Political Insider blog 

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

A bitter feud over ethics — and other hard-of-hearing stories from Perry

  • 10:14 am Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Perry, Ga. — In between the boos and cheers at last night’s wrasslin’ — er, gubernatorial — match, there was a particularly brutal exchange between Gov. Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter over the ethics complaints dogging his first term.

It started when Deal was asked why voters should trust him to overhaul the ethics commission.

“The ethics complaints that were filed against me were heard by the five commissioners and they were dismissed as having no merit,” said Deal, who talked about his proposal to expand and remake the agency.

Then Carter jumped in:

Carter: “I find it almost amazing to say that [More]

Michelle Nunn takes baby steps away from White House on foreign policy

  • 10:09 am Friday, September 5th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

If you listened closely to Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn’s comments Thursday, you might have heard an attempt to distance herself — ever so slightly — from President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Nunn called Obama’s And then she came close to siding with some legislative leaders pushing for more Congressional oversight of the nation’s growing role in the conflict.

“The president has to work closely with Congress. Especially at this moment in time, it’s incumbent for the president and Congress to come up with a unified strategy.”

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Her father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, aimed stronger words of his own toward Obama on the role of [More]

Judge levies $20,000 fine for hiding evidence — here’s your copy of order

  • 3:18 pm Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has the details here, but here’s his lede:

A Fulton County Superior Court judge on Wednesday sanctioned the Attorney General’s Office and state ethics commission director Holly LaBerge and ordered each to pay $10,000 in fines for failing to turn over key documents in a whistleblower lawsuit involving the commission and Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, the AJC has learned.

And here is your copy of the nine-page order from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville:

Watchdog group demands investigation of Nathan Deal’s top aides

  • 6:00 pm Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

A watchdog group demanded an internal investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aides, claiming that a recently revealed memo drafted by the ethics chief was proof that she was coerced into creating a “politically favorable outcome” for the governor.

Sabrina Smith of Georgia Watchdogs filed the complaint with the Office of the Inspector General claiming that executive counsel Ryan Teague and chief-of-staff Chris Riley, who has now joined the campaign, violated state law prohibiting government employees from coercing co-workers for political gain. You can find your copy here.

The complaint centers on the bombshell memo revealed in July written by ethics chief Holly LaBerge. She [More]

Republicans begin $2.5 million TV assault on Michelle Nunn

  • 10:23 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

We told you earlier this morning about Democrat Michelle Nunn’sNunn is trying to get in front of – or at least mitigate – a $2.5 million air assault by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that also starts today.

A first TV spot in the GOP attack offers a mirror-image message: “She’ll be Obama’s senator, not yours.”

That’s it above.

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By now, most of you political junkies have read of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s split with President Barack Obama on foreign policy. From the Washington Post:

In the spring, President Obama articulated a philosophy for avoiding dangerous entanglements overseas that was [More]

Nathan Deal aide’s strange method of blowing off ethics-related steam

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 24th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief spokesman, Brian Robinson, is known for his use of, er, colorful language when confronting critics of his boss. Now we also know he may need a few extra pillows in his first-floor Capitol office.

In an April 9 email to other Deal aides, Robinson sent a link to an Insider post detailing ethics chief Holly LaBerge’s critique of the governor’s ethics overhaul. Below the link were these words:

“She told the AJC that she doesn’t like the governor’s proposal because the commission would be too big and would outnumber the employees. I’m stuffing a pillow in my [More]

Deal defends staff’s contact with ethics chief, comparing her to ‘prosecutor’

  • 4:56 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal issued the liveliest defense yet to the bombshell ethics memo rocking his campaign for re-election.

The remarks came in an interview with Erick Erickson, a conservative talk show host on WSB Radio, as he faces mounting pressure to explain why his aides contacted the commission’s chair, Holly LaBerge, days before a key hearing. In the interview, he compared LaBerge to a prosecutor and the commission’s five members to judges.

It was a friendly interview in a friendly venue. Said Deal:

“There was no communication from me and my staff to the commission members. Holly LaBerge is sort of like a [More]

Second-guessing Sam Olens on the Holly LaBerge memo

  • 11:19 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

 

On today’s ethics front, we have boatloads of radio-delivered news.

Gov. Nathan Deal continues his pushback on the Holly LaBerge fallout this afternoon. Erick Erickson, the conservative provocateur for WSB Radio (750AM, 95.5FM) has sent out the following Tweet:

Starting my radio show at 4 PM today with an exclusive interview with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Over at WABE (90.1FM), Jonathan Shapiro hooked up with designated legal expert Page Pate, who outlined what he thought Attorney General Sam Olens ought to have done with a 2012 memo written by Holly LaBerge, executive secretary for the state ethics commission, alleging that aides to the governor [More]

Holly LaBerge’s memo and the queasy politics of ethics

  • 5:47 pm Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is a quasi-judicial agency – with a heavy emphasis on the “quasi,” as this week’s developments have shown.

To the point of queasiness.

Once upon a time, we had a State Ethics Commission to keep track of how money shapes Georgia politics. But four years ago, the word “ethics” was disappeared by an act of the Legislature and the signature of an exiting Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The renaming of the agency wasn’t accidental. It was cultural.

And it lies at the root of the sudden problem for Gov. Nathan Deal, posed by a 2012 memo that [More]

Ethics commission rejects complaint targeting Better Georgia

  • 3:07 pm Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The wheels of Georgia’s ethics commission grind on, even amid the fallout of its director’s bombshell accusations.  You need proof?

The panel rejected a complaint filed by Cade Joiner of Macon, a GOP activist with a hefty political resume. Like another complaint filed days earlier, it accuses the left-of-center Better Georgia group of failing to abide by the restrictions of its federal tax category.

You can read the copy of the commission’s decision here, but the gist is that the panel found there were no documents supporting the allegation of a violation.

There’s no word on a resolution of the other complaint, which [More]