Newt Gingrich speaks up for Stan Wise in PSC race

The re-election campaign of state Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise on Monday made public a robo-call that former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has recorded on Wise’s behalf. The two are old Cobb County friends.

And for his friend, Gingrich describes Wise’s Republican opponent, Pam Davidson, as a West Coast flower child:

”Hello, this is Newt Gingrich. I’m still humbled to have won Georgia on Super Tuesday, and today I’m asking you to vote for my good friend Stan Wise, who’s seeking another term on the Georgia Public Service Commission. His steady hand at the PSC has helped build a reliable energy system without shifting costs to future generations. The last thing we need in Georgia are the failed, liberal California energy programs of his opponent that lead to blackouts, Solyndra, and skyrocketing rates. Please vote for Stan Wise in the Republican primary.”

Presumably, “without shifting costs to future generations” is the tested phraseology for the advance payments that Georgia Power ratepayers are making on costs associated with two new nuclear plants now under construction. Speaking of which, did you see this weekend piece by my AJC colleague Kristi Swartz?

Despite promises from the nuclear industry to regulators and consumers that they learned from mistakes of the past, the nation’s first two nuclear reactor projects built from scratch in 30 years are headed toward hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns and months, if not years, of delays.

The impact of the early delays and budget increases at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle and South Carolina Electric & Gas’s Plant Summer will have on future nuclear projects is unclear.

Utilities’ officials say the Georgia and South Carolina projects face extra public and private scrutiny because they are the first approved and their design will serve as prototypes for future plants.

The challenges include more than $800 million in overruns and a dispute over who should pay for them. The disputes are between the consortium of utility companies building Plant Vogtle and the project’s main design and construction contractors, Westinghouse and The Shaw Group. Georgia Power, as the lead in the consortium building the plant, is responsible for $400 million of that amount, the contractors say. In South Carolina, SCE&G has asked to recoup from its customers $283 million, which include a $138 million settlement with Shaw and Westinghouse.

Customers could end up paying for any cost overruns at Vogtle if the charges are ultimately approved by Georgia’s Public Service Commission.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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70 comments Add your comment

honested

July 16th, 2012
5:26 pm

If I should run for a statewide race for an office critical to protection of the public interest and I have no record whatsoever verifying any intent whatsoever to even think about protecting the public interest, I guess I would run to the likes of gingrich to record a robo-call.

He could have added a final statement like “Listen to this old loser and help Georgia Utility Consumers keep losing!”

Doug craig

July 16th, 2012
5:28 pm

The best candidate is running as a libertarian anyway.David Staples

http://www.facebook.com/VoteStaples

Hopper

July 16th, 2012
5:36 pm

Would anyone seriously listen to a man as ethically challenged as Newt?

GaBlue

July 16th, 2012
5:44 pm

The Georgia Public Service Commission: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Southern Company.

Doesn’t it warm your heart to see our government enable Georgia Power to force customers to be capital investors in their future business endeavors (socialized risk) without the benefit of shared profits to the hostage investors (privatized profits)? If Grandma lives long enough to actually receive power from the plant she is funding, will she get a discounted rate? (Don’t be silly.)

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
5:45 pm

With $112k+ cash on hand, it’s easy for someone like Stan to run these types of robocalls. Of course, the campaign donations don’t even take into account the nearly $14k worth of gifts from lobbyists in just his current term.

As for energy programs, it’s time Georgia legalized third party power purchase agreements and take away part of the power of the electric monopoly. Republicans talk about supporting a free market… so open up the market and let solar truly compete against the monopolies. If people want to install solar on their roof and a third party company is willing to foot the initial costs and sell power back to them by the kilowatt, why should the government tell them no? Because the 70+ lobbyists Georgia Power sent to the legislature to lobby against the bill said no. And who do you think pays for those 70+ lobbyists? The ratepayer.

I’m a native Georgian and my family has been in Georgia for many years. I’m running as a Libertarian in a two way race against whomever comes out of the July 31 Republican Primary. (There is no Democrat in this race.) It’s time for a fresh face in the district 5 seat. We’ll only see change when enough people say “enough is enough”. We’re not going to settle for business as usual at the Public Service Commission any longer.

http://www.VoteStaples.com

hiram

July 16th, 2012
5:48 pm

@ hopper

“Would anyone seriously listen to a man as ethically challenged as Newt?”

