Archive for April, 2012

Georgia settles lawsuit over voter registration for the poor

The state of Georgia has settled a major lawsuit over its failure to offer poor people who sign up for public assistance a chance to register to vote.

From the press release just issued by the plaintiffs:

A coalition of national voting rights groups have secured a landmark settlement with the State of Georgia to ensure that voter registration is offered to all public assistance applicants. The state has settled a lawsuit, brought by the coalition on behalf of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, alleging widespread violations of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

Georgia’s Secretary of State and its Department of Human Services (DHS) have agreed to comply with Section 7 of the NVRA, which requires that public assistance agency clients be provided with the opportunity to register to vote every time they apply for or renew benefits, or when they submit a change of address. This includes instances …

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Kasim Reed: Cities ‘being strangled’ by gridlocked Washington

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was in New York this week, pitching American cities as an alternative to a gridlocked federal government.

“We’re being strangled by the lack of action at the federal level. That’s why mayors are where the action is,” Reed said at a high-end forum with Houston Mayor Annise Parker and New York Deputy Mayor Robert Steel.

Said Reed, via The Atlantic, a co-sponsor of the Tuesday event:

“If you look at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, less than 10 percent of those dollars went into cities, where 80 percent of GDP occurs,” he said. “We’re going to have to shift national politics, and we’re going to have to shift state politics. Governors have a better lobby than mayors do.

“That’s why they got 90 percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, when that money should have gone to cities. Because we deploy it faster, we’re more creative, and we’re more representative of the majority of the United States of America.”

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The …

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The link between Trayvon Martin and your state Capitol

If there is to be a revival of the political center in this country, it may be the bean counters who take us there – the accountants trained to keep watch over their corporate employers’ bottom lines.

On Tuesday, the national organization that took Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law and passed it on as a model to Georgia and 23 other states declared that it was bowing out of the social conservatism business.

“Non-economic issues” will no longer be the concern of the American Legislative Exchange Council, said its chairman, David Frizzell, an Indiana state lawmaker.

It was a reluctant concession made under pressure. Liberal groups have tied the “stand your ground” legislation – originally backed by the National Rifle Association in Florida before ALEC added its stamp of approval – to the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, is treasurer of the American Legislative Exchange council and will be its chairman within four years.  Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, is treasurer of the American Legislative Exchange council and will be its …

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Newt Gingrich’s Georgia backers in Congress say they’ll stick with him

This just arrived from my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington:

You could almost hear Tammy Wynette playing in the background as Newt Gingrich’s backers among Georgia’s House Republicans stood by their man and his Lost Cause on Wednesday.

Never mind the endorsement that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gave Mitt Romney a day earlier.

In interviews off the floor of the House, Marietta’s Phil Gingrey, Coweta County’s Lynn Westmoreland and Tifton’s Austin Scott declined to declare the Republican presidential primary finished in the aftermath of Rick Santorum’s exit from the race last week.

Not that any of them gave Gingrich much chance of success. The backing was more due to the precious notion of loyalty for a man who once represented the state in Congress. Gov. Nathan Deal said much the same thing on Tuesday.

“I’m very enthused about the 99.9 percent likelihood that our nominee will be Mitt Romney,” said Gingrey, whose district covers much of Gingrich’s old territory. …

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Your morning jolt: Newt Gingrich slams Mitt Romney over limiting mortgage deductions

So why is Newt Gingrich still in the GOP presidential race? So he can issue statements like the one below, which arrived this morning:

“Governor [Mitt] Romney’s proposal to limit certain tax deductions based on income, including the deduction for mortgage interest on second homes, is a surrender to the class warfare rhetoric of the Left.”

Over the weekend, at a fundraiser in Florida, Romney was overheard saying that he might seek to limit tax deductions for second home mortgages and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But apparently, it’s far too early for a Sistah Souljah moment. Aides later said the presumptive GOP nominee was simply tossing around ideas.

