Is Cox Using State Money to Fund Campaign?

James Salzer at the AJC is looking into the matter and has this very interesting report.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox is building her name in Georgia’s African-American community this fall, and it’s not costing her — or her campaign for governor — a dime.

Two weeks ago, Cox began a $500,000 advertising campaign on black radio stations across the state cautioning listeners about financial scam artists and telling them where to get help. The advertisements will run through November in Atlanta and through the end of the year outside the metro area.

David Shafer, if you’ll remember, last year proposed Senate Bill 154, which would have stopped such spending. The bill made it out of the Senate, but not the House. Salzer gets a money quote from Shafer on this expenditure.

The Investor Protection Trust, which disburses the money, prohibits using the funds to promote individual officeholders. Last year’s Cox ads prompted Republicans to push legislation outlawing such practices, arguing that it’s unethical for Cox, a Democrat, to use the investor funds to campaign for office.

“These ads have nothing to do with investor protection and everything to do with raising her name identification among likely Democratic voters,


  1. Thomas Seger says:

    More likely, the Taylor folks are sitting around kicking themselves because they couldn’t do the same thing. Anyway, it’s too dangerous for them. Do they really want to invite an inquiry into all the politickin’ he does out of his office?

  2. emily says:

    OR… maybe she’s doing her job as a public servant. She’s certainly the only Dem candidate for Governor who’s been around lately doing her or his job.

    Anyway, the fund is meant to be used for investor education. Seems like that’s exactly what she’s doing. Crazy thing is–it’s working! What was she supposed to do, anyway? One more anonymous public service announcement that nobody listens to? Putting a face/voice with a message draws in an audience more. That’s Advertising 101. So what if she got a little name ID? You think Sonny didn’t get a little by his latest escapade?

  3. Emily,

    Mark Taylor’s job is to serve as the presiding office of the Georgia State Senate and perform any other duties that the Governor may assign to him.

    That’s what’s in the Georgia Constitution.

    So to imply that Mark Taylor isn’t doing his job is a bit foolish to me b/c the Georgia Senate isn’t in session.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    If the duties of the Lt. Governor are directed by the Governor, then Governor Perdue should be assigning Taylor to clean-out the bathroom stalls in the Capitol, right?

  5. matthew thomas1 says:

    I think people are totally over reacting. There is no good in using some scary voice over to do these ads because the point is not to freak the public out but to inform them. She is appearing in the ads as a trusted public official as a counterpoint to the conmen who should not be trusted. One of her duties as secretary of state is to regulate this industry, I’m not seeing why she should stop doing her job during election time.

  6. Ben King says:

    While Cox may be technically within the scope of what the money is intended for, I’d say it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that what she is doing is not in the least bit politically motivated or at even a little ethically questionable.

    I’m sure that $500,000 intended for investment education could be used many many ways other than to have Cathy Cox personally warn people about fraud. And, if you want to pretend that radio ads are the best way to go, and that a recognizable face is the best option, I’m sure that there would be a more recognizable face in the black community to speak about such things than Cathy Cox.

    Atlanta is the home of a huge music industry, from which even the smallest artist would probably have a higher name ID than Cathy Cox. Hey, isn’t TLC from Atlanta, and didn’t they get ripped off by their managers with some unfair contracts? Why, what a logical connection for a recognizable local figure to do a PSA! I know its not the exact same type of fraud that maybe the radio ads are warning about, but it is enough of a connection that it’d make sense to people. And according to “Advertising 101”, it’d probably be more effective than Cathy Cox.

    And, in terms of who is doing whose job, I’d say that Mark Taylor has been the one working in the Senate the last three years fighting Republicans, while all Cathy Cox has done is show up for committee hearings and talking about why we don’t need to change our voting machines.

    And what type of politikin’ are you implying that the Lt. Gov. has been doing? I think there was a conversation here a while ago where someone, quite wrongly, said that he’d pulled some strings to get his son’s case moved from Colorodo to Ga. That comment was rather quickly proved to be a load of bull. So I’m just curious what you’ve got on Taylor. At least when people talk about Reed, DeLay, or even Bill Stephens, they’ve got stuff they can back it up with, real allegations and investigations.

  7. RedDawg says:

    Shafer is a crafty SOB. He enlisted Vincent Fort and Micheal Meyer Von Bremen — an urban black Democrat and rural white Democrat — as cosponsors of his bill, preventing Cox from screaming “partisan witch hunt.” Fort and Von Bremen must be for Taylor.

    The Republicans better add Taylor to their daily prayer list. If the Democrats nominate Cox, it is over for Perdue. She will spank him like a little child.

  8. Booray says:

    RedDawg –

    Keep on dreamin’ about Cox or Taylor spanking Perdue. You folks are just ignorant of history and of the prevailing political sentiment in this state if you think that.

    People just keep on underestimating Sonny – and he just keeps on winning.

    Booray Bussey

  9. Silence says:

    Booray…I mean no offense, but the only explanation I can come up with for your apparently flagrant ignorance on this subject is perhaps that you work for Sonny, and you’re a part of the very echo chamber that’s killing him? Do you seriously believe that sentiment among the GOP base is going to carry Sonny, or is even favorable towards him right now? Were you at the R.E.A.L. conference? Have you spoken to anyone besides VoteSonny staffers? I’m not making a contention on Sonny and his success/lack of success…I’m just blown away that you think sentiment in the state is favorable towards him, when in truth, I, along with most others on this site and those who work in Georgia politics know differently.

  10. Pappy says:

    “People just keep on underestimating Sonny – and he just keeps on winning.”

    How many times can a guy win one term?

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