Archive for October, 2011

Lynn Westmoreland: E-mail wasn’t offer of face time for cash

In trying to find a simpler, more humane way to raise campaign funds in Washington, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, may have stirred up a hornet’s nest.

It all started, the congressman said last night, with a fundraiser at a Keith Urban concert in Washington. Many of his supporters bought tickets and attended – but Westmoreland couldn’t. House votes kept him in the Capitol.

Westmoreland thought it rude of himself not to attend the party that he hosted.

The congressman usually invites lobbyists, representatives of political action committees and other walleted individuals to several such events each quarter. As does virtually every other member of Congress. “Half of them get up, don’t even finish eating, because they’re going to another one,” he said.

So Westmoreland penned an e-mail to donors this week that was picked up by the National Journal. Wrote the Georgia congressman:

I recognize that you have a life outside of politics – family, friends, …

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Johnny Isakson’s D.C. subway ride: On ‘loosey-goosey standards’ and over-corrections

ABC News has a nice little gimmick: A reporter will sit down with a member of Congress in a car on one of the underground subways that connects the U.S. Capitol with the surrounding offices.

And they will talk until one party or the other is satisfied.

This week, it was U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s turn:

Isakson, who once owned Northside Realty, confessed that his only expertise is in real estate and housing recessions. On the current one:

”We got ‘way too loosey-goosey in lending standards, ‘way too loosey-goosey in underwriting standards, and now we have over-reacted with Dodd-Frank and some of the other legislation where you can’t get a loan to finance a deal. Or if you do, you have to get it appraised three times during the course of the deliberations.”

Isakson gave a shout-out to the Marietta Daily Journal – though not by name:

”In Georgia, you advertise four successive Fridays before the first Tuesday in the month – foreclosures. Last Friday, when I got …

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DNC chair dismisses GOP effort to paint Occupy Wall Street movement as anti-Semitic

The Georgia Democratic party slipped its blue collar on Wednesday, swapping a Midtown address for a new headquarters in a post industrial neighborhood off Howell Mill Road in Atlanta – across from the water works.

On hand to help cut the ribbon was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and congresswoman from Florida.

The place was too crowded for decent conversation, but she called on her way to the airport. She opened the interview with a question.

“How long have you worked for the newspaper?”

Some 32 years, I said.

“So I remember you,” the DNC chairman said. “My first job out of college was working for Cathey Steinberg when she ran for the Public Service Commission. I was the 20-year-old in the background.”

Young Debbie Wasserman had been straight out of the University of Florida in 1988. The woman she went to work for was a 12-year state representative from DeKalb County, a liberal, divorced Democrat with a good record on …

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Your morning jolt: Johnny Isakson bill would require lenders to consider cost of home-buyers’ energy bills

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today will endorse legislation that would require federal loan agencies to take into account the energy bills that homeowners will have to pay – on top of their mortgage payments.

The measure is intended to give underwriters a more accurate picture of what prospective home buyers can afford, and encourage the demand for new, energy-efficient homes.

Only two weeks ago, Isakson teamed up with U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, to introduce legislation that would allow homeowners tap their tax-free 401(k) funds – without the 10 percent penalty – in order to catch up on home mortgage payments.

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Also in Washington, the bipartisan Gang of Six headed up by U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va., this morning will brief 12 members of the deficit-slashing “super committee” panel in a closed-door meeting.

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Incumbents and climatologists take note: Political novice John Carson, a banker and certified public accountant, …

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Debate alert: An author of ‘999 plan’ says Herman Cain should back off sales tax

You can bet this item from The Hill newspaper in Washington will find its way into the mix of tonight’s CNN debate of the GOP presidential candidates in Las Vegas:

One of the architects of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, economist Stephen Moore, said the contender for the GOP presidential nomination needs to drop his proposed 9 percent sales tax.

Cain’s plan would replace the current tax structure with a 9 percent corporate tax rate, a 9 percent personal income tax rate and a 9 percent federal sales tax….

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the American people and the voters do not want a national sales tax,” [Moore] said. “[Cain’s] going to have to replace that national sales tax with a 9 percent payroll tax. And if you do that, it’s a total winner.”

