Two weeks ago, a Democratic operative sent news of a curious online ad – with a link to this new web site – that he had run across at nyt.com.
It was an attack on Nick Ayers, the former aide to Gov. Sonny Perdue who made good in D.C. as the executive director of the Republican Governors Association.
The anonymous web site takes a look at a DUI charge that Ayers, at age 24, was hit with in 2006 while he was campaign manager of Perdue’s multi-million dollar re-election bid. The charge was later reduced, as these things often are in Georgia.
Without knowing the source of the attack, we let the tip pass. But the Ben Smith team at Politico.com, knowing a little more about the Internet, did not:
”We’ve tracked an anonymous site set up to attack Ayers to the IP address of a Georgia Democratic consulting firm with informal ties to former governor and losing 2010 gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes….
An email to the site was not answered — but an IP tracking tool in a separate email confirmed that it was opened at an IP address belong to LUC Media, a firm founded by former Barnes chief of staff Bobby Kahn.
In an email to POLITICO, Kahn denied the firm’s involvement with the site despite the IP evidence. “Not us,” wrote Kahn.
As head of the RGA, Ayers poured $5 million and more into Georgia last year to keep Barnes from replacing his old boss – with very sharp-edged TV ads linking the former governor to President Barack Obama.
We talked to Kahn this morning, who said:
– No, his TV time-buying firm, LUC Media, did not put up the web site;
– Yes, he knows who did. But he wouldn’t out the culprit.
– No, the web site wasn’t created using Barnes campaign cash. (The site was reportedly registered in October.)
Kahn said his company’s web site popped up on Politico’s radar screen because the creator of the Ayers web site – again, he wouldn’t say who – was visiting LUC offices in Marietta yesterday. The visitor used the LUC Media wi-fi system to answer a Politico e-mail inquiry, Kahn said.
While important, IP addresses can be misleading. You’ll remember that last year, the office of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was initially thought to be the possible source for a threatening comment left on a gay rights blog. As it turned out, the comment originated from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ office.
That said, Kahn defended the web site:
“Yes, I know who did it. And I think it’s very funny. It raises some good questions that nobody’s raised. How did he get the charges reduced? And even though he did get the charges reduced, did he lose his license for a year? Because he refused to take the breathalyzer, and that’s automatic.”
We’ve got a call into the Republican National Committee, where Ayers is now part of an effort to rebuild the organization’s financial reputation under a new chairman.
Noon update: From up in Lawrenceville, attorney G. Jason Thompson, who appears to have some experience on the topic, sends this note:
Bobby Kahn does not understand Georgia DUI law. It can be confusing, however. If a person refuses to take the Intoxilyzer 5000, your license could be suspended for a year with no driving privileges (ie work permit on a 1st in 5 yrs DUI). However, when the charge is reduced (to Reckless Driving for example), it basically voids any suspension from the refusal. The only exception to this would be if someone had prior DUIs or had a “points” suspension.
My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington was in charge of monitoring “date-night” logistics last night, during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:
[O]ne of the most dramatic seating arrangements involved two Georgians. Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, one of the House’s most liberal members, chose to sit next to Republican Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, one of the House’s most conservative members. The two sat right next to the Republican leadership table, where Price had a reserved seat. Price is chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee; Lewis is Chief Deputy Whip for Democrats.
Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia, as is his practice, didn’t pick out a seat until arriving at the speech – and he apparently almost missed getting one. Instead, he ended up seated with several senators on the Republican side of the House floor, one row in front of Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina and next to Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. After the president stopped speaking, he took a picture of Wilson and several House Democrats who were seated together.
As a former House member, Sen. Saxby Chambliss knows well where Democrats and Republicans sit in the chamber and who typically sits where. He ended up sitting on the Democratic side of the chamber, in an area where Georgia Democrats Lewis and Sanford Bishop of Albany typically sit. Seated beside Chambliss: Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota on one side and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia on the other.
Right in the middle of the House chamber for Tuesday’s speech – fittingly so – were Democratic Reps. Bishop and John Barrow of Savannah. The two relatively conservative Democrats often vote with Republicans. Sitting between the two Democrats was another Georgian, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah. Bishop, who took the aisle seat, stayed behind after the president ended his speech so he could get Obama to autograph a copy of his speech.
Democratic Rep. David Scott of Atlanta typically likes to get to presidential speeches early so he can get in the front rows and be among those who greet the president. Tuesday, though, he was deep in the chamber, sitting next to Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta. Gingrey apparently made a concession, though: He sat on the Democratic side of the House.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, had declared last week that bipartisan seating for the event was a Democratic plot to silence Republicans.
Broun preferred uncontaminated, GOP territory. And his Twitter account. Here’s a sampling of his real-time SOTU commentary, in reverse chronological order:
Good speech–but long on hope and short on reality.
Entrepreneurship is great-let’s not kill it with taxes and regulations.
Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism.
Mr. President, give them the tools they need to defend our country. Not just lip service.
“If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.” We will hold you to that.
About that no earmark thing. Because of the Republican pledge – and Obama’s – it has become highly important for Georgia that the president include $700 million or so in his budget for the dredging of the Port of Savannah, so that it can take larger ships. And create more jobs.
Obama’s budget is expected to be unveiled sometime between Feb. 14 and 16 – about two weeks later than usual. No one here is taking anything for granted.
On Friday, Gov. Nathan Deal plans to be in Savannah. A national news network will have cameras there, to catch the arrival of CMA CGM Parisfal, the largest container ship ever to call on the Port of Savannah. It will be a spectacularly tight fit.
Deal will be there to make the case for a port that’s six feet deeper. We do not know if the governor been asked to help apply the Vaseline required by the ship.
“Parsifal,” by the way, is the name of a Wagnerian opera about the search for the Holy Grail. Which seems appropriate.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider