Casey Cagle says he’ll skip Senate GOP fundraiser: ‘We do not have to cheat to win’

The invitation to a two-day golf and shotgunning fund-raiser in Adairsville.

The invitation to a two-day golf and shotgunning fund-raiser in Adairsville.

Members of the state Senate Republican Caucus and some of their very best friends will spend two days in Adairsville this week to play golf and display their expertise with shotguns.

One can pay $500 for a dinner-time chat, but the main events on Wednesday and Thursday are open only to those willing to give $2,500 to $10,000 to the caucus’ campaign arm, the Georgia Republican Senatorial Trust.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has sent an email to Republicans to inform them, in very strong language, that he’s not going.

He has problems with the way $140,000 of caucus money was handed to an allegedly independent committee – based in North Carolina – to defend GOP senators from primary challengers this summer.

Read the entire Sept. 10 letter from Cagle here. In part:

The Trust is so named because its funds are to be raised, held and spent IN TRUST. The management of the trust reflects on the reputation of each Caucus member. Decisions must be made openly and transparently and in compliance with law. We cannot allow the integrity of the Trust to be compromised under any circumstances.

We do not have to cheat to win in November. The truth is that our candidates are better, our ideas are better, our organization is better, and our financing is better. It is not necessary to play fast and loose with the rules. We can win fair and square while abiding by the letter and the spirit of Georgia’s campaign finance laws.

Please know that I will do everything legally and ethically in my power to help protect and expand our Republican majority. However, until certain questions are answered and reforms made, I believe that my participation in the upcoming Trust fundraiser could hurt our cause by serving to wrongly legitimize conduct and decisions which are wholly unacceptable.”

Now, might the two-year leadership struggle in the state Senate a part of this? Obviously. This week’s north Georgia gathering will be the first pre-session meeting of the caucus leading up to leadership votes that will take place after the Nov. 6 election.

The caucus stripped Cagle of much of his authority in the chamber shortly after his 2010 re-election. Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, one of those who pushed that effort, is bowing out as leader of the chamber.

But most specifically at issue is the Trust’s decision earlier this year to put its cash in the hands of the independent political committee.

In a July email to their fellow senators, three Republican senate leaders – Rogers, Bill Cowsert of Athens, and Greg Goggans of Douglas – explained that they had given the committee not just the cash, but the message to voters that they wanted delivered, and a list of the incumbents to be protected.

“This is completely legal and does not violate any finance campaign laws,” the three wrote.

Cagle apparently thinks that there’s a high probability that they’re wrong. State law forbids coordination between individual campaigns and independent committees. Here’s a portion of the relevant state law:

An Independent Committee is one that makes “independent expenditures”. An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, but which is made independently of any candidate’s campaign.

It cannot be made with the cooperation or consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of any candidate or any of his or her agents or authorized committees. An expenditure which does not meet the above criteria for independence is considered a contribution which is subject to limits.

The spending has resulted in several complaints from Republican primary challengers that have been filed with the state ethics commission.

We’ve asked for reaction from Cowsert, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, to the lieutenant governor’s assertions, but have not heard back. We’ll add his remarks as soon as we do.

At least one Republican senator has told us that he won’t attend the event at the Barnsley Gardens Resort. “I have no plans to be there,” said state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, sponsor of legislation to limit gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers to $100.

“I’ve expressed concern about the state of the financials. I’m requesting an accounting,” he said. I’m not confident about lending my name to any fundraising effort without having that accounting.”

So far as we know, the Senate Republican Trust had not previously involved itself in primary challenges. Redistricting, and the vulnerability that the new district maps produced, is one reason we’ve been given for the shift in policy.

Within Senate Republican ranks, there’s been some grumbling about how the $140,000 was used, and who received how much help. We’ve got a list here that we’re told comes – indirectly — from the independent committee.

Bill Heath of Bremen, who was forced into a runoff, received $50,552 worth of help – in the form of 115,600 mail pieces. Rogers, the majority leader, was helped with 75,000 mail pieces worth $33,000.

After that: Jack Murphy of Cumming (54,600 pieces, $26,244); Johnny Grant of Milledgeville (25,000 pieces, $13,500); Don Balfour of Snellville (9,100 pieces, $5,278); Frank Ginn of Danielsville (7,100 pieces, $4,473); and Cecil Staton of Macon (6,700 pieces, $4,388).

Only one general election race is likely to attract the attention of the Senate Republican Trust this fall – the state Senate contest between GOP challenger Hunter Hill of Atlanta and state Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

51 comments Add your comment

Reality Check

September 24th, 2012
4:56 pm

Shocking! This Lt. Governor doesn’t want to help republicans. Cagle is a moderate at best and all he cares about is getting his power back, even if he has to hurt his own party.

Man I hope someone runs against him that is a true republican!

M.E.

September 24th, 2012
4:57 pm

Ha! Power strugglers sense a weakness. Believe me, if they didn’t, no one would be complaining.

Jeff

September 24th, 2012
5:04 pm

Seems the Trust is mostly concerned with protecting Senate GOP Leadership, rather than Senate GOP members in general….

BlueFin

September 24th, 2012
5:05 pm

@ Reality Check

I’m not sure if we just read the same article. The Lt. Governor has a been a huge supporter of conservative Republican candidates. It would ludicrous to say otherwise. Based on that email above – he is just against breaking campaign laws to do it – like Chip Rogers and Bill Cowsert did with the trust.

Peter Lewis

September 24th, 2012
5:07 pm

Good for Lt. Gov. Cagle and Sen. McKoon. Glad to see someone standing up for ethics at the capitol building.

oppo

September 24th, 2012
5:20 pm

uhhh, so let me get this straight. Cagle who backed challengers to incumbents is talking about integrity and backing the GOP Majority?????

and now he’s pouting and taking his marbles back home by refusing to help his own senate colleagues raise money???

Watch for who fills the void. Lots of folks wanting to be governor and Cagle just handed that person the backing of his own Senate.

Sometimes it’s really clear that Cagle is a moron.

Our Less Fortunate Friends

September 24th, 2012
5:25 pm

Cagle isn’t the only person of limited limitness who is involved in this situation.

Our Less Fortunate Friends

September 24th, 2012
5:27 pm

And oh fiddledeedee…apparently only some of us are allowed to use the ‘m’ word.

Probably based on whether you’re inside or outside the AJC firewall.

Hint: Insider take the money and run. “Liberal” media indeed.

Former Tea Partier

September 24th, 2012
5:28 pm

This self-proclaimed TEA party bunch running this fundraising committee only like ethics rules when they are against Cagle and his bunch. It’s a farce.

Peanut Farmer

September 24th, 2012
5:46 pm

Let’s lay this out pretty simple:

The Caucus provided the exact expenditure amounts and number of fliers that went out – yet claims this was a true Independent Expenditure?

If you believe what Chip Rogers, Bill Cowsert and Tommie Williams are selling you (not from a 900 number this time) then I have a some “Sure Fire Football Picks” for you.

Tie Your Shoes

September 24th, 2012
5:59 pm

So Cagle says you don’t have to cheat to win?

oppo

September 24th, 2012
6:05 pm

i’m beginning to think that three or four different aliases on here are just david shafer on his blackberry in starbucks.

honested

September 24th, 2012
6:10 pm

Did casey have a stroke or something?

The idea of him feigning a twinge of ethics is hilarious!

honested

September 24th, 2012
6:11 pm

Tie Your Shoes,

That would certainly signal a change, wouldn’t it.

sheepdawg

September 24th, 2012
6:19 pm

the day will come when this sad state will break free of an ignorant electorate, and the whole lot of the gop crooks and liers will go away. newt has room on the moon next to his new ranch

Reality Check

September 24th, 2012
6:40 pm

Bluefin – that is laughable. Do you work for Cagle? Just in the last year Cagle has backed 2 known democrats that ran as R’s against incumbent Senators. That’s clearly about power.

I believe Cagle was 0 for 4 in the primary season.

Cagle backed Doss a known democrat and was Roy Barnes county Campaign Chair

Cagle backed Bill Corrupt and lost

Cagle backed Brandon Beach and lost

Cagle backed Spencer Price and lost

All were against incumbent Senators that thinks the senate should govern itself.

