The Reed campaign is, for the first time, making a substantive charge against the Cagle campaign. In Ralph’s latest press release, they are accusing Cagle of improper conduct because Cagle sat on the Senate Banking Committee and/or co-sponsored legislation to benefit banks while at the same time being a director or chairman of a bank.
The Reed accusation states that
Cagle Voted 33 Times on Bills That Benefited Banks. Between 1999 and 2006, Cagle sponsored or cosponsored five bills and voted 33 times on legislation that significantly affected banking while serving as chairman of the Southern Heritage Bank or a director of the bank holding company that acquired it, GB&T Bancshares. The legislation Cagle voted on included bills allowing all banks to sell life insurance, sell securities, buy and sell corporate bonds, and expanded their ability to garnish wages. (Senate Vote 27, SB 19, 2-2-99; S.V. 227, SB 230, 3-9-99; S.V. 475, 3-24-99; S.V. 264, SR 241, 3-15-99; S.V. 269, HB 297, 3-15-99; S.V. 918, HB 1231, 3-13-00; S.V . 717, HB 272, 2-23-00; S.V. 1048, HB 656, 3-16-00; S.V. 922, HB 1364, 3-13-00; S.V.1069, HB 1257, 3-20-00; S.V. 177, SB 70, 3-6-01; S.V. 178, 3-6-01; S.V. 211, SB 25, 3-7-01; S.V. 365, HB 191, 3-19-01; S.V. 555, SB 353, 2-6-02; S.V. 1111, 4-12-02; S.V. 20, SB 53, 2-12-03; S.V. 130, 3-6-03; S.V. 233, SB 157, 4-7-03; S.V. 853, 3-4-04; S.V. 80, SB 78, 3-3-03; S.V. 414, HB 506, 4-17-03; S.V. 568, HB 385, 4-25-03; S.V. 662, SB 405, 2-2-04; S.V. 1028, HB 1258, 3-24-04; S.V. 1027, 3-24-04; S.V. 59, SB 82, 2-14-05; S.V. 95, SB 100, 2-22-05; S.V. 287, 3-17-05; S.V. 207, SB 127, 3-11-05; S.V. 504, 3-31-05; S.V. 436, HB 59, 3-29-05; S.V. 437, 3-29-05)
The allegations also say that Cagle says he abstained from votes, but the Senate record does not reflect that.
Cagle’s campaign issued a terse response sayiing,
We remind you that Georgia has a citizen legislature – farmers help set agriculture policy, doctors craft health care laws, and businessmen update commercial codes. This is precisely the system our founders set up and we stand proudly behind it. If Ralph believes that Georgia should have a full-time California-style legislature, we invite him to debate that point any time, anywhere. In reality, that is the only way to ensure that no one who serves in the legislature has a job outside the legislature.
We also repeat the challenge we made last time you made a set of false ethical accusations: if you believe your own charges that a legislator acted in violation of the law, you should sign an actual complaint, put a stamp on it, and mail it to the Attorney General. We are committed to running an open, honest and ethical campaign and welcome the opportunity to address these kinds of concerns despite your continued unwillingness to accept the same standard for yourselves.
Interestingly, I got the Cagle response before I even got the Reed accusation. Of all the things Reed has hurled Cagle’s way — and there frankly have not been too many so far — this one has the most potential to leave a bruise.