Your weekend jolt: Fulton hopeful could be candidate for prosecution

The good news for Clarence Johnson on Saturday was that Secretary of State Brian Kemp overturned a ruling by an administrative law judge and decided that Johnson is, in fact, a bona fide judicial candidate for Fulton County Superior Court.

The bad news? After Tuesday, he may be a candidate for prosecution.

Johnson is running against incumbent Todd Markle.

Johnson’s candidacy had been challenged on the grounds that, when he filed notice of candidacy, he “swore under oath that he was not a defaulter of any federal or state taxes,” according to Kemp. It turns out that this is not so, that Johnson was making monthly payments to the Internal Revenue Service to erase delinquent taxes.

An administrative judge had ruled that the misstatement was enough to remove Johnson from the ballot. But according to Kemp, the letter of the law says that, because the attorney has entered a payment program to address his debt to the public, he remains qualified for the judgeship.

However, Kemp added this:

It is important to note that this determination of Clarence Johnson’s eligibility to seek and hold office for Judge of Superior Court, Atlanta Circuit, does not bar a future investigation by the Secretary of State into possible violations … for false swearing or prosecution under … the Criminal Code of Georgia.

Kemp spokesman Jared Thomas said the Johnson decision was the last of the candidate challenges processed by the secretary of state’s office.

***
Consider these companies: AGL Resources; AT&T; Post Apartments; Bank of America; Wells Fargo; and Norfolk Southern. These were the six major Georgia companies who contributed to both the metro Atlanta transportation sales tax campaign, and the statewide effort.

The list of significant Georgia-wide firms that bet on the metro Atlanta vote – and the metro Atlanta vote only – is impressive, and one of the reasons that the effort backed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce has been reduced to scrounging for dollars. It includes, but isn’t limited to Home Depot, Genuine Parts, Newell Rubbermaid, RockTenn, Siemens, Suntrust, Equifax, King & Spalding, Alston & Byrd, Waffle House, Georgia Crown Distributing, and National Distributing Co.

***
In Saturday’s Columbus Ledger Enquirer, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, drew a line between the fate of the transportation sales tax and his concern over ethics in the Capitol. A taste:

Regardless of your political ideology, you likely agree that at every level government is broken. It is more difficult than ever for elected officials to take on the big issues that demand solutions. From a troubled economy to an infrastructure in need of repair to a system of public education that everyone agrees should be performing at a much higher level, we have significant problems that government should play a role in addressing. So why doesn’t it?

Last week Governor Deal announced that he would end the toll on Georgia 400 by the end of next year. As part of the statement announcing the end of the toll he said, “There are no easy answers, no secret pots of money, but it is imperative that governments build the trust of their people.”

I agree with Governor Deal wholeheartedly. The number one priority for elected officials should be the enactment of policies that build the trust of the people we represent.

The continuing failure to acknowledge and address this issue has had a paralyzing effect on state government. Trust is the currency of governance–it is the oil that allows the machinery of government to run. Without it, government is powerless to grapple with the issues of our day.

***
Over at PeachPundit, Charlie Harper has this tidbit on the Republican contest to oust U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta:

Maria Sheffield’s campaign manager announced via email Friday afternoon an endorsement from Ray McKinney. He was the GOP’s nominee and Congressman John Barrow’s opponent in 2010. Getting the endorsement from the party’s former standard bearer is usually big news. It’s bigger news when the endorsement wasn’t given.

McKinney, via an email to the 12th District GOP Chairman and to the Sheffield campaign, notes that he has not made an endorsement. Instead, the email distributed by Sheffield’s campaign manager contains portions of an email McKinney sent to various Republicans “earlier this year” on the need to “take this country back”. It was not an endorsement email.

***
An “independent” campaign committee, established by the state Senate Republican caucus to defend GOP incumbents with July 31 primary challenges, has already generated at least two ethics complaints. A third, filed Friday, may be the most detailed yet. This one has been filed against state Sen. Bill Heath of Bremen, who faces Bill Carruth of Paulding County on Tuesday. Take a look at it here.

Under state law, an independent campaign committee isn’t allowed to communicate or coordinate with candidates. From the complaint:

It stretches all credulity to suggest that the Committee is “independent” from Senator Heath when it was funded with money from SRST PAC, of which Senator Heath is a member and for which he likely helped raise funds. How can an “independent committee” be independent if it only exists because the candidate which it benefitted helped set it up, fund it, furnish it with the information used to promote that candidate, and then coordinate a common campaign theme with nearly identical language used in every mailer sent to voters?

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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44 comments Add your comment

Mr. KnowitAll

July 29th, 2012
12:36 pm

Jim—why don’t you just come out and say it—you (and Cox Enterprises) are biased in favor of the TSPLOST.

Your journalism ethics and neutrality in reporting is becoming a joke.

Why not REPORT the news instead of backing a certain side?

[...] by Charlie · 0 comments TweetIt’s no day of rest for political news, with Tuesday being a major election day.  Jim Galloway has posted a Sunday summary of news including: [...]

Kris (Voted NO)

July 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

Jim, you might be on to something here, arrest the crooks before they run for office.

As for respect for Deal the only way he would get my trust is when he resigns office or is impeached.

There is a cure for greed and corruption. Vote the crooks out.
Vote NO tsp-LOST.

yuzeyurbrane

July 29th, 2012
12:48 pm

KnowitAll, I don’t think Jim’s listing of big busn. supporters either surprises anyone or helps supporters of T-Splost. I took at Jim’s way of discreetly disagreeing with his Cox Enterprise employers. As to long quote re trust in state govt., I agree with Sen. McKoon although I suspect his and my politics probably disagree.

Mr. KnowitAll

July 29th, 2012
1:04 pm

yuzeyurbrane—Where’s JIm’s listing of influentials that OPPOSE TSPLOST? Huhhh???

Ga Values VOTE NO FOR WASTE, GRAFT & CORRUPTION

July 29th, 2012
1:08 pm

Who is the bigest crook Deal or Reed?

Will Deal’s corrupt cronies steal more than Reed’s corrupt cronies?

Refugee

July 29th, 2012
1:20 pm

Jim, it took a while for the shock of learning that a politician might be prosecuted to wear off. Now that it has, let me present a brilliant idea to pull TSPLOST thru. Seriously, get Dan Cathy to endorse it. There could even be ‘hints’ that failure to pass it could lead to (wait for it!)… Gay Marriage!!!
Dan Cathy in my opinion is the Sarah Palin of GA politics if he wants to be, and with daddy’s billions he may not steal like Sonny and Deal. Speaking of Palin and Chick Fil-A (a well-known brain food):

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/07/29/cnn-plays-pinks-stupid-girls-story-about-sarah-palin-visiting-chick-f#ixzz221R2ZM8S

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
1:43 pm

@GA Values:
Deal beats Reed in a landslide.
He has a bigger trough to feed from and an 18 year head start as a Congress critter.
Reed is small taters in this contest, very small.

Kris (Voted NO)

July 29th, 2012
1:45 pm

@Ga Values VOTE NO FOR WASTE, GRAFT & CORRUPTION

“Who is the biggest crook Deal or Reed?
Will Deal’s corrupt cronies steal more than Reed’s corrupt cronies?”

That is a hard one to answer. We need a time frame to work in…A nearly bankrupt congressman RUNNING LIKE HELL to avoid being prosecuted charges on corruptness. Gets elected in GA million plus in debt paid off after 6 months paid off…A setup to run for Governor (title used loosely) his opponent Roy barns What a joke.
AS for REED pick one. TSPLOST and the Atlanta trolly to nowhere.

Let the winner be chosen by which one gets caught and put in JAIL first.

Impeach DEAL, RECALL Reed
. Help derail the crooks. Vote the GOP scum out.
There is a cure for greed and corruption.
Vote NO tsp-LOST.

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
1:48 pm

Re: The endorsement vs non-endorsement from McKinney.
Why does this endorsement from a loser carry any weight?
Would this not be the same as McCain endorsing Romney?

That said, would it not have been prudent for Sheffield’s campaign to call McKinney and verify his remarks as an actual endorsement before publicizing it?

Another case of political of “Ready, Fire, Aim!”

LMAO

July 29th, 2012
1:53 pm

I’m definitely against the T-SPLOST now that I’ve paid $3.15 for gas in Alabama. I’m paying $3.48 here. Is our gas tax that high? It’s very obvious the state has failed in administering it. Also, anything that Reed is for I’m against. How dumb of them to use Michael Russell, HJ Russell Construction in a commercial? His company is in line to make millions off this thing. Reed how arrogant can you be? WSB should be ashamed for running their so call “forum”. It was more than 12 minutes of fluff from supporters and 2 minutes of reasoning from opponents.
Better still Reed and Atlanta have already started on the Barge Road/166 intersection construction that is suppose to be apart of the “local” projects list. Bottom line – I don’t trust the state of Georgia to manage the money and I don’t trust it will create sustainable jobs.

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
1:54 pm

Nice rhetoric from Josh McKoon but no substance on how exactly to address the issues.
Such as mandated transparency and sunshine laws, a stronger ethics oversight process, banning ALL gifts from lobbyists, etc.

hiram

July 29th, 2012
2:08 pm

@kris
Speaking of the Real Deal – did you notice that he appointed his Gainesville partner – the one in the junk car inspection business, to the Port Authority? Is he partnering up with Sonny?

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

@LMAO

GA’s gax tax rates are actually less than half of Alabama (7.5 cpg vs AL’s of 16 cpg).
However, GA also assesses a 4% sales tax plus city and local taxes (and some other fees) which makes the effective rate about 29.4 (rank 18th) vs AL of 20.9 (rank 37th).

LMAO

July 29th, 2012
2:21 pm

@Look that proves my point…Georgia is failing to administer the money we are paying. If they were doing the right thing there would be no need for this TSPLOST.BTW hell no to the Beltline more than anything else.

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
2:38 pm

@LMAO
I don’t disagree with you. I am anti-TSPLOST.
Make do with what we have. If that is not enough to do what we need to do, then charge the folks who use the roads more, ie. higher gax taxes and or tolls.

I just don’t get how Deal and the other GOP elected officials who signed the Norquist pledge can say with a straight face that TSPLOST is NOT a tax increase. If the folks in the gold dome want to move forward with this pork-laden, VERY flawed proposal, they need to knock a penny off the current state sales tax.

Kris (voted NO)

July 29th, 2012
3:15 pm

@hiram…”Speaking of the Real Deal – did you notice that he appointed his Gainesville partner”.

Deal has named his business Cronies flunkeys and two other flunkey contributors to the Georgia Ports Authority, a plum assignment that can open doors for businessmen…

Add to that Crooked Deal has appointed other cronies as well as relatives to important positions also.
Which any other place but Georgia would be considered nepotism.

Impeach DEAL, RECALL Reed
Derail the crooks. Vote the GOP scum out.
There is a cure for greed and corruption.
Vote NO tsp-LOST.

Thomas J.

July 29th, 2012
3:18 pm

“established by the state Senate Republican caucus to defendant GOP incumbents with July 31 primary challenges”

Jim, don’t you mean “…to DEFEND GOP incumbents…”? Although it sounds like there may be some defendants by the time this is all sorted out, it’s a little early (and unfair) to make them all sound like criminals…

David

July 29th, 2012
3:39 pm

Well OF COURSE big business and their media support TSPLOST – they want to make more money. This has nothing to do with the rest of us, who bear the regressive tax for a Christmas tree full of politician’s ornaments. I’d support a 50% increase in the gas tax with all of the money going into public transportation. I’ll give you a little example. In September we travel to Germany. From the airport to our hotel in a village of 6,000 we can drive in 2 hours (not counting the 30-45 min to rent a car) which is like the distance between the Atlanta airport and Blue Ridge, Georgia. Or we can take public transportation, a fast train and a bus, which takes 2 hrs. and 10 min and costs $19 a head. Once at our hotel we (or anyone at any hotel in the region) get free transportation on the many trains and buses in the 100 mile area. Now that sort of alternative would “untie Atlanta.”

jgalloway

July 29th, 2012
3:42 pm

Thanks for the edit, Thomas J. I was typing way too fast…..

hiram

July 29th, 2012
4:02 pm

@ kris
It is alledged that Perdue was using the Governor’s office to assemble his own personal business, centered on the Savannah Port, and now Deal is appointing his personal associates to the port authority too . There is obviously some sort of cooperative being formed between these two model public servants, who have figured out that Georgia has the dumbest electorate in the country.

“All We’re Missing Is The Resolution To Rename Savannah ‘Port Perdue’”

peachpundit.com/2010/11/15/all-were-missing-is-the-resolution-to-rename-savannah-port-perdue/

“Sonny Perdue launches emerging markets firm”

bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2011/04/15/sonny-perdue-launches-emerging-markets.html?page=all

Wilbur

July 29th, 2012
4:06 pm

Refugee,
A little brain food might help you. If you disagree with Mr Cathy you are of course free to say so. How you disagree about his beliefs tells others a great deal about you. You did yourself no service with your comments.

Weetamoe

July 29th, 2012
4:20 pm

An article by one of the ajc newsgirls suggests ways to compensate for the 1% sales tax on necessities like food and over-the-counter meds. Apply for food stamps, she says, and ask your doc for prescriptions for your meds (like my daily aspirin, vitamin c, calcium, and vitamin d?) Sort of like Obama telling that struggling young father having trouble paying for the gas for his old van to just go out and buy one of those new hybrids. That’s what is meant by *getting it* or *being in touch to *those people.*

Kris (impeach DEAL)

July 29th, 2012
4:23 pm

@ hiram, your right!

Sonny DODO like his cronie crooked deal, Both have done nothing for the citizens of GA> but squander our TAXES for heir personal Gain… I favor Port Sonny dodo or crooked deal.

Vote NO tsp-LOST

David Staples

July 29th, 2012
5:18 pm

Another monopoly in addition to AGL Resources that contributed to the pro-TSPLOST campaigns? Georgia Power. Just two donations came to $350,000. So essentially, we now have ratepayers who are forced to contribute to the pro-TSPLOST campaigns simply by being a customer of a regulated monopoly, even though they may be opposed to the TSPLOST? That doesn’t seem right.

APN Editor

July 29th, 2012
5:20 pm

Jim- Just so you know, Kemp made a similar ruling regarding statements made by Ronnie Mabra in HD 63 Democratic Primary. Mabra said he lived in Fayette Cty. for 30 consecutive years, which clearly is not true. On the other hand, for Johnson to say he was not in default, I think a reasonable person would believe that they had cured the default if they were in an active payment arrangement – that’s how student loans work. The word default is used in many different ways depending on the situation. To some credit rating agencies, a default can mean simply having an improper credit to debt ratio. With a credit card, a default can mean a single late payment. With student loans, default typically means you’re more than six months late and haven’t cured the situation with a payment plan. The point is, the ruling towards Mr. Johnson isn’t as novel as one might assume, and I would say the case that Johnson was deceptive is not as strong as other cases I’ve seen.

yuzeyurbrane

July 29th, 2012
5:44 pm

knowitall, don’t be paranoid. I’m against T-Splost, too. But saying most big businesses support it effects me in the opposite way to what you suggest and I hope other Georgians as well. It makes me think these guys are arrogant enough to think they can just buy their way to swaying our poor feeble minds. And patronizing enough to think what is good for them is good for Georgia. Yet at the same time companies like Delta have as usual exempted themselves from the proposed tax and expect the middle class to pay for it. After all, they are the job creators and should have to pay nothing in taxes if they had their way. Particularly egregious is that they are proposing to impose this tax on groceries and non-pres. medicines, which falls particularly harshly on seniors and others on fixed incomes.

double

July 29th, 2012
5:48 pm

Rename savannah port Deal DoDo.Just saying.

findog

July 29th, 2012
6:09 pm

Jim,
Why are you not covering this ACTUAL CASE OF VOTER FRAUD?

The wife of Hall County Commissioner has voted using someone else’s ballot
Then voted with her own ballot
VOTER FRAUD!
And as we have nothing but the GOP up here it was by a white, crisitian, conservative, republican

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/70601/

hiram

July 29th, 2012
6:13 pm

@ yuzeyurbrane

“It makes me think these guys are arrogant enough to think they can just buy their way to swaying our poor feeble minds.”

It would be more accurate to say that these guys are observant enough to know they can buy their way to swaying our poor feeble minds, given that Georgia’s voters have elected the most corrupt politicians in the country.

The voters are even so dumb that, even after the politicians openly rob them blind, they reelect them. Why do you think Brother Deal, with more baggage than a 10 engine train could pull, ran for governor?

findog

July 29th, 2012
6:20 pm

Our gas costs more because we need a special blend during the summer

Refugee

July 29th, 2012
6:49 pm

Now, now, Wilbur. I respect the owners for honoring the Sabbath as they do. Certainly Cathy would be an improvement over any current GA politicians such as Sonny, Deal, Gingrey, Richardson, Rogers, Handel, etc. The point is that history does not repeat, but it rhymes, and GA has a history of Governors elected over hot-button social issues, like another wealthy Atlanta restaurateur, Lester Garfield Maddox. At the least, the endorsement of Cathy is now more valuable to all “severely conservative” candidates.

Kris (voted NO)

July 29th, 2012
7:38 pm

@ hiram

Look what crooked double dip deal was running against.. I wrote in Micky Crook…..Nuff said.

@ findog.

We can thank the republicans for the high gas prices.

Vote the GOP crooks out

Vote No tsp-LOST

hiram

July 29th, 2012
8:08 pm

@ kris

The political process is flawed because prospective candidates have to be chosen from pools of sociopaths, since being a skilled liar, which requires lots of practice, is mandatory for success. The problem is, sociopaths aren’t necessarily the kind of people you want to put in control of your government.

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
8:36 pm

“…because prospective candidates have to be chosen from pools of sociopaths”

I don’t know from sociopaths, but I do recall something my grandfather once said:

“Son, it is dang near impossible to trust someone who has his hand in your pocket. When it comes to someone who wants to PUT his hand your pocket, you can take out the ‘dang near’.”

At the time I though he was talking about perverts. As I have gotten older, that line of distinction has gotten blurred.

hiram

July 29th, 2012
8:54 pm

@ look

Sound familiar?

Sociopaths:

Glibness and Superficial Charm

Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

oldfart

July 29th, 2012
8:56 pm

This boondoggle is going to face Constitutional challenges regardless of passage. The purrty language on the ballot leaves out some of the gory details that might confuse us ignorant types don’t ya’ know.

Smaller counties grouped with a larger populated county have no control over their own destiny if the larger one passes the TIA but to pay the tax. But in the event they vote for the TIA and the larger one does not then their individual counties are still penalized by having to pay a higher match on any local maintenance and improvement grants (these typically utilize 15-20% of the state’s motor fuel tax revenues today). From HB277:

“(d) In the event a special district sales and use tax election is held and the voters in a special district do not approve the levy of the special district transportation sales and use tax, the local governments in such special district shall be required to provide a 30 percent match for any local maintenance and improvement grants by the Department of Transportation for transportation projects and programs for at least 24 months and until such time as a special district sales and use tax is approved.

In the event the voters in a special district approve the levy of the special district transportation sales and use tax, the local governments in such special district shall be required to provide a 10 percent match for any local maintenance and improvement grants by the Department of Transportation for transportation projects and programs for the duration of the levy of the special district transportation sales and use tax.”

So the fate of your own Constitutional tax district, the county, rests in the hands of an invented tax district that is not mentioned in the State Constitution. They’ve been glorifying the carrots all over the media and even flower it up on the ballot with no mention of the stick that will be applied until your unconstitutional district votes for the SPLOST. Your county will have to pay a 30% match rather than a 10% one as it is today to access tax money you have paid outside of the purview of the SPLOST. This is not only unconstitutional it is extortion, plain and simple.

Look before I leap...

July 29th, 2012
9:05 pm

@hiram

Looks a lot like Newt Gingrich’s resume to me.

oldfart

July 29th, 2012
9:20 pm

@hiram – You mentioned Rudy Bowen, chairman of the DOT Board, a couple of times yesterday so I thought you would like this little story Dale Russel ran last year. Rampant development with developers not paying their fair share of taxes helped get us into this transportation mess and now we end up with one as chairman of the transportation board. Warning to Gwinnett County taxpayers: Do not try this at home. This is a man who carried county commissioners in his pockets for years. Wayne Hill’s bosom buddy back in the day.

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/video?clipId=7081871&autostart=true

hiram

July 29th, 2012
10:35 pm

@oldfart

Thanks. Anyone who might even be considering voting for tsplost, should watch this to see who will be spending their money. Guys like this like to point you toward the welfare Cadillacs to draw your attention away from their welfare Gulfstreams.

Bowen Homes went out of business in 2110, but it looks like they put away enough to get by on, with a little help from the taxpayers.

‘Big Atlanta homebuilder Bowen goes out of business’
http://www.ajc.com/business/big-atlanta-homebuilder-bowen-710901.html

Baron DeKalb

July 29th, 2012
11:02 pm

If our politicians are sociopaths, that’s a very poor reflection on the sociopathic electorate that we all constitute. Things are so polarized now that every statement is a “lie” to someone, every action a “crime”…

hiram

July 29th, 2012
11:33 pm

Galloway’s Weekend Jolt

July 30th, 2012
4:53 am

[...] It’s no day of rest for political news, with Tuesday being a major election day.  Jim Galloway has posted a Sunday summary of news including: [...]

Bobby

July 30th, 2012
8:31 am

If Johnson is under an agreed payment plan, then the IRS does not consider the tax debt to be in default and no perjury was committed.

This is a very misleading headline and story, and written just so in order to influence the election. No different than when the Obama campaign mused that Romney “might” have committed a felony. The difference there was it was from a campaign, and here it’s from the “news” media.