We need strong party leaders like Kemp and Olens not power hungry politicians that will do anything regardless of principles to prop themselves up.

Shameful!

Kris

September 24th, 2012
6:54 pm

Dang a repuke in Georgia with a shred of ETHICS and does not want to cheat…Get enrolled Davis to investigate the cheating scam at the gold dome. Ok who put 3 scoops of ETHICS in the gold domes dummy’s coffee?

Happy Birthday Clifford the big red dog.

Re-Elect President OBAMA

yellowdog

September 24th, 2012
7:08 pm

and chip rogers is not into power? of course casey doesnt want to align himself with these steamrollers who stripped him of his power two years ago…….would u? a “real” republican? i dont remember how long ago it was there were such animals. aargh; more of the same

Kris

September 24th, 2012
7:40 pm

@ yellowdog, as I recall he was (probably shackled and taken to Macon) where he was put behind closed locked doors typical (crooked deal). That’s where the door mouse got more powers than he has…Wonder if he is contemplating becoming a Democrat?

One Who Knows....

September 24th, 2012
8:30 pm

Casey is calling ‘em out!!

Jim, will you give us a head count on who attends this Trust event?

Newspaper Reader

September 24th, 2012
9:06 pm

What do you expect when the caucus chair is a shady DUI lawyer in Athens.

Kris

September 24th, 2012
9:10 pm

I small a rat, is there something happening or about to happen another GOP pet has turned his back on the crooks “Do you want Barack Obama to be re-elected?” ryan asked. “Then don’t vote for Ron Paul” Dissent in the ranks?

We had better watch the charlatan from the planet Kolob.

Jim please do give us a list of attendees for the trust.

Reelect President OBAMA

Grassroots

September 24th, 2012
9:33 pm

Casey didn’t mind taking the trust money for years. Maybe he should consider giving it back.

Casey knows his time is gone. He had his chance but EJ had the pictures and the real story to give Casey back problems and keep him from the big house paces ferry.

The only thing Casey will ever achieve is his own destruction

Debbie Dooley

September 24th, 2012
9:40 pm

What this committee did in the GOP Primary was to protect incumbents no matter how un-ethical they were and it was not about protecting the GOP Majority. It is a matter of ethics and that is what matters-not who sides with who in the Senate power struggle. This hurt tea party candidates and directly impacted Senate races that were razor thin. IE:Jack Murphy, Cecil Staton

I amazed that some of you just care how it would impact the Senate power struggle and not about the ethical side to it.

What happened in the primary needs to be further looked at.

honested

September 24th, 2012
10:55 pm

Well, if casey ‘hurt the teaparty candidates’ then we agree on at least one point.

Bubba

September 25th, 2012
1:33 am

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Georgia has long been a three party state. For many years the three parties were the Democrats who were in, the Democrats who were out, and a couple of Republicans in the phone booth. Now the three parties are the Republicans who are in, the Republicans who are out, and a couple of Democrats in the phone booth. The intramural battles between factions within the ruling party are as nasty as the struggles between R’s and D’s in Washington.

Debbie Dooley

September 25th, 2012
7:38 am

At least there is one honest person in the Republican Caucus…..

Don Abernethy

September 25th, 2012
7:41 am

I will not skip from trying to vote out all incumbents.

[...] guess we’ll file this one under “Ethics” too. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle says Republicans don’t have to cheat to win in November. Members of the state Senate Republican Caucus and some of their very best friends will spend two [...]

HolyBoldness

September 25th, 2012
7:48 am

Come on Ms. Dooley. There is more than one honest person among Republicans in the Senate. You’re simply helping the Democrats and the liberal media when you say such stupid things and you also discredit the organization you say you lead.

Congrats to Cagle. At least he understands the insanity of an organization raising more money when it is currently under scrutiny. Who would write them a check right now anyway? Republicans will get this sorted out. They have to do so, because the alternative–Washington like liberal thinking Democrats–will not be the answer in Georgia. Why don’t you take your group up to Barnsly and protest and see who are a part of the problem. You’ll find a lot of honest Republicans will not be there.

