece” on “your man.”

The Late Maynord Jackson

February 18th, 2010
10:11 am

The Ox is the Jackson Machine’s man. He is #1 when it comes down to shaking insurance ex’s down.. You go OX..

Vote Roy Barnes EARLY & OFTEN

Candor

February 18th, 2010
10:15 am

It’s a well known fact that more corruption occurs on the local level than the federal level. If we’re going to throw out the incumbents nationally (though I doubt most people have the knowledge to do so) then we need to throw out the bums on the local and state level.
Elective office was never meant to be a career choice. To what extreme would you go to keep your current job? Politicians aren’t any different, only they spend our money.
ENACT TERM LIMITS!!!

UGA1954

February 18th, 2010
10:17 am

This is probably the most arrogant man (and I use the word loosely) I have ever seen in my life. He has no business being Insurance Commissioner and definitely has no business being on the ballot for Governor. He should just go away!

skeptical

February 18th, 2010
10:18 am

I don’t have a difficult time believing Oxendine would say such things, but I do wonder why, if they’ve been in print since 2003, they would never have come to light before now.

skeptical

February 18th, 2010
10:19 am

UGA1954…so you’ve never met Glenn Richardson?

tc

February 18th, 2010
10:27 am

ox in the ditch…..again

UGA1954

February 18th, 2010
10:29 am

Skeptical, no I have never met Glenn Richardson but I have heard of him. I don’t believe even Glenn Richardson was stupid enough to say he had an affair, was he? No, he tried to keep it a secret. What I meant by arrogance is that Ox was dumb enough to say what he said and now it’s in black and white and no denying. As far as the whole timing issue, well, there’s no time like the present in order to wake people up that this guy is not what Georgia needs.

atlborn

February 18th, 2010
10:45 am

Looks like Austin Scott is playing politics here this time. Is he part of the inside crowd that wants to keep Ox out of office to protect the status quo over at the Capital? I say throw em’ all out!

foodfight

February 18th, 2010
10:49 am

I am a died in the wool, raging conservative but I will not vote for Oxendine. I will vote for Barnes as many times as I can, before I will vote for OX. There is just TOO much bad stuff out there on this guy.

Jekyll Lover

February 18th, 2010
10:52 am

Hey UGA 1954..If Ox is the most arrogant man you ever met, check out the JIA Board.
They will out arrogant OX any day

Kitty Conrad

February 18th, 2010
11:05 am

I am one more “R” who will not vote for Oxendine. Not under any circumstances.

Gary

February 18th, 2010
11:06 am

Another nail in the proverbial coffin for the Oxendine campaign. To the blogger above; this didn’t come to light before now because Ox was only Insurance commissioner and not running for Governor.

Don’t worry folks. A candidate known statewide who cannot muster more than 25% in a poll of his OWN parties voters will not even make it to a runoff. He is toast and it will start showing once we get into the thick of things right after the General Assembly ends.

Hey Ox, it is not the AJC – although liberal – that had this piece on your man Ox. It is the very conservative magazine Fortune. It is Ox who is the moron for saying those things in an open setting while being an elected official. Face it, he is sinking faster than the Titanic.

NoOx

February 18th, 2010
11:06 am

My man Ox will eliminate the corruption in Georgia politics by making sure insurance companies know they have to “pay to play.”

King Roy

February 18th, 2010
11:11 am

Vote for me.
I’ll clean up all of this corruption…unless it involves my friends, the Democrats.

Democratic Hack

February 18th, 2010
11:14 am

Even the Republicans are not dumb enough to buy the load that the Ox man is delivering.
The Ox man has got to go…

Lisa T

February 18th, 2010
11:16 am

Eeeeuuu….we’ve been slimed!! Make it stop!

UGA1954

February 18th, 2010
11:16 am

Atlborn, just so you know, Scott tried to get a bill like this passed last year; however, if you will recall, Glenn Richardson was there. Since Scott didn’t play like Richardson wanted him to, nothing happened with the bill. Politics? Don’t really think you can say that since he tried last year before deciding to run for Governor. What you have to remember is that these are Ox’s own words, not Austin Scott’s words.

Amy Lynn

February 18th, 2010
11:19 am

Maybe he needs the extra funds to afford all of those extensive home refurbishments, especially the ‘confederate gray’ paint he seems to have a special affinity for.

We already know the GOP in Georgia is full of crap. Their colors are bright and shiny. And Ox embodies the greed and callous regard for voters that the GOP is really all about. He’s a sleazeball.

Roy Barnes 2010

dood

February 18th, 2010
11:20 am

What an IDIOT!
I typically (not always) vote republican but this crook will not be geting my vote.

Its time

February 18th, 2010
11:24 am

Ox needs elected. Another term of Roy Barns right now would put a total end to education and cause scores of just haning corporations to run out of Georgia.

