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]

Phil Gingrey: Border kids could spark epidemics in U.S.

  • 1:49 pm Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

In a letter to Thomas Frieden, director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, expressed his fear this week that the undocumented children the U.S. is absorbing at its border could trigger an epidemic.

Now, he doesn’t actually use the word “epidemic.” He just speaks of diseases that “spread too rapidly to control.” Which we think meets the definition.

Read the letter in its entirety here. The gist:

As a physician for over 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose. In fact, infection diseases remain in the top 10 causes of death [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 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]

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]

Tom Price bows out of Southern fight for House GOP leadership

  • 10:35 am Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Take a look at the current, soon-to-be juggled GOP leadership of the U.S. House: Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.

None hail from the modern Republican foundation that is the Deep South. Which is why Pete Sessions of Texas has emerged as a rival to McCarthy in the quick contest to replace Cantor, who was defeated in Tuesday’s primary.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, bowed out this morning. A statement just released by his office:

“The encouragement I’ve received from colleagues over these past couple of days has been humbling…. [A]t [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]

Quick, who won Cobb County in the 11th District primary? It wasn’t Bob Barr

  • 4:08 pm Monday, June 2nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The day after last month’s primary, Republicans Barry Loudermilk and Bob Barr were announced as the two surviving runoff candidates in the race for the 11th District seat of U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey.

Loudermilk, a Bartow County resident,  turned in a strong, 37 percent performance compared to 26 percent for Barr, a resident of Smyrna.

As reported the next day by both the AJC and the Marietta Daily Journal, the one statistical bit of good news  for Barr was that he was able to hang on to his home county of Cobb. By 6,641 votes for the former congressman to 6,621 for [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]

Senate race: It will be a David Perdue-Jack Kingston runoff

  • 8:23 pm Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy

His runoff foe was not yet known, but David Perdue already had an epithet for him or her.

“You know one thing we did do tonight,” Perdue told his cheering supporters in Buckhead. “We retired three career politicians. And we’ve got one more to go.”

It will be Rep. Jack Kingston, the 11-term Congressman who had buckets full of money and establishment support to overcome a regional disadvantage and the baggage of his lengthy political career.

“I think it’s going to be a tough race,” Kingston said. “He’s a guy that has very deep pockets and he’s put in $3 million to $4 [More]