This just in from the office of Rep. John Lewis, who has been accused of sending mixed signals on state Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, who is up for an appointment to the federal bench:
"I have tried to refrain from making public statements out of respect for my colleagues and the Senate process. I believe it is important to allow each candidate to be evaluated according to his or her own merits and to allow the Senate judicial nomination process to take its course. This willingness to permit due process is all that I have indicated in any conversation I may have had with my colleagues. I did not at any time indicate my support for the Boggs nomination or say that he had the backing of the African American community in Georgia.
"Based on the evidence revealed during this hearing, I do not support the confirmation of Michael Boggs to the federal bench. His record is in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career, and his misrepresentation of that record to the committee is even more troubling. The testimony suggests Boggs may allow his personal political leanings to influence his impartiality on the bench. I do not have a vote in the Senate, but if I did I would vote against the confirmation of Michael Boggs."
If Lewis' statement sounds a tad defensive, take a look at what U.S. Rep. David Scott has been saying about his colleague.
This may no longer matter, given the above information, but one week ago, Michael Boggs was at a Senate Judiciary Committee, fielding some hard questions about his nomination.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Boggs about a group called Georgia Conservatives in Action. Said Boggs:
"I'm familiar with the organization, but not enough with regard to tax status and otherwise to determine if they –"
Coons interrupted him. Said the senator:
"That is an issue that is of some concern to me in terms of crossing a line that's fairly clear. Canon 7A of the Georgia Canon of Judicial Ethics also says that a [judge] shall not publicly endorse a candidate."
Specifically, Coons asked Boggs why the judge's name appeared as a member of a 2004 steering committee for a Democrats for Bush organization in Georgia -- as he was running for a local judgeship. Boggs said his name appeared without his approval or authorization.
But then Boggs, who since has moved on to the Georgia Court of Appeals, added this:
"At the time I made a  contribution from my judicial campaign to Conservatives in Action, I had no knowledge of their sponsorship or endorsement of any candidates for elected office."
Georgia Conservatives in Action was started by south Georgia GOP activists Kay Godwin and Pat Tippett in 2009. Endorsing candidates is what they do. They introduced Sonny Perdue to south Georgia in 2002. This year’s slate includes Paul Broun for U.S. Senate and David Pennington for governor.
If Boggs didn’t know of the group’s tax status, the campaign signs might have been a clue. Below are photos from an October 2010 GCIA event in Waycross – one month out from a crucial contest for governor -- headlined by Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.
Nathan Deal, closing in on the Governor’s Mansion, and Gary Black, set to become the first GOP agriculture commissioner, also attended.
This one is of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle:
This one is of LaPierre and Boggs:
This one is of LaPierre autographing a book for “Judge Mike":
And to Coon’s point of not endorsing candidates, here’s one of Boggs at a 2012 fund-raiser for Tyler Harper, a Republican who was in the process of becoming a state senator from Ocilla:
Update 6:10pm -- attorney Doug Chalmers, who helped incorporate Georgia Conservatives in Action as a 501(c)4 and has advised Boggs, said because GCIA is not primarily a political organization under the law, Boggs is legally clear:
Judge Boggs clearly did not violate the judicial canons when his campaign committee made a contribution to Georgia Conservatives in Action ("GCIA") in 2012, because GCIA is not a "political organization" under those canons.
About the Author
Credit: Channel 2 Action News