Channel 2 Lori Geary spoke with the state lawmaker about the help he's getting.

Leaders, liquor lobby give big to Georgia legislator after DUI arrest

The liquor distributors’ lobby and legislative leaders have teamed to contribute big money to Rep. Tom Taylor’s re-election campaign since the Dunwoody Republican was arrested and charged with DUI earlier this month.

Lawmakers and lobby groups have contributed about $20,000 to Taylor’s re-election campaign since his April 7 arrest, according to disclosure reports reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Included in the contributions: $1,000 from the Wholesale Distributors for Good Government, the wine and spirits distributors political action committee. The check came about two weeks after his DUI arrest.

Taylor’s campaign also reported contributions from eight lawmakers in the past few weeks, including $2,500 from House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge and $1,500 from House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton.

Ralston’s and Jones’ contributions came a few days after Taylor was arrested and a few days before the media reported the arrest.

Taylor was charged with driving under the influence, possession of an open container of alcohol and speeding. He was arrested by city of Clayton police after being clocked driving 72 mph in a 45 mph at 2:45 p.m. According to a police report, Taylor blew a .225 blood alcohol content and was carrying a pistol on his hip.

He had four exchange students in car at the time.

Taylor, first elected to the House in 2010, faces Tom Owens in the May 24 Republican primary. Owens, a former candidate for DeKalb County Commission, called Taylor a “disgrace.” Taylor said after his arrest that he would work to regain the trust of his constituents.

Taylor is a member of the House Regulated Industries Committee, which typically handles legislation involving alcoholic beverages, and he’s frequently received campaign contributions from industry lobbyists and beer and liquor businesses. An AJC review of campaign records found about three-dozen contributions from the industry, adding up to about $20,000, since mid-2010.

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