Updated at 9:07 a.m.: This notice just arrived from Politico.com:
Georgia State Rep. David Casas will announce later this morning that he’s jumping ship and joining with Mitt Romney. At 1:15 p.m., the Romney campaign will convene a conference call for Casas to attack Newt Gingrich. “Over the last few weeks, I have had a serious change of heart,” he explains in a forthcoming statement.
“While I initially supported Speaker Gingrich, his continued attacks upon the free enterprise system that has made our country great are particularly something I will not stand for.” Casas’ parents were political refugees from Cuba, and he was a high school teacher before winning election to the legislature in 2002.
Orginal: One day before Mitt Romney was due in Atlanta for a Buckhead fundraiser, his GOP presidential campaign dropped a first hint that it intends to challenge Newt Gingrich in the former U.S. House speaker’s “home” state.
The Romney issued a press release that listed a handful of examples in which Gingrich allegedly acted as a lobbyist at the state Capitol. Included was this December piece from the Savannah Morning News:
…Gingrich met on behalf of the center in 2004 with the Georgia House Republican caucus and talked up, among other paid members of the health transformation center, a firm called VitalSpring Technologies.
The McLean, Va., company, which calls itself “an innovator in health benefits supply chain intelligence,” was paying at least $20,000 a year in membership fees.
Updated at 5:28 p.m.: A well-connected Gingrich supporter sent this note about Georgia lobbying law:
“What Romney doesn’t understand, because he doesn’t know Georgia very well, is that vendor lobbying wasn’t included in the definition of “lobbying” in the Ethics in Government Act until 2006. The vendor lobbying provision was adopted in H.B. 48 in 2005, which went into effect on January 9, 2006.
The Savannah Morning News article is wrong; it states that, in 2004, the Speaker “was a lobbyist as it was then spelled out in Georgia law, and failed to register as a lobbyist, as the law required.”
It also states that, in 2004, “people who were paid to promote products or companies to lawmakers or if they spent more than $250 on such efforts were considered lobbyists under the law. And they were required to register.” These statements are incorrect, because the law didn’t include vendor lobbyists in the lobbying definition until 2006.
Meanwhile, the AJC’s Politifact Georgia examines accusations by Georgia Democrats that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on the deportation of illegal immigrants.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston gets a mention in this Washington Post investigative piece:
Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property.
The article includes an interactive map that shows the properties in question, along with these details:
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was in a position to secure the funding to protect the beaches of the three-square-mile barrier island. He co-sponsored a $6.3 million earmark for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replenish the beach in 2008. “This is better than we hoped for,” Kingston said in a news release his office issued at the time.
What the statement didn’t say is that Kingston owns a cottage on Tybee Island that sits about 900 feet from the beach. It’s a modest vacation home that he has rented out in the past. It’s worth about $142,900, and its value has been falling because of the downturn in the real estate market.
The re-election campaign of President Barack Obama returned more than $200,000 after the New York Times began asking questions about this:
Two American brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled drug and fraud charges in the United States and has been seeking a pardon enabling him to return have emerged as major fund-raisers and donors for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
In Gainesville, Attorney General Sam Olens on Monday echoed Capitol talk about a rail line-for-water deal with Tennessee. From AccessNorthGa.com:
“My perspective is pretty simple: I think we should be open to the discussion…as long as they are open to the discussion that there is a pipe that comes into Georgia with water from the Tennessee River,” Olens said to a smattering of applause.
“In return, I want water,” Olens said, nodding his head in affirmation.
After Gov. Nathan Deal announced the formation of a privately funded, a needs-based scholarship program, Senate Democrats declared the governor was attempting to distract the public from a debate over the future of the HOPE scholarship:
Afterwards, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson tweeted the following:
Only GA Senate Democrats could criticize a privately funded needs-based scholarship. They hate anything that doesn’t raise taxes.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider