Topic below include: John Oxendine, Ralph Hudgens, Republican Governors Association, Roy Barnes, Nathan Deal, Jim Marshall, Austin Scott, Sanford Bishop, Mike Keown.
The GOP nominee for state insurance commissioner suspects that John Oxendine, the man he seeks to replace, is unleashing an army of high-interest, small loan companies on Georgia consumers during his last days in office.
In a Sept. 16 letter, State Sen. Ralph Hudgens of Hull, on legislative stationery, accused Oxendine of issuing an “extraordinary” number of industrial loan licenses. The permit is a much-coveted permission slip to jump into the unsecured loan business, issured solely on the insurance commissioner’s say-so.
Moreover, Hudgens asks Oxendine – who finished a stunning fourth in the Republican primary for governor – to essentially sit on his hands through the end of the year.
“It is important that nothing be done in the final weeks of your tenure that would create perception or other problems, either for you or the next commissioner,” Hudgens writes.
Oxendine said he’s doing nothing wrong – or unusual. “[The letter is] obviously based on gross misinformation. Nothing against Ralph. I think he was just naively going by what a bunch of people told him,” Oxendine said in a phone interview late Thursday.
Asked if he were issuing an “extraordinary” number of loan license, Oxendine said, “Nope.” He said he had no idea how many he had issued, but could find out.
“The ones in Atlanta – I really don’t pay any attention to. The standing rule is, anybody that wants one in Atlanta – unless there’s an issue about your character, anybody can have one,” the insurance commissioner said. “So I don’t even pay any attention to those, don’t even really look at them. The staff makes the recommendation. They always recommend approving anything in Atlanta. I don’t recall approving anything outside of Atlanta, but I’d have to check.”
Hudgens faces Democrat Mary Squires, a former state lawmaker, and Libertarian Shane Bruce in the Nov. 2 general election.
Read the entire letter here. But below is a healthy excerpt. Wrote Hudgens:
…I have been told you have issued an extraordinary number of Industrial Loan Licenses during this election year and that you are contemplating the issuance of many additional licenses. As you are full aware, there is a long established standard of convenience and use that must be met before an Industrial Loan License may be issued.
You have defended this standard, both in court and before the General Assembly. A flood of new licenses would have potentially far reaching consequences especially in these uncertain economic times when many Georgians are struggling with record levels of personal debt.
I would ask that you refrain from modifying this standard before you leave office and that you suspend the issuance of new Industrial Loan Licenses. Let the next Commissioner assess the economic situation and determine the need. Please do not put him or her in the uncomfortable position of subjecting any “last minute” licenses to special scrutiny.
….Finally, I would ask that you refrain from making any rulings that are not fully supported by the written recommendation from the technical and professional staff of the Department. It is important that nothing be done in the final weeks of your tenure that would create perception or other problems, either for you or the next Commissioner.
That last paragraph is telling. With GOP nominee for governor Nathan Deal struggling over reports of his finances, Republicans don’t need any unexpected shoes to drop between now and Nov. 2.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia has dealt the Republican Governors Assocation a “pants on fire” for claiming that Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes actively sought to give illegal immigrants the right to vote. Read about it here.
In the Macon Telegraph, Erick Erickson offers this selling point for Republican Austin Scott in his challenge of U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon:
The biggest challenge for Marshall is going to be Robins Air Force Base. As I’ve noted before, Robins has two major competitors in the BRAC Commission reviews: Tinker Air Force Base is in the 4th District of Oklahoma and Hill Air Force Base in the 1st District of Utah. Both are represented by Republicans. If the GOP does take back the House, as is likely, having a Democrat representing Robins becomes a liability to Robins.
Meanwhile, in southwest Georgia, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, has signed onto a push to retain many of the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year – dividends and long-term capital gains, in particular. From the Albany Herald:
“With the state of our fragile economic recovery, now is not the time to raise taxes that would impede job creation and take money out of the pockets of our nation’s seniors,” Bishop said in a news release. “Seniors rely on dividend income to supplement their fixed Social Security payments. We owe it to our seniors to look out for them in this time of economic instability.”
The campaign of Republican Mike Keown, who is running for Bishop’s District 2 seat, said Bishop is now attempting to ride former President George Bush’s coattails.