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]

Scorched earth in Senate race: Kingston proclaims ‘stranger danger,’ Perdue names earmark names

  • 3:36 pm Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We are entering the scorched-earth period of the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate – perhaps in honor of the 150th anniversary of this modern style of warfare.

Jack Kingston is celebrating by grabbing every endorsement in sight, starving rival David Perdue of support.  Today it’s state Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, recently ousted from the 11th District congressional congress. Like his predecessors,U.S. Reps. Tom Price of Roswell and Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County are safe GOP districts. But so far as we know, Georgia’s Republican incumbent has a Democratic opponent in November, and may not appreciate someone hanging out an inconvenient bit [More]

A top GOP lawmaker picks a side in state school superintendent race

  • 10:25 am Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Because the GOP runoff for state school superintendent has boiled down to a pro-con debate over Common Core, top figures in the Republican camp have been hesitant to take sides.

That may be changing. Mike Buck, the frontrunner in the May 20 primary and chief of staff to exiting Superintendent John Barge, on Tuesday released a list of endorsements.

Topping it was Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee and a key ally of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

No other state lawmakers or office-holders were listed. Buck, a resident of Rome, is backing the continued implementation [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]

A glimpse of the man who blew the whistle on Jack Kingston’s cash

  • 9:54 am Monday, June 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

As the weekend began, Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News gave you a first glimpse of Robert Miller, the marketing consultant who blew the whistle on more than $80,000 in campaign contributions to Jack Kingston, the frontrunner in the GOP runoff for U.S. Senate.

Miller has alleged, to the AJC and the FBI, that Khalid Satary, a Palestinian expat whom the feds are attempting to deport, allegedly arranged bonuses for employees of two companies so that most of the cash could be given to Kingston last November and December.

Kingston has returned the money. Now what’s at issue is when the [More]

A Southern rift revealed by House leadership scramble

  • 9:00 am Saturday, June 14th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Perhaps it is the humidity, or maybe the surplus of people eager to serve as undertakers, but bodies tend to be buried quickly up in Washington.

Republican members of the U.S. House on Thursday are scheduled to elect a new majority leader to replace Eric Cantor, the Virginia congressman who only five days ago was soundly defeated by a little-known college professor with a tea party resume.

The House election is somewhat fixed. With the early vote, an advantage has been given to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, a member of Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team, whom Cantor has endorsed as [More]

Jack Kingston: No ‘discussion of a felon’ during May meeting on campaign cash

  • 9:19 am Friday, June 13th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Jack Kingston, frontrunner in the GOP runoff for U.S. Senate, this morning said that a May 1 meeting with an attorney, who claims he informed the Kingston campaign that foreign national with a criminal past had illegally bundled $80,000 for his Senate bid, never included “any discussion of a felon.”

The Savannah congressman made the remarks in an interview this morning with Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant on WGAU (1340AM) in Athens. Afterwards, Kingston made similar remarks in another radio interview on 106.7FM.

Kingston was responding to this morning’s AJC article by Chris Joyner. Here’s the top:

An Atlanta attorney claims he [More]

Lynn Westmoreland endorses Jack Kingston as delegation circles wagons

  • 3:10 pm Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON – Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is the first non-candidate in Georgia’s Republican House delegation to weigh in on the Senate primary with an endorsement of Rep. Jack Kingston today.

Expect the “G-9,” as they are known, to quickly rally around one of their own. All had been neutral in the primary out of respect for Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, though the wives of Reps. Austin Scott and Tom Price had endorsed Karen Handel.

Here’s what Westmoreland and Kingston had to say via press release:

“Jack Kingston and I have been friends for 20 years, during which I’ve had the pleasure of getting [More]

John Stone throws rock, hits glass house of bankruptcies

  • 11:36 am Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

John Stone, a Republican candidate for Congress, is aching to take on U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. He has little cash, but enough imagination to portray three of his GOP opponents There is every reason to believe that the above statement is true. But what Stone fails to mention is his own glass house. He’s visited federal bankruptcy court not once, but twice. Stone freely admitted having those financial blemishes on Monday:

“I do. Far in my past. Back in 2000, which is the whole point. We’ve got current members of our U.S. House who have bankruptcies in their past. [More]

One version of gun bill would let felons claim ‘stand your ground’ status

  • 10:36 am Monday, March 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Over the weekend, a New York Times editorial decried the continuing influence of the gun lobby in state capitols. In particular, the newspaper’s editors seized on HB 875,

Their focus is on the “or 3″ that has been deleted above. The measure as written, in other words, would eliminate exceptions – adding to those who would be immune from prosecution in cases of self-defense. What/who does the deleted Part 3 apply to? Convicted felons, for one thing. Those who bring weapons onto nuclear facility gounds for another.

The above language is missing from the current version of HB 875. The question is [More]