Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

Sam Olens on the hot seat over Holly LaBerge memo

  • 9:55 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Looks like fallout from an ethics probe that, years later, has yet to touch bottom will be the theme of the day.

Late Tuesday, Attorney General Sam Olens issued Said Olens:

“Our civil lawyers determined it was not responsive to the discovery request in the civil litigation.”

In other words, the whistleblowers’ attorneys didn’t ask the right question that might have prompted the memo’s release. However, Olens said he did advise LaBerge to turn it over when the feds asked for relevant documents.

Not everyone is buying into the attorney general’s distinction. “If you gave it to the FBI, why wouldn’t you give it [More]

Super PAC ads tout John Barrow and 2 unopposed Dems

  • 3:00 pm Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON – Patriot Majority, a Washington-based Democrat-aligned Super PAC, has bought television ads in Savannah, Augusta and Atlanta to boost the fortunes of Georgia Democrats — but not the ones atop the ticket.

The ad below is airing in Atlanta, with at least $117,000 behind it on broadcast, to celebrate Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson of Lithonia and David Scott of Atlanta and their proclaimed work on behalf of the middle class. But neither Scott nor Johnson has a Republican opponent this fall in their safe districts.

In Savannah and Augusta, Patriot Majority is weighing in with at [More]

U.S. House uses a mild threat to boost Savannah Port

  • 6:00 am Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

SAVANNAH – Congress has given its stamp of approval to the $706 million Port of Savannah expansion project, and the final step before a groundbreaking is a project partnership agreement between the Georgia Ports Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The port’s backers are hoping this happens soon, and they inserted language into a U.S. House spending bill — which passed Thursday night — saying that if the PPA is not signed by Oct. 1, the Army Corps will have to report back to Congress once a week on the status of the negotiation and why is has not [More]

Documents: Barry Loudermilk involved in $80k racial discrimination settlement

  • 10:06 am Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Runoffs are the trench warfare of campaigning – dirty, messy and often hand-to-hand affairs.

This morning, Todd Rehm of GaPundit.com Rehm, a consultant for the Barr campaign, said the documents arrived by email, and that he does not know their source.

The AJC’s Jeremy Redmon has inquired with Melvin Everson, executive director of the state Commission on Equal Opportunity, who notes that the documents don’t appear to be stamped an notarized.

But Ed Buckley, an attorney in the law firm that represented Ethel Blackmon, told Redmon that the paperwork is indeed authentic.

One document details the complaint of Ethel Blackmon. The [More]

Brian Kemp tries to tamp down envy for Mississippi’s three-week runoff

  • 10:07 am Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Recognizing some state Capitol unhappiness with this year’s new election calendar, which cut short the annual legislative session and rewarded Republicans candidates for U.S. Senate and others with an expensive, nine-week runoff, Secretary of State Brian Kemp may be trying to head off some rash fixes.

In a letter dispatched last Friday to the governor, lieutenant governor, and leaders of the House and Senate, Kemp said he was aware that “many potential solutions” are being discussed by state lawmakers and others.

Some, Kemp said, have pointed to Mississippi, where U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran will face GOP challenger Chris McDaniel in a runoff [More]

Local angst over Georgia’s new concealed-carry law bubbles up

  • 10:34 am Thursday, June 5th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

 A city hall is a city hall is a city hall. Unless it’s also a courthouse, in which case it becomes exempt from HB 60, Georgia’s new concealed-carry law — which goes into effect on July 1. …The name change is significant. Under the new law, guns are prohibited in courthouses with security checkpoints. But other government buildings like city halls are not afforded the same protection.

The Norcross City Hall and Municipal Courthouse are housed in the same building. Although there are separate entrances for each and only a security checkpoint outside municipal court.

“They are undermining the intent of the [More]

David Scott interprets John Lewis’ silence on judicial nominee as ‘betrayal’

  • 9:32 am Monday, May 19th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy

U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ unspoken position on federal judicial nominee Michael Boggs, who now sits on the state Court of Appeals, is drawing him into an intra-delegation battle with fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. David Scott, who on Sunday called Lewis a “turncoat.”

Several U.S. senators have said they would consult Lewis before determining how they would vote on Boggs’ nomination. On Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she spoke to Lewis about Boggs. Her comments, “Well, not at this stage,” Feinstein said, before expanding on her answer.

 “I want to meet with him. I [More]

About John Barrow’s bill to require Congress to fly coach

  • 5:24 pm Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Yes, it’s an election-year gimmick. And no, it has no chance of passing.

Still, it may be the best, and most shameless, name for a bill since – well, since ever: “If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act” (H.R. 4632).

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, who may not know the identity of his GOP opposition until July, is one of the four authors. (Two are Republicans.)

Writes Barrow about the IOMHTFCTSSCA:

“It’s not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending — we should set a good example. And not spending other people’s money on first class [More]

April fundraising reports roundup for U.S. Senate, Congress

  • 4:25 pm Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

Pre-primary fundraising reports, covering the month of April, are due today for federal candidates. Here’s a roundup that we will update as reports come in:

U.S. Senate


Businessman David Perdue put another $1 million behind his candidacy — increasing his personal contribution to the race to more than $2.6 million. In April Perdue brought in another $219,267 in donations and finished with $467,275 cash on hand.

Rep. Paul Broun — $142,580 raised, $192,039 spent, $180,843 on hand as of April 30. He picked up the fundraising pace from the first quarter, but still only had enough money for a token television buy.

Former Secretary [More]

Speaking ill of the dead in Ellijay, and other topics

  • 10:25 am Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein

Things are being said up in north Georgia that can’t be unsaid.

On Sunday, a group of GOP insurgents gathered at Oscar Poole’s barbecue emporium in Ellijay and fired themselves up with some standard and non-so-standard rhetoric.

David Pennington, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, was there. So was Sam Snider, the local wrestling coach who is trying to pin House Speaker David Ralston. And real estate executive Ray Boyd, who is lending his name and money to both. So, too, was Debbie Dooley of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.

An audio recording of the entire event made its way to us – [More]