It’s worth going to the site for more.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Maria Sheffield considers a move to south Georgia for 12th District contest

The Republican race to oust U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the Savannah Democrat, may soon have a third candidate.

Maria Sheffield, who lost a hard-fought primary runoff for state insurance commissioner last year, says she’s contemplating a move to southeast Georgia to make the race.

Sheffield says she “has been approached by business, community, government, tea party and Republican leaders” to enter the contest. Two other Republicans, state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown and Augusta businessman Rick Allen, have already announced.

Some of you might remember that Sheffield is a resident of Mableton in Cobb County. She sends this explanation via her spokeswoman, Kathryn Ballou:

”My family – the Sheffield family – has long and deep roots in this special part of Georgia. For many years my father lived in Laurens County. Many of my family members still live in Laurens.

“The interesting fact is that my potential opponent is from Athens and lives in Savannah – neither of …

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Georgia Supreme Court to hear death-by-alligator case

Law school students, mark your calendars for February.

The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a gruesome civil suit over who’s to blame for an 83-year-old woman’s death by alligator at a coastal Georgia country club and subdivision.

In 2007, Gwyneth Williams, was house-sitting for her daughter and son-in-law while they were in Europe. A neighbor found her dismembered body floating in a lagoon on the property.

The contents of the stomach of an alligator captured within the lagoon confirmed that it had attacked the woman. But The Landings country club and homeowners association, who have been sued by the woman’s family for negligence, dispute that this was the cause of death and have posited the possibility that Williams died of a heart attack first.

The state Court of Appeals sided with the family, who made this argument:

”This alligator came out of one of the petitioner’s lagoons. This lagoon was man-made. According to one of the petitioner’s own experts, the …

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Your morning jolt: An 8th GOP debate, and Iowa is still distant

Las Vegas will serve as the venue for yet another Republican presidential debate at 8 p.m. tonight, this time on CNN.

Even as you wade through the cheesy gambling metaphors, remember that you’re witnessing what could be a historic shift in the dynamic of American presidential campaigns – a downgrading of the importance of state-by-state referendums on candidates, in favor of a series of national confrontations.

From Dan Balz and the Washington Post:

The GOP contenders will meet here Tuesday night for their fifth exchange since Labor Day and their eighth of the year. Once considered forums that only occasionally had a real effect on a nomination battle, the debates this year have been the defining feature of the contest.

“For the first time in decades, primary debates aren’t a sideshow, as candidates are using them as a major platform in lieu of early TV ads to project their ideas, personalities and candidacies,” said Jonathan Collegio, communications director for …

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Kasim Reed on extending Occupy Atlanta’s stay: Two out of three will suffice — for now

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s statement on why he’ll allow Occupy Atlanta to linger in Woodruff Park – two out of three’s not bad, he says:

”Civil disobedience is an appropriate form of expression, provided that it is peaceful, non-violent and lawful. As of today, the Occupy Atlanta protesters continue to assemble in a peaceful, non-violent fashion in Robert W. Woodruff Park. Therefore, I have extended the Executive Order allowing Occupy Atlanta to remain in Woodruff Park after the park closes. This Executive Order is effective through the adjournment of the next Atlanta City Council meeting on November 7, 2011.

“I remain committed to ensuring public safety and enforcing the laws of the city. The Atlanta Police Department and other city officials continue to monitor the park and the protesters. The Executive Order does not preclude the city from responding at will to changing conditions in the park or to any public safety issues. The city is prepared to act …

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Bob Barr confirms he’s considering a return to Congress

Last week, we heard that former Georgia congressman and Libertarian candidate for president Bob Barr was considering a Republican challenge to U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger.

It was good information, but we could never track Barr himself down to confirm the report. However, Steven Nelson at the Daily Caller in Washington just did:

Barr [said] “some supporters are encouraging me” to run for Congress in 2012. He noted that because of redistricting, “much of the new 14th District was part of my old 7th District.”

Barr, who lost his congressional seat in 2002, is a Cobb County resident. The 14th District drifts from far north Georgia down to next-door Paulding County.

Barr told the DC that no decision had been made yet.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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