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
Here’s the top:
An Atlanta attorney claims he informed Rep. Jack Kingston’s U.S. Senate campaign six weeks ago about potentially illegal contributions to his campaign and the criminal background of Khalid Satary, a Palestinian who allegedly orchestrated the fundraiser where the funds were collected.
Alex Kaufman said he and his client, a former business associate of Satary’s, told the campaign that money donated at the Dec. 6 fundraiser came from bundled checks from employees who were given “bonuses” and told to contribute to the congressman’s Senate campaign. Kaufman said he also told the campaign that he intended to take the information to the FBI.
Kaufman’s account of a face-to-face meeting with Kingston’s campaign attorney and an attorney for the Georgia Republican Party on May 1 contradicts what Kingston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview last week. In that interview, Kingston said he had no knowledge of Satary’s criminal past or that his campaign had received potentially illegal contributions.
From left, Khalid Satary, Jordan Satary, Jack Kingston, and Confirmatrix VP Richard Sasnett at a Dec. 6, 2013 fundraiser for Kingston at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton.
Two days after the interview, Kingston pledged to return $80,000 collected at the fundraiser. When asked about Kaufman’s assertions Thursday, Kingston’s campaign again denied any knowledge of Satary, or that his campaign was previously informed about potentially illegal campaign contributions.
Listen to the entire Zoller/Bryant interview here – in the latter half, Kingston also accuses GOP runoff rival David Perdue of Eric Cantor-like moderation. But here's what Kingston said about the AJC investigation:
"Do not know the man. Do not know him now. He did not donate to us. He's a foreign national. It would be illegal for him to donate. The Atlanta Constitution says we're not subject to any of their investigations from a legal standpoint.
"Our big concern was, did we do anything illegally, which we did not do. It's an election year – you have to consider some of these sources. We're just moving on, but again let me underscore – we did not have to return one nickel. Nor did we receive any money from a felon."
Bryant brought up the May 1 meeting at which the contributions were discussed, which not only included a Kingston campaign attorney, but Anne Lewis, legal counsel for the Georgia GOP.
“You’re saying your attorney did not relay that to you?” Bryant asked. Kingston replied:
"We went back and looked at all the notes. There was never any discussion of a felon or – you can say this guy is unsavory, but the guy they were referring to did not donate to our campaign. Nor, to my knowledge, was he involved in this. The people we dealt with were people who are listed on the invitation….
"Our folks are aware that, within the company, there had become an internal dispute. That meeting to which you're referring to was in May. We have been looking into that ever since then. But I did not know this guy Satary was involved in anything…."
A Magellan Stategies poll, commissioned by the National Mining Association, has Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, trailing an unnamed Republican, 47 to 44 percent.
The autodial poll was conducted June 5 and 8, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
The race might be a little tighter than the survey indicates. Under its methodology, there's this line: "This survey was weighted based upon past general election voting demographics."
You’ll see that the poll assumes an electorate that is 70 percent white and 25 percent black. In 2010, an off-year election that included a contest for governor, the turnout was 66 percent white and 28 percent black.
Since the May 20 GOP primary for U.S. Senate, businessman David Perdue has watched – in relative silence – as Savannah congressman Jack Kingston has consolidated his support with endorsement after endorsement.
But one group is stepping up for Perdue – at least on charges that he supported a tax increase in the form of a federal measure that would require Internet-based companies to pay the same sales taxes as brick-and-mortar institutions. From the press release:
"We hope that all the candidates in the Georgia Senate race will show their support for Georgia's retailers and condemn the false attacks by the SuperPAC.
Out-of-state, Internet-only businesses want you to believe Mainstreet Fairness is a tax increase, and that is just not true. It's about helping small businesses compete in a free and fair market," said Rick McAllister, president of the Georgia Retail Association.
"Big online retailers are putting Georgia retailers out of business by avoiding sales tax collection. The Mainstreet Fairness Act will level the playing field for Georgia retailers by requiring those out of state companies with no jobs in Georgia to play by the same rules," McAllister said.
The Internet sales tax bill has passed the U.S. Senate, and is now lodged in the House. GRA spokesman John Fleming emphasized that the above protest shouldn’t be construed as an endorsement of Perdue. The group is staying out of that contest.
As polls have shown Kingston with a solid lead the television ad war is about to resume. The pro-Perdue "Jobs and Progress Fund" has gone from funneling money into "Citizens for a Working America PAC" to producing its own ads, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. Both groups are tied to a South Carolina operative named Norman Cummings but the ultimate source of the money attacking Kingston is unknown so far and we have yet to see the ad for ourselves.
Gov. Nathan Deal told a middle Georgia crowd on Thursday that he would sign an executive order that would "ban the box," part of a nationwide trend to rid state employment applications of a question about felony convictions.
Dozens of cities and counties have already changed job applications to give released offenders a more even playing field when applying for jobs. Deal said the policy wouldn't apply to jobs that require security clearances or other sensitive gigs. His hope, he said, is to prod private businesses to follow suit.
" If we have companies that sign up, we'll have competition," he said. "They will want to be a part of something that works."
The restructuring of Georgia's troubled child protection agency brought a familiar response from Democrat Jason Carter's campaign, which often claims the problems Gov. Nathan Deal is trying to fix are of his own making.
Said Carter's campaign:
"It bothers me that it took Gov. Deal this long to act after so many kids and families have already fallen through the cracks. The politics here are irrelevant—our priority has to be protecting kids. It remains to be seen whether this administrative reshuffling of the deck will get us any closer to that goal."
U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland has been widely quoted during the current House leadership scramble as a conservative who wants someone from the South in a leadership post. But as Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., started to lock down the Majority Leader race on Thursday (Texan Pete Sessions, the only other announced candidate, dropped out Thursday night), Westmoreland revealed how far personal relationships go in these races:
"When I said Southern state, I mean the Deep South. Texas is not on that little map."
Westmoreland then said Steve Scalise, R-La., would satisfy the need for a Deep South leadership representative if he wins the race for McCarthy's old spot as whip.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane has a piece today on McCarthy as "the savant of relationships."
The 11th District congressional campaign of Republican Barry Loudermilk cut loose a press release on Thursday that allowed this headline: "Barr endorses Loudermilk."
Except that it wasn’t Bob Barr, the Republican runoff rival to Loudermilk for U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s seat. It was state Rep. Timothy Barr.
Loudermilk campaign helpfully referred to Timothy Barr’s 103rd district only by number. Which is over Lawrenceville way. So Timothy Barr might like Loudermilk, but he can't actually vote for him.
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