Paul Broun spends $33k in office cash on rhetoric coach

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has spent $33,000 of his congressional office budget over the last two years on a specialist in rhetorical skills, according to the above clip from Justin Gray of Channel 2 Action News.

The video focuses on the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. We’ll focus on where the money went – to Brett O’Donnell, the former Liberty University debate coach was Michele Bachmann’s top aide when she ran for president in 2012. O'Donnell has also served as a debate coach for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

Broun’s office identifies O'Donnell as a vetted staffer:

"In compliance with all House rules, Brett O'Donnell has been a contract member of Congressman Broun's official communications team since early 2012. He provides training, as he does with several other Members of Congress, with public speaking, on-camera interviews, and media appearances so that Dr. Broun can best communicate his legislative priorities, issues, and message with his constituents. As stated by the House Administration Committee, O'Donnell's communications training is in compliance with all House rules."


You'll have to forgive state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, for believing HB 707, his bill barring state and local officials from supporting Obamacare in any way, had made the final cut during the final meeting of the Senate Rules Committee on Monday.

Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, one of the General Assembly’s most vocal Obamacare critics, had successfully moved to include the bill on the rules calendar for Tuesday and Thursday, the last two days of the session.

But after Spencer and supporters left the committee meeting, Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, who is not running for re-election and thus doesn’t have to worry about having to go through another Republican primary, successelly moved to table the bill, removing it from considerationon a 10-4 vote, according to our AJC colleague James Salzer.

HB 707 could still surface. It has also been attached to a measure that would create an Alzheimer's registry.

Late Monday, Spencer issued a press release that announced a 2:30 p.m. Tuesday protest at the state Capitol, juiced by this slightly over-the-top passage:

"That eleventh hour betrayal effectively killed the bill, but it could still be brought back to life by an amendment of companion legislation," said Rep. Spencer. "Tomorrow, I will identify the Republican Benedict Arnolds, the King George the Third and his myrmidons who ship wrecked his path-breaking, patriotic bill (HB 707) to prevent the federal Leviathan from commandeering the machinery of state government or resources to enforce ill-conceived federal health insurance mandates."

The hyperventilation extended to tea partyist Debbie Dooley, whose Monday night email blast included this:

"Lame-duck Republican Senator Cecil Staton made a motion to table the bill, it was seconded by Democrat Senator Steve Henson. They effectively killed the People's bill that has already passed the House and has only two legislative days left to become law. Only an uprising by the People can resuscitate it."


Speaking of slightly over-the-top: For the last few days, Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis has added a self-mocking twist – pro wrestling-style entrance music -- to the meetings of his all-important committee, which determines the flow of legislation in that chamber. As captured by our AJC colleague Kristina Torres:


The last Georgia politician able to pull off full clan regalia – that's clan with a "c," as in Scottish – was U.S. Rep. Larry McDonald, who's been gone more than 30 years now. But the pleated-skirt look doesn't look bad on Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, a GOP member of the Public Service Commission. From Monday's St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah:


The fond memories of Georgia GOP trailblazer  Howard "Bo" Callaway keep coming in. State GOP chair John Padgett praised the former House member for planting the seeds that grew the state Republican Party into the powerful force it is today.

"Because of his sacrifice, a Georgia Republican holds every statewide constitutional office, including governor," said Padgett.

That governor, Nathan Deal, declared Wednesday “Bo Callaway Day” in Georgia and has ordered flags flown at half-staff. We hear that his wife, Sandra Deal, will be at the funeral Mass, which will be held at noon Wednesday.

“Bo stood up for what he believed in even when the odds and the political system were stacked against him," said Deal. "Georgians are all the better for it."


John McCallum, a Republican running in the coastal First District to replace U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, is up with his first television ad. It talks about the national debt and shows off his family.

The Newt Gingrich aide from St. Simons Island is one of several Republicans vying for the seat, including state Sen. Buddy Carter (who's already on the air), state Rep. Jeff Chapman and surgeon Bob Johnson.

The McCallum campaign would not reveal the size of the buy or where the spot will air.