Was that meant to be toungue and cheek? Georgia has the most irrational voters in the country, given that they continue to elect known crooks, who rob them blind. That’s why the crooks are coming out of the woodwork to run for office.

Centrist

July 16th, 2012
6:08 pm

Staples had my vote before he came on this blog.

PMom_GA

July 16th, 2012
6:10 pm

Just got that call – hung up (shamming the phone down) as soon as I heard GIngrich name. Have demanded repeatedly that GOP remove my name/phone from any/all lists they create/use and/or provide to GOP candidates. Nothing works. And yes, I;m on fed do not call, but apparently “politics” are exempt from compliance

How do I get this to stop???

jgalloway

July 16th, 2012
6:16 pm

PMom:

I’m sorry to say, I think political telemarketers are exempt from do-not-call restrictions……

Douglasville Dude

July 16th, 2012
6:17 pm

You got my vote, Mr. Staples.

PMom_GA

July 16th, 2012
6:29 pm

Jim,

I already said that! There’s got to be a way to get thru to GOP to stop! They cannot ignore a direct order. The problem is no one wants to do anything – and that starts at the top of the GOP food chain!

Argh – I have indigestion….

td

July 16th, 2012
6:32 pm

PMom_GA

July 16th, 2012
6:29 pm

A move to Vermont will probably be the only way for you wishes to come true.

DannyX

July 16th, 2012
6:37 pm

Well at least the Republicans in the state legislature and our Republican governor protected Georgia Power residential customers from the nuclear power plant cost overruns.

Oh, sorry, my bad. Our Republican government protected Georgia Power and their investors from the cost overruns, its the customers on the hook.

What a strange perverted form of socialism, Georgia Power residential customers are forced to play the part of investor (businesses are not prepaying) and also forced to burden the cost of almost guaranteed cost overruns. Yet its Obama that gets called a socialist.

Wow, who didn’t see the almost 1 billion (so far) in cost overruns. What a surprise!

Atlanta_Man

July 16th, 2012
6:55 pm

$112,000 seems low for a statewide race. How much did Barnes spend on his reelection against Perdue – $20 million?

Auntie Christ

July 16th, 2012
6:56 pm

getrich’s statement: “The last thing we need in Georgia are the failed, liberal California energy programs of his opponent that lead to blackouts, Solyndra, and skyrocketing rates.”

He really thinks we’re stupid, and for about 65% of jawjuns, he’s correct, but some of us remember enron and it’s deliberate tactics of creating energy ’shortages’ so they could raise rates on California consumers, These tactics endangered lives by creating unsafe driving conditions with non functioning traffic signals, and cutting off power to the elderly during some of the hottest summers on record. Yet getrich would have us believe ‘liberal policies’ instead of the greed of bush cheney cronies was the cause of the problem. And finally, he is a citizen of VA now, what business does he have telling jawjuns how to vote on a strictly state race.

“Customers could end up paying for any cost overruns at Vogtle if the charges are ultimately approved by Georgia’s Public Service Commission.”

The customers “could end up paying” Is that some kind of joke, or a reporter stretching the limits of credibility trying to be objective? When GP goes before the GA PSC they are appearing before a wholly owned subsidiary of their company, do you really expect this subsidiary to rule in the consumer’s favor? Only if you’re on drugs.

Finally, Mr Staples, count me in.

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
7:03 pm

I know the PSC maintains the Georgia Do Not Call List. I would imagine PSC Commissioners should have an impact on making those changes either by directly voting on it or by asking and pressuring the legislature to make the changes. I would fully support putting political calls in the same category as commercial telemarketing. Most people are surprised to learn that politicians opted themselves out of the do-not-call list requirements. Others are perhaps a bit more pessimistic in their views in that it’s almost expected that elected officials so often set different rules for themselves than everyone else. Here’s the link to the Georgia page…

http://www.ganocall.com/

PMom_GA

July 16th, 2012
7:18 pm

David Staples,

Thank you for the info. I agree – political should be part of the do not call categories.