Ox wants to get rid of state income tax, is for the fair tax at the federal level and knows that the way to bring jobs to georgia is to lower taxes and give incentives. Give Ox a chance and Georgia will again proper. Give Barns a chance and he will raise taxes on property, state income, fuel, goods and services and he will also use our tax money for his own interest groups like he did the last time he was governor. Dont you people remember how he felt about our schools, teachers and how he loved the big union groups. What about our flag? Our part of history was just removed by barns. We deserve to have our history with us and not distroyed.

Im putting my faith in Ox that he is the man who will bring jobs and corporations and state programs back where they belong. Here with georgia people. Barns is a total Obama. A lier, cheat and political cow.

Woodie

February 18th, 2010
11:32 am

Based on the sad state of Insurance in Georgia, I’d have to conclude Oxedine has not done anything of value for the citizens of Georgia.

John E. Crash

February 18th, 2010
11:36 am

Finally, someone sticks up for the crippled Ox. Course, if you read closely, he appears to be drunk.

[...] article about a speech Oxendine delivered to auto-insurance managers. The AJC’s Jim Galloway posted a snippet from the piece: First, Oxendine said, those managers ought to be wary of the 12 states in [...]

Call it like it is.

February 18th, 2010
11:49 am

Lord, please help us. We have OX on one side, and King Roy on the other. Please somebody step up to the plate and help this state out. Anybody got Sam Nunn’s number?

GoOx

February 18th, 2010
11:51 am

My man Ox, statements being talking out of context. Like I said another hit job by the liberal AJC.

Mr. George Jung

February 18th, 2010
11:56 am

Riiiight, GoOx. If it begins to smell like a steaming pile over and over again, guess what?????????? It probably is.

No Roy or Ox.

February 18th, 2010
12:02 pm

Folks, look at former SS Karen Handle. Friend of mine has known her for years, and she is what you are looking for! Tough, conservetive, and best of all, not one of the Georgia “good ole boys”, and no, I am not a woman.

tinhat

February 18th, 2010
12:06 pm

Call it like it is, et al, remember that there is still a primary election. Ox is not the only Republican candidate running for Governor; nor is Barnes the only Democratic candidate.

DH

February 18th, 2010
12:09 pm

Oxendine, Richardson, Perdue – why does this state keep electing and rewarding the most arrogant, self-serving people?

No OX

February 18th, 2010
12:09 pm

Please, no more OX, people. Find some other Republican to lose to Barnes.

OxNot

February 18th, 2010
12:14 pm

Wasn’t Oxendine caught misusing a state issued vehicle to run red lights a few years back? And is it his mother or wife who has done such a great job with the Gwinnett Public Library? Unbelievable!

about time

February 18th, 2010
12:20 pm

mark my word. Ox will get the republicans nomination. Read some of the comments on this blog. You’ve got one guy bitching about the confederate flag. Who gives a damn. There are so many ignorant people in this state that they would vote for just about anyone who has an R behind their name. When John Oxendine stated that he would not allow a vote for sunday alcohol sales, he lost my vote. He constantly panders to the small town, small minded people in this state. I personally can’t wait to get Barnes back in office.

Been Around-Done That

February 18th, 2010
12:20 pm

Boy! What a lousy choice we Republicans have in the Governor’s primary race! We Have Oxendine (who roots in the trough like the swine), Nathan “Wheeler and Dealer” Deal, and “Cover it Up” Karen Handel! And don’t you Democrats go on touting “King Rat and Sling Crap” Roy Barnes either! Surely Georgia can do better than this. Thumbs down on the whole bunch!

tc

February 18th, 2010
12:37 pm

it’s time, little early to be blogging….go back to work for the insurance commissioner you dumb a$$

reality check

February 18th, 2010
12:40 pm

I’ve met Oxendine and his wife. His wife is very nice. It is only a matter of time before Oxendine winds up in legal difficulty.

Just my view, Eric Johnson of Savannah makes the most sense of anybody running. He certainly has the best stump speech. Nathan Deal is very intelligent, but also arrogant and unapproachable. Roy Barnes is the worst of the lot.

BPJ

February 18th, 2010
12:40 pm

Yes, “go, Ox”: please go to Alabama!

Barnes is not the only Democratic choice. Poythress, Porter, and Baker all come with less baggage.

Ethical

February 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

Been Around-Done That…I agree with you! This is why I have been watching and looking at Jeff Chapman. He seems to be standing for what is good;-)

More problems for the Ox « ATL malcontent

February 18th, 2010
12:48 pm

[...] Want an unvarnished look at how Georgia’s Republican insurance commissioner, John Oxendine, 41, views the businesses he oversees? Here, courtesy of a newsletter company, Risk Information, is what Oxendine said at a recent [...]

Being sensible

February 18th, 2010
12:49 pm

If the GA insurance commissioner was appointed then it would be a lot easier to distinguish ‘political contributions’ from ‘bribes’. And a lot easier (potentially) to prosecute the involved parties. I know who I’m NOT voting for – past behavior is the best predictor of future actions.

Red

February 18th, 2010
12:50 pm

Anyone know why Ox’s campaign manager left? Did he see the writing on the wall? I can’t blame anyone for jumping ship now. With ethics being a key issue for the GOP why put the poster child for why reform is needed as a front runner?