Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns
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The #KTB: Kasim Reed’s Twitter-based time-out for reporters

  • 11:54 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Updated at 6:30 p.m. below:

A report from the AJC’s Katie Leslie:

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t shy about his opinions, especially when it comes to journalists.

The mayor is known to take reporters and columnists to task on Twitter when he disagrees with their work or how he’s portrayed.

If he’s particularly upset, he’ll deploy his press team to take on a story with a press release and social media campaign. (Case in point? This city-issued statement from last fall about AJC opinion writer Kyle Wingfield’s columns on street vendors.)

And if he’s downright angry, he’ll go a step further and put [More]

Jack Kingston noncommittal on impeachment of Obama

  • 9:49 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Dear readers, the following post is from our AJC colleague Nick Fouriezos:

After national pundits wondered whether U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston would support attempts to impeach President Barack Obama, the Savannah Republican gave us an answer that can only be described as “maybe.”

Kingston is in a GOP Senate runoff with businessman David Perdue, who has already said he doesn’t support impeachment and believes retaking the Senate should be the priority. The vote is Tuesday, which explains why Kingston was at Tommy’s Barber Shop early Friday getting in a final flurry of handshakes.

“I think, number one, the big concern of Congress [More]

First poll since ethics case revival gives Jason Carter edge over Nathan Deal

  • 7:00 am Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Our corporate cousins over at WSB-TV released a poll that gives Democrat Jason Carter the edge over Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Poll crosstabs give Deal a nine-point advantage with male voters, but find women support Carter by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Carter also has the edge among black voters and those under 40. Interestingly, independents – who tend to lean to the right – are split between the two.

There’s a high possibility that Carter is benefiting from a media bubble, given the timing of the survey. But we’re sure he’ll take it.


An InsiderAdvantage survey conducted for Morris News Service, WAGA-TV in [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]

Notes from a mailbox in west Cobb County

  • 4:15 pm Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

If there’s anyone who hates the last days before a hot election more than a homeowner on a campaign mailing list, it’s the U.S. Postal Service employee stuck with cramming them into mailbox after mailbox.

Below is a culled collection of yesterday’s delivery, minus the American Express bill and the free oil change coupon.

You’ll notice we have a hot district county commission race in west Cobb — Acworth City Councilman Bob Weatherford versus former Cobb commission chairman Bill Byrne. It’s become yet another Republican establishment versus tea party affair, and may be one reason why Bob Barr, in his 11th District [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]

The ‘scheduling problem’ that led Nathan Deal’s aides to contact ethics chief

  • 6:00 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

The now-famous memo penned by former ethics head Holly LaBerge’s offers an idea of what Gov. Nathan Deal’s aides said to her ahead of a major hearing. But a lingering question is why  Chris Riley, the governor’s chief of staff, and Ryan Teague, his executive counsel, reached out instead of a campaign attorney.


Update: Deal’s flak, Brian Robinson, clarifies that the signature wasn’t specifically required for the check, but for a consent agreement on the fees. The check, he said, could come up to 30 days later. The above check, he said, is a cashier’s check from Deal’s account with his [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]

The day David Perdue walked out on the U.S. Chamber

  • 11:15 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Jefferson – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has dropped about $2.3 million on Rep. Jack Kingston in the Senate race, and the scuttlebutt in political circles has long held that one reason for the largess is the testy relationship between the business group and David Perdue.

In fact, you could say that the Republican race for the U.S. Senate was largely shaped on the day when Perdue arrived in Atlanta for his interview with the most powerful business group in the U.S.

The ex-Fortune 500 chief executive talked specifics about that meeting for the first time at a campaign stop in Jefferson [More]

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