Look before I leap...

July 16th, 2012
7:26 pm

“A move to Vermont will probably be the only way for you wishes to come true.”

That’s your response td?
Someone who is being harassed by calls she does not want and your advice is to move?

Would you feel the same way if you started getting calls from the democrats?

Or are you just being churlish because she does not like the Newtser?

Atlanta_Man

July 16th, 2012
7:28 pm

I’m going to guess the Do Not Call list is exempt by Federal Law. You’ve got a little issue with the 1st Amendment, which was put in place to protect political free speech.

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
7:37 pm

Perhaps it would even be possible to allow people to opt out by category – commercial, political, non-profit, or all of the above. Perhaps there are people out there that don’t mind receiving commercial solicitations, but don’t want to receive political calls. I work in the IT industry and don’t see an issue with a solution like this. Can anyone think of a downside that perhaps I’m not thinking of?

Look before I leap...

July 16th, 2012
7:41 pm

“Can anyone think of a downside that perhaps I’m not thinking of?”

I can. People and organizations lie.

Lynn43

July 16th, 2012
7:48 pm

Mr. Wise, An endorsement by Newt results in me voting for your opponent. Mr. Staples, you have my vote.

Jeffrey Smith

July 16th, 2012
7:51 pm

Actually, Georgia does not maintain a Do Not Call list anymore (thank the lack of a budget for this). If you are on the Federal Do Not Call list http://www.donotcall.gov telemarketers calling Georgia residents must abide by the list compiled by the feds. Legislative budget cuts caused this.

Look before I leap...

July 16th, 2012
8:07 pm

@Jeffrey Smith

The Federal Do Not Call list is mandated by the FTC which has no jurisdiction over political calls.
Our politicians are exempt from the effects of the registry.

The problem arise mainly from donor lists. You send X dollars to candidate Y. He then in turn can give or in the case of slimebags like Newt, SELL their lists to other candidates or organizations.

When you attend a rally or send money, if you don’t want to get the calls, give them a fictitious number. I usually give them the White House switchboard number.

Baron Dekalb

July 16th, 2012
8:31 pm

I saw some commercials for this type of 3rd party solar panel companies in Louisiana and was wondering why we don’t have the same option here in GA. Now I know… I think Mr. Staples has succeeded in uniting the herd of cats that constitutes the Galloway peanut section.

md

July 16th, 2012
8:48 pm

“Perhaps it would even be possible to allow people to opt out by category – commercial, political, non-profit, or all of the above.”

How about “opt in” instead.

In my book, “do not call” means “do not call”……….

RJ Johnson

July 16th, 2012
9:01 pm

Dear Candidate Staples:

Why not promise a chicken in every pot and a job for every able bodied American??? The ‘do not call’ registry is based on Federal law – a statute that specifically exempts political calls from the do not call list. If you want the people of Georgia to award you a $120K per year job to regulate utilties, you should at least pretend you know what the job is. The PSC can no more change federal law than they can force utilities to give away energy as a non profit. Your posts should embaras you.

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
9:12 pm

RJ – perhaps the info I’ve been reading is incorrect, but Georgia at least used to have its own Do Not Call List. As an example, here’s a press release from 2003 where the state stopped charging $5 to join the state list. If I’m also not mistaken, states are allowed to be more restrictive than the federal government. Can you show me the federal law that would prohibit Georgia from setting such regulations?

http://www.psc.state.ga.us/newsinfo/releases/2003/081503.pdf

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

July 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

Funded by a Zionist mob frontman, Gingrich is now going to use his vast “moral authority” gained as a serial adulterer, draft-dodging pervert to tell Georgia who is our best candidate for elected office? lol

Stan Wise

July 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

Jim,
 
It is not often that I respond in blogs, but the contorted leap the AJC made this afternoon deserves a response. 
 
Newt’s message point that you cling to speaks to the ongoing effort at the PSC to limit the amount of debt we pile onto future generations.  Unlike Washington and this Administration, we really do try our best not to “shift burdens.”   That is why we often use rider mechanisms (surcharges) to reduce by as much as possible the amount of energy infrastructure spending that gets passed into a 40-year amortization schedule in the rate base.  
 
