Karen Handel hit with ethics complaint alleging $13k in illegal payments to staffers

Political blogger Bill Simon has filed a complaint against Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel with the State Ethics Commission, alleging that she illegally paid $13,200 to advisors of her gubernatorial campaign with money raised as a candidate for secretary of state.

Read the entire complaint here, but here’s the heart of the allegation:

Because Karen Handel did not wish to announce her candidacy for governor until after the 2009 Session of the Georgia General Assembly (as per Steve Handel’s December 12, 2008 e-mail), and because she could not raise money for governor until after she registered her campaign committee, she had no funds in which to pay any consultant or staff to work on her campaign for governor.

So, she unlawfully used funds from her Secretary of State’s account to finance the first 3 months of her campaign for governor.

Actually, Handel announced her campaign for governor in January 2009, during an impromptu session with reporters on the eve of that year’s legislative session.

But Handel has campaigned on a reform platform, and has advocated restrictions on the transfers of cash from one political campaign to another – which has not endeared her to members of the Legislature.

Those who read his Political Vine blog know that Simon has been critical of Handel and her candidacy.

Dan McLagan, a spokesman for the Handel campaign, described Simon as a discredited source of information, and as a campaign vendor who has taken payments from Handel’s opponents.

But McLagan also said that the Handel campaign had not been served notice of the complaint by the State Ethics Commission, and so he would have no further comment.

McLagan, the Simon complaint alleges, was paid $10,000 from Handel’s secretary of state campaign funds – for work on her gubernatorial campaign.

In his filing to the ethics commission, as a means of highlighting Karen Handel’s intentions, Simon has submitted a five-day exchange of e-mails between himself and Steve Handel, the candidate’s husband.

Information such as e-mail addresses has been removed, but this was the substance of the conversation:

From: Steve Handel

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:20 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: Not to be shared or rumored.

Karen is going to get in the Gov’s race. Formal announcement after the session.

***

From: [Bill Simon]

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:44 AM

To: Steve Handel

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

Hm. Honestly, I’d actually rather have her stay as SoS because if we end-up with a doofus like Bill Stephens to replace her, I’m going to kick your ass as a proxy for kicking Governor Handel’s ass. :-)

Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens of north Georgia ran and lost against Handel in the 2006 primary contest for secretary of state.

***

From: Steve Handel

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:51 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

You would rather have CC or Ox as Gov?

(”CC” is clearly Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who in 2009 would decide not to run. “Ox” is state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.)

***
From: [Bill Simon]

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:02 AM

To: Steve Handel

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

It’s not a matter of “rather have” it’s a matter of having a competent SoS. The governor’s office is a lot of fluff (see Perdue, Sonny), but the SoS’s office is quite important.

***
From: Steve Handel

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:08 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

So, if I try to read between the lines, are you saying your supporting one of the other two? Understand the point on SoS, but as you know a big part of it is timing.

***
From: [Bill Simon]

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:21 AM

To: Steve Handel

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

Nope! Not supporting either of the other two. As a VOTER (as opposed to an inside-baseball nutcase), I’d rather have competence in the SoS’s office.

***

From: Steve Handel

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:27 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

Got it. Like I said understand the concern about SoS office. Will be interesting to see who comes out of the weeds to run. Right now the only one I have even heard rumors on is Kemp.

Former state senator Brian Kemp did become a GOP candidate for secretary of state, and was named by Gov. Sonny Perdue to fill out the rest of her term when Handel resigned from the office.

***

From: [Bill Simon]

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 10:42 AM

To: Steve Handel

Subject: RE: Not to be shared or rumored.

Okay. Thanks!

***

From: Steve Handel

Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 9:44 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: Kemp

Bill,

Brian met with Karen yesterday and told her he would like to run for SoS. You’ll like this – she responded – “you mean you’re going to run against me in a primary”. He back pedaled and said only if she was going to run for Gov.

Steve

***

From: [Bill Simon]

To: Steve Handel

Subject: RE: Kemp

So, what you are telling me is that Karen is going to run for SoS again?

***

From: Steve Handel

Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:11 AM

To: [Bill Simon]

Subject: RE: Kemp

No, I told you earlier what Karen was doing. She was just having a good time with Kemp, as she hasn’t announced anything yet

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178 comments Add your comment

[...] This just in from Jim Galloway:  Political blogger Bill Simon has filed a complaint against Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel with the State Ethics Commission, alleging that she illegally paid $13,200 to advisors of her gubernatorial campaign with money raised as a candidate for secretary of state. Read more. [...]

WE have lost our way

July 27th, 2010
11:55 am

Man what a group of losers!!!!WE(voters)have alot to elect from.Everyone of them has some dirt on them.I’m sure we will hear more info on all candidates in the coming weeks.

Worst President EVER!

July 27th, 2010
11:55 am

C’mon y’all – leave the poor woman alone and let her run her campaign. Like it or not, she will be Georgia’s next governor, the state and national legislatures will be dominated by Republicans, and Obama will be a one-term president. That’s reality based on the turning of the tide in this country toward conservatism. 2008 was a one-time blip on the radar – it won’t happen again for a long, long time.

