David Ralston and a Georgia lobbyist make a Washington 'naughty' list

Grover Norquist, president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform. AJC file

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Grover Norquist, president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform. AJC file

Anti-tax guru Grover Norquist and his Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday got into the Christmas spirit by releasing a naughty-and-nice list.

On the naughty side, the first few slots were predictable: President Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and the Internal Revenue service.

ExploreBut right below those Washington power centers were these two:

Atlanta Braves Lobbyist John S. "Trip" Martin III and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, for trying to silence critics of their state gas tax increase with threats and intimidation.

Norquist and his group opposed last session’s increase in the gas tax, which advocates said was desperately needed to shore up the state’s roads and bridges.

Martin responded with a complaint filed with what was once the state ethics commission, demanding that Norquist and his ATR representatives pay the required $30 to register as lobbyists. “It’s not a disease,” Martin said at the time.

The ethics commission has yet to take up the matter.

As for Ralston, the speaker passed along this response through our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin: "Being called naughty by an unregistered lobbyist who lives and works in Washington D.C. is like being called ugly by a possum."

Norquist replied to the quip on Twitter:


Deane Bonner, president of the Cobb County NAACP, has undeclared her "war" against the county commission. Tempers got out of hand last week during a public meeting over police behavior toward minorities. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

"During this season of goodwill, I wanted to acknowledge my regret for using the word 'war' in a moment of speaking without thinking. We are not at war with anyone," Bonner said in the Wednesday release.

Ah, Christmas.


The Secretary of State's office said more than 9,000 Georgia voters have so far signed up for the credit protection after the accidental disclosure of confidential information belonging to more than 6 million voters.


Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert has vetoed a move that would give county commissioners a say in the firing of department heads. From the Telegraph newspaper:

In a letter sent to commissioners Wednesday, Reichert said changing the charter would be detrimental to the progress made by the consolidated government in its first two years.

Reichert's veto will probably be on the Jan. 5 agenda at the Macon-Bibb County Commission's meeting, where officials will have a chance to uphold or override it. The commission needs six votes to override the veto. Last week, commissioners approved the resolution 7-2.


The U.S. government is planning raids to deport the mostly Central American migrants who illegally surged across the Mexican border last year. From the Washington Post:

The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have already been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge, according to officials familiar with the undertaking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because planning is ongoing and the operation has not been given final approval by DHS. The adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported. The number targeted is expected to be in the hundreds and possibly greater.

This has presidential race implications, as activist groups could call on the Democratic candidates to denounce the actions.

Don't expect the Republican side to give the Obama administration a pat on the back, either. From the story:

"I'll believe it when I see it," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. "What share is this going to be?. . . It's a drop in the bucket compared to the number they've admitted into the country. If you have photogenic raids on a few dozen illegal families and that's the end of it, it's just for show. It's just a [public relations] thing, enforcement theater."


As the main stage for the next Republican debate is expected to shrink, Rand Paul has decided it's primetime or bust. From Politico:

Paul talked up his campaign, touting the size of his operation in Iowa and the millions of dollars he's raised. "Doesn't mean I'm gonna win, but I think without question we have a first-tier campaign and we just can't accept the designation of being artificially told that we don't have a chance with three weeks to go," he said, alleging that downgrading a candidate to a secondary debate at this point would "destroy the campaign." "So we won't stand for it and we will protest any such designation."


Those braving crowded highways today might not feel like it, but the New York Times informs us that half of Americans live 18 miles or less from mom:

To some extent, people's proximity to their parents is a reflection of opportunity: The biggest determinants of how far people venture from home are education and income. Those with college and professional degrees are much more likely to live farther from their parents than those with a high school education, in part because they have more job opportunities in big cities, and especially if spouses are juggling the career aspirations of two professionals.