Georgia Republicans target Better Georgia with second complaint

Georgia Republicans have apparently drawn a target on Better Georgia, the Democratically oriented guerrilla squad that has assigned itself the task of harassing Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

The second complaint in two weeks was lodged with the state ethics commission on Tuesday, this one filed by Cade Joiner of Macon, a GOP activist with a hefty political resume. Like the first, it accuses Better Georgia of failure to abide by the restrictions of its federal tax category. (Hat tip to Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant.) From the complaint:

Given that both complaints ask a state agency to pass judgment on behavior under a tax status granted by the federal IRS, you have to assume that the efforts are primarily intended to put Better Georgia on the defensive as the general election contest between Democrat Jason Carter and Deal becomes more heated.

Deal, while outraised by Carter this last quarter, has the well-funded Republican Governors Association and a Georgia GOP flush with cash to back him. Better Georgia is Carter's most active ally.

Bryan Long, the executive director of Better Georgia, was on WGAU (1340AM) with Zoller and Bryant on Tuesday -- before the second complaint surfaced. But what he had to say still applies:

Said Long:

"We have the exact same status as most of the tea party groups around the nation, including Georgia tea parties. We’re a 501(c)4. And like many of the tea party groups, we were reviewed by the IRS, and our review took over 500 days. We have a very specific legal status that allows us to spend up to 40 percent of our time talking about politics. Directly talking about politics….

"If Better Georgia loses this case, then all the tea party groups are going to have to register as independent committees in Georgia, too, and we’re going to have a whole new tax structure in Georgia. I don’t think that’s going to be the end result.

"My only concern is that our case will be vetted by Holly LaBerge, who is Governor Deal’s hand-picked ethics chief. She’s the one who came in to replace the fired ethics chief – the one who won a $1.1 million-dollar verdict. That’s who we have to face."


Gov. Nathan Deal's concerns with legislation that would legalize medical marijuana that could interfere with a pair of state-sanctioned studies of the drug has upset some of the push's most prominent supporters.

We told you yesterday that state Rep. Allen Peake, the Macon Republican championing the legislation, hoped to work with Deal to hash out a compromise. And today we heard from the family of Alaina Cloud, who suffers from the debilitating seizures that the drug could help alleviate.

Blaine Cloud, Alaina's father, stood behind the governor in April when he announced the two studies. He was disappointed by Deal's remarks on Monday, and sent a letter to the governor outlining his case. Here's a snippet:

"What we always have to remind people of, especially politicians, is that there are sick and dying children and adults behind our efforts.  The day before yesterday we were at the pool with our daughter Alaina (who has actually learned how to swim against all odds), and she had a seizure in the pool.  I pulled her face-down body out of the water and prayed that she didn’t suck any water into her lungs.  Luckily I got to her before that happened, but for all of our children, the next seizure could be the last one.  Please look past the incorrect perceptions and fear, and look instead at the facts and doctors’ opinions. We desperately need this medicine – and it’s not going to hurt a single person if we get it done the right way."

David Perdue is circumnavigating the state for the next 11 days in his campaign RV, beginning and ending at his campaign HQ in Buckhead. Check out all 49 stops here to see if he's coming to your neighborhood.

But if you can't catch him in the flesh, you can find Perdue once again on your TV airwaves with this new ad.

The attacks on Perdue's runoff foe Jack Kingston includes this one: "Kingston sponsored thousands of wasteful earmarks."

Thousands? Earmark sponsors were only made public from Fiscal 2008 to 2010, when the ban on congressionally directed spending went into effect. In that span, Kingston sponsored 145 earmarks.


We're just finding out that Gov. Nathan Deal took a particularly personal interest in the botched drug raid in Habersham County that left a child on life support.

The governor met in his office with Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman shortly after the raid. We’re told Deal told the prosecutor he would make state resources available if needed.


Bloomberg News crunched the numbers and found that Perdue is the second-richest U.S. Senate candidate this year:

The law requires only broad ranges for valuation, making it impossible to determine exact figures. To rank Senate candidates, Bloomberg used the same methodology employed by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics, for members of Congress.

That method uses the midpoint of the range of net worth reported. Under that measure, Perdue and [Kentucky Sen. Mitch] McConnell each has more than $30 million in wealth, tens of millions more than their opponents in Georgia and Kentucky. No. 1 on the Bloomberg list is Republican Terri Lynn Land of Michigan.

When ranked by their net-worth midpoint, Land comes out at $32.8 million. Perdue follows at $31.7 million, and McConnell is third at $30.4 million.

But if he joins the world's most exclusive club, Perdue would still rank behind Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., according to a CQ tally. Interesting partisan breakdown, there.


Our AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon was in Acworth last night for an 11th Congressional District GOP runoff debate between Bob Barr and Barry Loudermilk.

The key topics of contention, he reports, were Barr's since-recanted letter in support of Attorney General Eric Holder and a video Loudermilk made for the state called "It's my Constitution." Here's the exchange on the latter:

“Are you willing now to come forward tonight — with a degree of transparency that you seem to hold very high when you talk about these issues — and tell the voters what you are hiding with regard to your lack of transparency on these and other issues involving abuse of taxpayer money,” Barr said on the stage at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw.

Loudermilk said he has never made any money on the film and that it was copyrighted to protect its content.

“Well, Bob, you even surprise me with those accusations because there is absolutely no truth to any of those and I think you know the truth regarding those,” Loudermilk said. “The state owns the video. It is free for everyone. You can go to YouTube and see it.”

Redmon's full piece is here.


Could we have a Thad Cochran redux in the 10th Congressional District GOP runoff? Tim Bryant at WGAU got a mailer from Democrats asking for votes for Mike Collins over Jody Hice. And Erick Erickson is furious.


Speaking of talk show radio hosts, the Augusta Chronicle reports that a local 16-year-old has been picked up for making a death threat against Austin Rhodes of WGAC:

Rhodes called authorities about 11 p.m. Sunday and said someone had threatened him through Facebook. Rhodes said that he recently had discussed a drive-by shooting in Augusta on his show and that it had sparked a conversation on his professional Facebook page, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.


State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, one of two Democrats left in the race for state school superintendent, is accusing rival Valarie Wilson of being on the wrong side of President Barack Obama -- given that one of Wilson's backers, the National Association of Educators, is crossways with the White House. From her letter:

I recently learned that the National Educators Association, one of our nation’s largest professional associations for public school teachers, adopted a resolution at their annual conference last week calling for the resignation of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. I am appalled by this action of the NEA in denouncing Secretary Duncan and the leadership of President Barack Obama, and am offended by this flagrant misrepresentation of the Obama administration’s commitment to public education….

As a Georgia Democrat, I find this level of cheap political attack disrespectful to our President and his Secretary of Education, and believe it is unbecoming of the people of Georgia.

Wilson, by the way, has attempted to file her three-month campaign report with the state ethics commission, but has been thwarted by technical difficulties. So you can peruse it here instead. She reports $161,927 raised this quarter, with $28,228 on hand. Clearly, this is a race that will be won with organization -- not cash.

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