ATF

July 27th, 2010
11:58 am

Well. Lets see if I got this right.

It looks like Simon and Steve Handle “shared” some emails with each other with a “not to be shared or rumored” understanding. Simon then “shares” them anyway.

Seems to me there is a little problem with ethics here but it is not Karen Handle’s ethics at issue.

A CONSERVATIVE

July 27th, 2010
11:58 am

LEST ALL OF YOU FORGET….This is how the liberal democrats & their Media allies in Alaska frustrated governor Sarah Palin…just keep filing …& refiling..& refiling ETHICS complains…fill up her time with defending herself….Liberals in Georgia learned from their Alaska allies.

Eric

July 27th, 2010
11:58 am

She’s a right wing, hypocritical, republican. That’s just what they do.

B.S.

July 27th, 2010
12:00 pm

Bill Simon is a moron. He needs to retire from GA politics. All is does is bash the candidates who refuse to purchase his overpriced trinkets.

A CONSERVATIVE

July 27th, 2010
12:01 pm

TWO ISSUES ARE THE LIBERALS BEST WEAPON..caLL your opponent a racist…..& file ethics complains…liberal Media will fall in line like sheep…NNC says frog…liberal Media jumps into action.

CrazyInGA

July 27th, 2010
12:03 pm

Definitely the biggest bunch of losers. They have no ethics and know how to blame others.

On the Contrary

July 27th, 2010
12:09 pm

Worst pres ever…you are crazy….Roy will be the next gov….There is no way they will vote a woman in office. Esp with the backing of the idiot from Alaska……..My wife is a teacher and we need Roy to get back in office. Nice choices for your representatives you far right winged fools….

Chess

July 27th, 2010
12:09 pm

Conservative = Hey Kool-Aid!!!!

JL

July 27th, 2010
12:11 pm

A Conservative, Does that mean Karen is going to quit also, too.

Dan, The Discreditor

July 27th, 2010
12:11 pm

Anyone wonder how long Dan McLagan’s nose gets when he seeks to accuse everyone of either lying about Karen Handel or that he “discredits” them? Does anyone have that picture?

rebarman

July 27th, 2010
12:12 pm

/|||\\////||||\\\\

Hey libs, here’s a few more straws you can grab.

Cecil Phudpucker

July 27th, 2010
12:12 pm

This charge from a guy who tries to peddle signs, balloons, badges and buttons to candidates. Hardly a credible source. A loony gadfly wannabee-insider.

voter

July 27th, 2010
12:15 pm

Well Worst president ever! I think the worst Pres. was (W) who let’s remember ran up the largest deficit in the history of our country, by giving out $300.00 and $600.00 check (seperate times) while starting a war without Congress’ approval (no W.M D’s) them turning the whole mess over to Obama whom had to keep the U. S from going under by spending. O! and by the way Handel will be crushed by Barnes. (Now All the Rep. Candidates for GA. Gov. have an ethics situation to explain to the Tea Party.)

mike

July 27th, 2010
12:17 pm

Interesting how this story moved to the liberal Democrats. You have two questionable folks running for office with ethics investigations. They are talking about everything else but real issues. And you blogging idiots are concentrating on what the Dems are doing. No wonder this state is a laughing stock.

Matt Thomas

July 27th, 2010
12:19 pm

Bill Simon, ethics complaint… really? Now that’s rich.. He’s a real political buffoon if there ever was one.. (AJC might want to check one’s motivation BEFORE they create a headline) oh wait, they are buffoons too.. Media buffoons. Can we please get a competing paper in town? Perhaps real JOURNALISM may show up..

GaDMC

July 27th, 2010
12:22 pm

Are you serious about that comment just let that woman run her campaign????? Why? The republicans try to find any and everything about anybody running for anything but yet when you own folks run and do bad things it should be water under bridge??? Are you freakin’ kidding me. NO her and Deal shouldn’t be able to run for governor period, they have no morals the only moral is to satisfy their parties agenda.

And yes Georgia has some very BAD times ahead because NONE of the candidates should be allowed to run for Governor period. I guess you just have to pick the lesser of 2 evils but that is damn sure hard to do!

Ramzad

July 27th, 2010
12:23 pm

Conservatism is a dying demographic. It is Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Rudy Guliani, Bob Packwood, Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Pat Buchannan, Jerry Falwell, and Donald Rumsfeld and all that wasteland they are trying to raise from the dead.

Conservatives continue to prattle to keep the podium, but the facts are against them. There is a new world order, and Barack Obama looks more like it to me.

Mrs. Glenn Richardson

July 27th, 2010
12:23 pm

Hey, I’m the ethics expert here and say both Karen and Nathan are filthy.

I has spoke!

Eric Cartman

July 27th, 2010
12:23 pm

Did Barnes not learn anything from his defeat. I doubt he can be elected in this state, but if that error was to happen, it would be the death nail for this once great state of ours.

rebarman

July 27th, 2010
12:26 pm

If the post turtle is the picture of a new world order, we are doomed.

Dan, The Discreditor

July 27th, 2010
12:28 pm

What is a “post turtle?”