This financing tool saves interest on interest costs, results in cheaper and more available capital, gets the projects done in shorter time spans, pays down the debt sooner, and keeps rates lower over time.   We use this finance mechanism in natural gas pipeline replacement programs, in environmental compliance, and it is available for fuel cost recovery, for instance.   And yes, pursuant to S.B. 31, we are using it to finance nuclear construction, which I now know you do not appreciate. 
 
That said, I noticed in reprinting portions of the recent story on Vogtle that you left out this important point:
 
“Georgia Power says the project will cost $2.2 billion less [despite possible overruns] than originally projected to operate over its 60-year lifetime because of a combination of tax breaks, fuel costs, low interest rates and other factors. Some of the disputes over who’s responsible for delays and possible cost increases at Vogtle are still being worked out between Georgia Power and its vendors, the company said.”
 
 

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
9:25 pm

RJ – O.C.G.A. § 46-5-27 Telephone solicitations to residential, mobile, or wireless subscribers; Public Service Commission to establish and maintain list of certain subscribers; authorization for imposition of administrative fees; confidential nature of data base; required identification

So Georgia still has the code on the books. I’d be happy to discuss why it’s not possible to do what I’ve suggested above. Just because Georgia doesn’t necessarily maintain a separate list anymore doesn’t mean we can’t either offer people additional protections or that we can’t offer an additional list of types of calls they’re able to opt out from. People shouldn’t have to put up with calls from campaigns, organizations or groups they want to hear from just because they’ve decided to have a telephone.

I’m not promising chickens, jobs or anything else that would be considered welfare. I’m simply suggesting that there may be more options available than are currently offered as a type of consumer protection that really wouldn’t cost hardly a thing. (I work in IT for a living, I know how easy a database is to set up and maintain for such basic information.) Perhaps I’m wrong. I’d love to be corrected… but I need facts to show me where I’m wrong and thus far I haven’t found anything to the contrary of what I’ve stated.

Atlanta_Man

July 16th, 2012
9:28 pm

David-

Show me a state that forces candidates to adhere to “do not call.” My guess is there aren’t any, and if there are, they are probably waiting to be sued over the 1st Amendment. Commercial speech is going one of the lowest forms of protected speech, whereas political speech would be your highest form of protected speech.

David Staples

July 16th, 2012
9:35 pm

Atlanta_Man – I’m not trying to infringe on anyone’s right to political speech. But do people not have a right to not be badgered by robocalls? Using your line of logic, it would also be completely okay with you for politicians to walk up to someone’s front door to talk to them about their campaign even with “No Trespassing” and “No Soliciting” signs posted. Even if they put up a gate, is it okay for the campaigner to climb over the gate in the interest of first amendment political speech?

Atlanta Realist

July 16th, 2012
9:52 pm

It’s embarrassing that Newt won Georgia’s primary. Mr. Gingrich is a certified, card-carrying lunartic (notice the moon-pun.) Hopefully Mr. Staples is able to add a fresh new face to the PSC next year.

Kris

July 16th, 2012
9:58 pm

@David Staples
“Atlanta_Man – I’m not trying to infringe on anyone’s right to political speech. But do people not have a right to not be badgered by robocalls? ”
I agree.
I’m home eating supper after a long day at work “ring ring…” Hi thief newt here endorsing another stupid GOP CROOK… To quote

“Don Imus refers to Newt Gingrich as “skunk vomit”. He needs to apologize to skunks.”

Supper is over

VOTE NO TO ANY GOP SLIME
VOTE NO TO ROBOCALLS
VOTE NO ts-LOST
just Vote!
Re=elect President OBAMA

double

July 16th, 2012
9:58 pm

Y’all quit knocking Newt.You will upset TD and He will blame Obama for the cost overruns at vogtle.We don’t need listen to that hung up recording again.

Centrist

July 16th, 2012
11:15 pm

@ Kris – Very funny quote – “Don Imus refers to Newt Gingrich as ’skunk vomit’. He needs to apologize to skunks.”