Inman Parker

September 25th, 2012
8:03 am

Georgia is and will always be a one party state. The grafters have just changed their party affiliation to suit the tenor of the times. Crooks is crooks.

honested

September 25th, 2012
8:06 am

holyboldness,

What ‘organization’ is that?
Would it be the one that recruits candidates with no concept of governance but able to draw the most confused and ignorant to the polls?

Are you really under some delusion that those people have even the basic necessities for public service between their ears? The last two years certainly don’t support the notion.

honested

September 25th, 2012
8:07 am

By the way, what happened to Ms. Dooleys rout of don balfour?
Just more misplaced hot air?

Bob Loblaw

September 25th, 2012
9:36 am

@ honested: her rout of Balfour is in the same place as her promise to sue on the Constitutionality of T-SPLOST once it passed. Toss it into the rant and rave bin where the rest of her promises go.

Bobby Turner

September 25th, 2012
9:51 am

Just a bunch of NUTS playing with each other .

SBinF

September 25th, 2012
10:07 am

We do not have to cheat to win in November.
———————————————

Well, I agree with him there. There are more than enough moronic rubes in the backwoods ‘kuntry’ to ensure GOP dominance in this state for a good while.

East Cobb RINO, Inc. (LLC)

September 25th, 2012
10:40 am

Cagle is wise to run in the opposite direction of anything that involves Chip Rogers.

Taipei Personality

September 25th, 2012
11:38 am

I hope Dick Cheney wasn’t invited to this!

Lynn43

September 25th, 2012
11:43 am

If something has Chip Rogers’ name on it, take a big whiff. You will detect a foul odor.

Jon Lester

September 25th, 2012
12:12 pm

My question is, will there be drinks available before people start handling shotguns?

honested

September 25th, 2012
12:24 pm

And, will cheney be flown in to ensure safe usage of the shotguns?

Puerile Pedant

September 25th, 2012
12:46 pm

Well, Casey is right, the GOP does not have to cheat to win in Georgia; the Georgia Democratic Party is moribund and with the exception of a few neighborhoods inside 285 cannot win a race for official pooper scooper. The ethics issue is the real concern, but the vast majority of Georgia voters have shown time and again they do not care a fig about that so….its Good Old Boy Business as Usual…..

Darwin

September 25th, 2012
12:55 pm

And Georgia voters are the most ignorant.

Kris

September 25th, 2012
1:06 pm

If cheney and professor newt show up there will be drinks, hookers and shotguns. What a party of cheating loser’s.

Re-Elect President OBAMA

[...] As reported by the AJC’s Jim Galloway, Cagle informed Senate Republicans via letter that the trust has been tainted, and that his attendance would “wrongly legitimize conduct and decisions which are wholly unacceptable.”  Perhaps Cagle’s money quote, however is “We do not have to cheat to win in November.” [...]

CobbGOPer

September 25th, 2012
1:17 pm

Senator McKoon continues to demonstrate good sense and ethical behavior by having nothing to do with this slush-fund.

CobbGOPer

September 25th, 2012
1:21 pm

@HolyBoldness: “You’re simply helping the Democrats and the liberal media when you say such stupid things…”

Is that you, Speaker Ralston?

hamiltonAZ

September 25th, 2012
1:29 pm

The real reality check: That Cagle is not participating because he’s uncomfortable with the legality of the caucus political activity is the essence of being conservative. To suggest otherwise is ill considered. May I suggest the following: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/what-is-a-conservative/
Rather than hope for opposition in Cagle’s next race, perhaps we should hope the AG takes time off from shilling for the national ticket and investigates this issue, since it’s clear the state ethics board has been rendered irrelevant by the very people who need investigating.

Our Less Fortunate Friends

September 25th, 2012
2:36 pm

The state GOP seems like a mickey mouse fan club. No wonder they had to ignore the Ron Paul folks. They’re motivated and they know parliamentary procedure, yet strangely couldn’t seem to go to court on the issue of blatant abuse…

So…a talking dog…but still all bark and no bite.

Question

September 25th, 2012
5:51 pm

Will the people throwing the clay pigeons be liberals? Maybe Cheney would sign up and work his magic with a shotgun.