The Jolt: GOP insider Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Parler spending spree

A salty senator’s email, Senate sour grapes, and anti-stalking bill lead the day

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s disturbing social media trail may be on Twitter and Facebook, but it’s the conservative platform Parler where Greene has been actively spending her money — dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign cash since the Nov. 3rd election.

In 17 separate transactions, Greene’s campaign has spent $207,000 to advertise on the site, according to a review of federal election records.

It’s not unusual for campaigns to advertise where their supporters are, but Greene’s spending on Parler stands out because of its size and timing, with all of it posting days before or in the weeks after the Nov. 3rd election.

By that time, Greene had been comfortably elected to her 14th Congressional District seat for months, with her Republican primary behind her and her Democratic opponent dropping out of the race before Election Day.

So why spend money to advertise when her own election is already over? Greene’s Parler spending is earmarked as “digital advertising for fundraising.” And as we all know, Greene and her most vocal supporters, including former president Donald Trump, did not remotely consider the November election over after November. What better time to ask for cash than when angry voters want to “Stop the Steal?”

With Twitter and Facebook increasingly removing fraudulent or violent content, Parler quickly became the social media platform of choice for the most extreme wing of the party after the election.

The source of Greene’s considerable $2.8 million in campaign funding is as noteworthy as her spending, with Greene’s largest donors being her own wallet (she spent and loaned her campaign $1.4 million), along with the House Freedom Fund, the PAC of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which gave Greene more than $200,000 for her election.

Other top donors are a hodgepodge of Trump superfans like U.S. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Georgia attorney and Stop-the-Steal performance artist, Lin Wood, and Georgia delegation members U.S. Reps. Austin Scott and Buddy Carter.

And even before Greene was a member of Congress, she was a generous Republican donor, writing more than $20,000 in checks in the 2020 cycle to the former president’s campaign committees and the RNC combined.

So while she may seem like an outlier in the news, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a comfortable, strategic insider when it comes to the money game.

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“Funny, annoying small dogs always yip with annoying sounds for no reason!”

That’s what Republican state Sen. Bruce Thompson wrote in an email to Georgia voter Margaret Britton that she shared with us after she urged Thompson to reverse his support for photo ID requirements on absentee ballots. It was one of dozens of emails she sent to lawmakers expressing her stance.

“We will move to ensure elections are secure and the integrity of elections are protected to prevent manipulation and fraud from continuing,” was one the first responses from Thompson.

That’s where things got tart.

“I hope in your laser-focused effort to keep people from voting that it does not come back to bite you in the butt,” Britton wrote in response, after Thompson said she was “misinformed” by stating there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

His final response (after the yipping dog note):

Let’s “see how well you liberals fare after we reform and close your loopholes! I’ll bet on us every time in a fair fight! 2022 baby, 2022!!”

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State House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England drank just half a bottle of water Thursday morning to present the midyear budget to the Georgia House of Representatives.

Anglophiles know that the more water the chairman drinks from the lectern at the front of the House chamber, the longer his budget presentation will be.

Yesterday’s was short and dry, a reflection of the speed with which the chamber is moving to attend to its required business before a feared COVID outbreak could shut it down for an unknown period of time.

Within hours, the budget had been introduced, discussed and passed out of the House and Senate. Among the additions-- funding for a chief medical officer at the Department of health, 500 new school buses for the state fleet for schools, and a new computer system to track vaccines and immunizations statewide that England said could be deployed in the state “in a matter of weeks.”

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In an unusual moment of visible grief, House Speaker David Ralston fought back tears Thursday talking about the needs in the state as COVID-19 continues to kill and sicken thousands of Georgians.

“In the last 24 hours I’ve lost two friends,” Ralston said. “Everybody’s losing friends, family members, so we have to keep that on the front burner.”

The Speaker was also still livid over state Rep. David Clark, the Buford Republican who had refused to be tested for COVID until Wednesday, despite House rules requiring members be tested twice per week to attend.

“I don’t have any patience for people who live in an alternate reality,” Ralston said, adding later, “I think the best thing that could happen is his family needs to seek out some help. I think we’re at that point and I hate to say that publicly... but that’s what it is.”

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POSTED: To get an idea of how bad it is in Georgia’s hospitals, Susan Cohen Grunwald has the story of one patient’s experience, which she described as being “like a war zone.”

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Freshman Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) is off to a fast start, introducing HB 131 and leading a press conference Thursday to talk about the anti-stalking bill.

She said much of the legislation comes from her own experience being stalked by a man, a situation that’s still happening.

“I have been stalked for two years by the same person,” she said. “This person has stalked me, he has joined my church. He has followed me. When I come out of the store, I see him. Then when I park at my house, he’s blocking my driveway, in my driveway. The list goes on.”

Mainor’s bill would require a police report for incidents of stalking and victim notification of court dates for their stalkers, among other provisions.

The Atlanta Democrat had a half-dozen colleagues standing behind her, literally and figuratively, to co-sponsor her legislation. All of them women wearing white, the color of suffragettes that the 50-plus female members of the House wore for a photograph Thursday.

The picture was symbolic, but Mainor’s event showed the real difference that’s taking place as more women are elected to the chamber.

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Georgia’s two new U.S. senators are fast making their case to their colleagues. From The Washington Post:

“The two newly elected Democratic senators from Georgia pressed White House officials and fellow Senate Democrats on Thursday to act quickly to pass a new round of stimulus checks, arguing that this promise won their party the Senate majority and needs to get done.

“The comments by Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael G. Warnock during a private lunchtime call with the Senate Democratic caucus and top White House economic advisers were confirmed by several people with knowledge of them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussion was private.”

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Former senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are no longer in office, but their stock trading controversy is reflected in a new bill proposed by a bipartisan group of U.S. House members.

U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia, and Chip Roy, R-Texas, are the lead sponsors of the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress, or TRUST, Act. The bill would require members of Congress, their spouses and underage children to put investments into a qualified blind trust.

That would have prohibited investing in individual companies that tripped up Perdue, Loeffler and other lawmakers during the coronavirus pandemic. Loeffler and Perdue eventually moved most of their assets into exchange-traded funds in order to silence their critics, but the controversy dogged them through the runoffs.

Watchdog groups have tried for years to get Congress to pass similar legislation requiring lawmakers to invest their wealth in blind trusts in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest as they weigh and vote on legislation that regulates businesses and industries.

More recently, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein admitted that she did not properly report some of her husband’s stock purchases. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently disclosed that she had bought stakes of Tesla, an automaker that stands to benefit under President Joe Biden’s clean energy initiatives.

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A new look-back at Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue’s failed runoff bids looks at the long list of what went wrong for the two incumbents.

Loeffler is criticized for leaving her business persona behind and clinging too tightly to Trump. “She’s a politician; she’s trying to win,” said Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “So she remade herself, not into a conservative but more into an angry populist nationalist reactionary. And she didn’t do very well at it.”

But it’s the rage-prone former president and his team that get the lionshare of the blame.

“It was a hostage situation every day," said one Republican strategist familiar with the campaigns who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

"We were always trying to guard against the tweet [from Trump]," the strategist said.

"Every week we had some new sort of demand," said another strategist involved with the campaigns. "Calling for the hand recount. The signature match. A special session. $2,000 [coronavirus relief] checks. Objecting to the electors."

"It was, 'If you do not do this, the president will actively work against you and you will lose,' " he recalled.

- NPR

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Under the Gold Dome today:

  • The House gavels in at 9:30 am;
  • The Senate gavels in at 10 am;
  • Various committees meet throughout the day

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