A challenge to the candidacy of Bill Carruth, the former chairman of the Paulding County Commission and a GOP primary challenger to state Sen. Bill Heath, was filed with Secretary of State Brian Kemp this afternoon in unprecedented fashion.
It is based, in part, on Carruth’s million-dollar debt. Read the document here.
The complaint, filed in the name of Paulding resident Bill Houston, challenges Carruth’s legal residence. This was to be expected. The new lines of Senate District 31 were drawn so that the boundary ran down the center of the street on which Carruth lived – with the GOP challenger, whose interest in the Senate seat was well known, placed on the wrong side.
Carruth claims he has moved to another house, close to his mother.
But the challenge is also based on the allegation that “Mr. Carruth is the holder of public monies illegally[,] in violation of the Georgia Constitution, Article II, Section II, paragraph III.”
From the complaint:
Attached to this letter are two documents confirming that Mr. Carruth and his wife, Laura, owe the federal government, and thus the taxpayers, $2,351,661.86. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sued Mr. Carruth in federal court for his default on a loan. Judge Stephen Jones issued the default judgment against Mr. Carruth and his wife on April 27, 2012. On May 30, 2012, Judge Jones also issued a writ of execution directing the U.S. Marshall’s Office to enforce and satisfy a judgment for payment of money owed to the FDIC, a federal agency that is insured by the taxpayers of the United States of America.
In sum, Mr. Carruth is the holder of public monies illegally, and, unless he can demonstrate the ability to satisfy this debt to the federal government in full or that a payment plan has been established with the FDIC, he is ineligible to hold or seek public office in Georgia.”
The immediate response from Carruth strategist Chip Lake:
“This challenge is baseless and without merit. Down in the polls and absent of any meaningful accomplishments, Bill Heath has no choice but to change the subject in order to deflect attention away from his struggling campaign. Not surprisingly, this is what the public has come to expect from Mr. Heath.”
And just in from Mr. Heath:
Politicians like Bill Carruth are why people have lost faith in the political process. Times are tough for a lot of people in west Georgia but they still follow the law and they still work hard to honor their obligations. Bill Carruth doesn’t pay his bills, but he puts $110,000 of his own money into a campaign? Not paying your debts and playing political games with residency laws should automatically disqualify anyone from running.
But here’s the thing: If Carruth is excluded from politics because of his debts, who else might qualify for such a ban?
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider