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