Says Gingrich:

“Conservatives believe in the classical American definition of fairness – that every American be treated equally under the law…

“Governor Romney’s tax proposal violates that principle by giving politicians the power to carve out exceptions in the law for people of …

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Secret Service intends to ‘follow up’ on Ted Nugent’s comments about Obama

We told you this morning about the curious comment that rocker Ted Nugent, a Mitt Romney fan, made at an NRA convention in St. Louis:

”If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

Here’s the context of Nugent’s remark, made in the midst of a tirade against the Obama administration and the U.S. Supreme Court:

The U.S. Secret Service, which is having problems of its own, pronounced itself curious by what exactly Nugent meant. From USA Today:

“We are aware of the situation and we’re conducting an appropriate follow up,” said Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Never mind those D.C. Republicans — Nathan Deal says he’ll stick with Newt Gingrich

On one hand, members of the Georgia GOP delegation in Washington – who make up a great chunk of Newt Gingrich’s support in Congress – have this example to guide them today. From the Washington Post:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday seconded the House speaker’s earlier endorsement of Mitt Romney as the GOP’s presidential nominee, saying that the Republican Party is “unifying” behind the former Massachusetts governor.

“We’re all behind him,” McConnell told reporters in the afternoon, predicting an “incredibly close, hard-fought campaign.”

On the other hand, a few minutes ago, my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin asked Gov. Nathan Deal whether he were prepared to un-endorse Gingrich and line up behind Romney. Replied Deal, in John Wayne-like fashion:

“I stick with my friends until they decide to get out of the race.”

Here’s the question for U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston, Lynn Westmoreland, Austin Scott, Phil Gingrey and Tom Price: Which …

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ALEC caves on social conservative issues, will ‘redouble’ on economic front

The American Legislative Exchange Council, which produces much of the legislation addressed by Georgia and other states, announced today that it would abandon conservative social issues — a response to liberal pressure that has already cost the group several corporate sponsors.

The group had criticized for producing the “stand your ground” legislation adopted by both Georgia and Florida, and voter ID legislation that has been criticized as a means of excluding minority and elderly voters.

This from the press release, quoting David Frizzell, an Indiana state lawmaker and the current ALEC chairman:

“Today we are redoubling our efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades. Fostering the exchange of pro-growth, solutions-oriented ideas is precisely why ALEC exists.

“To that end, our legislative board last week unanimously agreed to further our work on policies that will help spur innovation and competitiveness across …

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Mitt Romney promises big Georgia donors access to inaugural event

A fundraising email circulating out of Georgia is already promising big donors to a Mitt Romney “victory fund” that they will have special access to a “Presidential Inaugural retreat” after the candidate’s election in November.

The presumptive email was obtained by Buzzfeed, which said it originated with a “top Georgia supporter.” (We confirmed the contents independently). Romney will be in Atlanta on June 11 for a pair of fundraisers.

From the solicitation:

The legal maximum that an individual can donate to Romney Victory is $75,800. The campaign is asking people who are able to make a $50,000 contribution to do so today and become a “Founding Member” of Romney Victory. These donors will be invited to a special retreat with Governor Romney in late June in California and will have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat as well as yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

As for our Georgia efforts, …

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John Barrow banks $1 million to defend House seat

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, one of Augusta’s newest residents, apparently has supporters willing to bet the Democrat has a shot at surviving in November. From Russ Bynum and the Associated Press:

SAVANNAH, Ga. — With more than six months to go until the fall election, U.S. Rep. John Barrow already has more than $1 million in the bank to defend his eastern Georgia seat after Republican lawmakers redrew the district in hopes of ousting the four-term Democrat.

Campaign finance reports due over the weekend show Barrow, the last white Democrat in Congress from the Deep South, maintaining a large fundraising advantage over four Republicans competing to challenge him in November.

Barrow raised $256,763 in the first three months of 2012, bringing his total haul for the election cycle to $1.4 million. His disclosure report showed the congressman still has $1.04 million unspent — more than four times the bank balance of his closest GOP competitor.

“Can we catch up to him financially? I …

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