Jeff

July 27th, 2010
12:30 pm

GaDMC,
You are so right that these Republicans have no morals. We need honest Democrats like Charlie Rangel running this state.

snd

July 27th, 2010
12:31 pm

Bill Simon is a republican.

rebarman

July 27th, 2010
12:32 pm

When you drive down the road and you see a turtle sitting on top of a fence post you have to think:

You know he didn’t get there by himself, he doesn’t belong there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he can only see what’s right in front of him, and you wonder what kind of dumba__ put him up there in the first place

Jesse Jackson

July 27th, 2010
12:33 pm

On the Contrary,
There’s no way your wife, a teacher, is going to vote for Barnes. In fact I know several teachers, including my wife, that remember him as Guvna’. And they have nothing nice to say about him.

Dave

July 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

On the Contrary – the fact that your wife and the rest of the “teacher’s union” want King Roy back in office is the reason that he doesn’t need to be there. When the “teacher’s union” starts caring about educating our children maybe I’d listen but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything out of them that makes me believe it isn’t all about protecting what they’ve got. If you want I can post plenty of quotes to confrim?

Dan, The Discreditor

July 27th, 2010
12:34 pm

Yeah, but Bill Simon dares to criticize other Republicans. Therefore, he is a different kind of Republican. One that other Republicans, some of whom color WAY outside the lines of being a Republican, hate with a passion.

Worst President EVER!

July 27th, 2010
12:35 pm

“On the contrary”, “voter”, and “Ga DMC” – I’ll be blogging on November 3rd – hope you’re there, too, so I can rub your face in it.

Dan, The Discreditor

July 27th, 2010
12:36 pm

LOL! Now I get the “post turtle” comment. Very poignant.

Jesse Jackson

July 27th, 2010
12:36 pm

And as far as ethics go, no candidate is free of unethical situations or morals. Just like everyone else. But I do find it funny that Liberals don’t have a problem with killing a fetus but stand against the death penalty. WTF? No one in here should be speaking of morals, especially when we verbally bash others. And especially those that can’t think for themselves, i.e., DEMOCRATS.

Tosh.No

July 27th, 2010
12:38 pm

Wow thats real dirt right there. Next thing you know politicians will have to pay for their campaigns their selves. Jesus, this is not story in my opinion, and I really don’t even like Handel. Will probably end up voting for her, because who wants Barnes or Deal though.

Jesse Jackson

July 27th, 2010
12:39 pm

Dave, You are so right about the teachers union. But please remember that not all teachers are part of the BS that is the union. Not all teachers are there for the paycheck. It was and is the union that keeps this state right at the education level that we dwell in.

Tosh.No

July 27th, 2010
12:41 pm

And this country really isn’t turning more conservative, they are turning away from both these politcal groups because of the corruption on both sides. The only problem is who is left to vote for, and that would be NO ONE!

DawgDad

July 27th, 2010
12:42 pm

This is supposed to sway voters one way or the other? Seriously? Pathetic. Simply pathetic. Focus on the issues, please, unless there is some serious substantive shenanigans going on.

Doug

July 27th, 2010
12:46 pm

Keep shooting the messenger, Team Handel.

Ramzad

July 27th, 2010
12:46 pm

“Post turtle” that is another name for a minority who manages to find him/herself at a party put on for whites by whites and he/she is not part of the slave labor retinue.

Eric Cartman

July 27th, 2010
12:50 pm

No, that would be called Token.

Road Scholar

July 27th, 2010
12:51 pm

Mike, why are you surprised by the conservatives changing the subject? They know nothing about History, real religion (the ten commandments don’t include justifications), and ethics.

For those teachers who say they won’t vote against Barnes, how has the last 8 years been esp the past two years? And you want more?

Ramzad

July 27th, 2010
12:52 pm

Oh, yea, Token. I forget that one.

common sense

July 27th, 2010
12:53 pm

it’s not surprising given the fact that she’s the devil.

Confused

July 27th, 2010
12:54 pm

Did Deal spend like $30,000.00 of funds raised for the Governor’s race to defend himself from House Corruption Charges?

McLagen

July 27th, 2010
12:59 pm

Karen is one of the “slush fund” good ol boys.

JacketFan

July 27th, 2010
1:02 pm

This is just one republican trying to score some points before the GOP runoff…

ByteMe

July 27th, 2010
1:08 pm

@Confused is correct. Deal did indeed spend funds raised for his gubernatorial campaign on fighting completely unrelated Federal Congressional ethics charges.

As for Bill Simon: he just needs a “time out”. This sounds like another of his frequent tantrums.

Getting "Handel-ed"

July 27th, 2010
1:10 pm

I wonder how long before we hear: “Those emails really weren’t from Steve Handel. That was a campaign staffer pretending to be Steve Handel….”

When will people learn that if you use “Not to be shared or rumored” in the subject line, you should stop writing, hit delete and pick up the phone.

earl

July 27th, 2010
1:16 pm

now you handel folks know what it’s like to have cheap ethics charges brought up against you. it was ok as long as handel was singing about oxendine, deal and johnson. but, you don’t like it so much now do you. like they say….what goes around comes around..now deal with it.

GONE

July 27th, 2010
1:16 pm