Hard to say why Gingrich won the GA primary. He is smart, articulate, and has a long GA history. Personally, many people including me find him repulsive, overly ambitious, condescending, arrogant, and conveniently religious. Maybe he could be in a think tank with no windows where voters would never have to see or hear from him, but he could privately offer his opinions to Romney’s cabinet.

yuzeyurbrane

July 16th, 2012
11:22 pm

Wise and Gingrich are both members of the world’s oldest profession.

Mitt'sDawg

July 16th, 2012
11:23 pm

I’m beginning to wonder when Newt and Santorum and the others are going to see this mess over Mitt’s taxes is the opportunity to stop Mitt and win the nomination?

honested

July 16th, 2012
11:27 pm

While it may be interesting to some to tickle their libertarian-loser itch, remember, there is a main stream candidate that the former-trounced-forgotten-loser-Presidential-candidate was attempting to slime, and it was NOT the libertoonian.

Pam Davidson will do what neither mr. wise, nor Mr. Staples will do, and that is represent the interests of Georgians in the Public Service Commission.

Isn’t that what the job is about and not some erzatz exercise in randian political theory?

honested

July 16th, 2012
11:28 pm

centrist,

Laugh line of the evening ‘romney’s cabinet’!!

SR

July 16th, 2012
11:31 pm

Darn right man, Gingrich is way past irrelevant. Go away Newt, no one’s listening. ZZZZZZZZ.

Kris

July 16th, 2012
11:49 pm

yuzeyurbrane “Wise and Gingrich are both members of the world’s oldest profession.”

Please Hooking Ain”t easy, please do not refer to Ladies of the evening as members of the ”
oldest profession.” Some of them probably ran into Newt!

Nuff said.

Atlanta Realist

July 17th, 2012
12:06 am

@honested

You sound a lot like Pam from the interview after she was caught lying about having a college degree… “honestly, honestly, honestly that is what happened.”

Atlanta_Man

July 17th, 2012
12:16 am

David-

Your response implies that you think I’m arguing for the Constitutionality of robocalls. I’m trying to tell you what I think the law already is. Yes, I hear your logic on walking beyond a trespassing sign, but it’s not the same thing as trespassing (I don’t think the FTC considers a commercial violation of the do not call list to be trespassing). A person/machine is dialing a number and calling over the ATT phone system. It’s really more akin to sending someone a piece of mail, with a “no junk mail sign” on their mailbox. Your analogy is private property rights versus free speech, I don’t think the courts consider a phone call to be a violation of property rights. I think, when in doubt, the Supreme Court is going to side with Free Speech when it comes to Political Speech. The courts do their best to protect Political Free Speech, since elections are where political power comes from. Just my two cents. If you think I’m wrong, point to me all the states that have opt-out for political candidates.

G Mare

July 17th, 2012
12:19 am

Pmomga, if you do not have caller ID, pick up the phone & do not speak. If the caller is someone you know/want to talk to, she/he will say something. It seems the robo calls are voice activated, so if
you don’t say anything neither does the robot. I do have caller ID, so if I don’t recognize a #, I push on/off on my phone, or I wait to see if it leaves a message. Mostly it/they don’t. Yes, these calls are a MAJOR PAIN.

G Mare

July 17th, 2012
12:27 am

Mitt’s Dawg, it seems many Repubs are more than unhappy with Mitt, but since Paul lost the Nebraska primary, what choices are open to them now? Not a snarky question. Is there anything that can be done at the convention to stop him?

Atlanta_Man

July 17th, 2012
12:35 am

David-

You got me wondering if there are any states that require politicians to adhere to opt-out, so I did a little research. I couldn’t find any state with strict adherence, but two states, CA and IN, require a live person to first ask for permission for the recording to be played. My guess is this makes the robocall much more expensive and would require politicians to raise more money for direct mail, commercials or the more expensive robocalls.

hiram

July 17th, 2012
12:39 am

@G Mare

“Not a snarky question. Is there anything that can be done at the convention to stop him?”

Release his tax returns for the last 12 years…that ought to do it.

G Mare

July 17th, 2012
1:10 am

Hiram, I’m voting for President Obama, so I hope the Rs stick with Mitt. I am curious as to whether they can do anything at this stage to put up another candidate. As a “politics junkie,” I am really just curious. :)