Macon Astroturf

“ Citizens for Responsible Government, in its June 30 disclosure, reported only about $104.00 in the bank. Where did it get the money to run this ad?


  1. mercergirl says:

    All I have to say is- wow. Would you mind sharing with us how you found all of this out? For instance, are there any links you can provide? I always like to see the evidence myself, not that I am questioning you but if this is true it will definitly sway my vote.

  2. Erick says:

    mercergirl, look at the picture. Then follow the link to the registration database of the organization. Then follow the link to Stebin’s disclosure and search for Firehouse Consulting in the expenditures. The addresses are the same. Google Firehouse and you’ll find it run by Jim Cox. The registration database for the organization shows that it is chaired by Jim Cox.

  3. GabrielSterling says:

    Don’t get too hyped up on this. The 48-hour report only applies if the donation is for more than $1000. They could have received 10 donation of $999 and not had to file anything.

    My bet is there were likely a couple of contributions of $500.

    However, you are right on the third party rules. These seem a bit heavy handed to me that you have to have the name and address of…what two or three of the committee members.

    But do those rules apply if it is not for an individual candidate? As in a slate as published here.

  4. mercergirl says:

    Well… that’s interesting. Here’s something else I wonder about, the sticker only showed the republican candidates that the Telegraph endorsed, not the dems (not that I really care) could that also raise some legitimacy issues? Cause I know the paper covered the democrats as well.

    I wish I could remember anything from my classes about campaign finance, but I honestly don’t think we got this detailed. 🙁

  5. GabrielSterling says:

    Mercergirl… don’t worry if you don’t remember all the campaign finance rules. They change the darn things each cycle to keep campaign finance lawyers swimming in the big bucks…

  6. Booray says:

    Mercergirl – I stand corrected on you – you show intellectual credibility I did not see in the other posts on this district. My bad.

    Sterling – Don’t get too hyped up? Aren’t you the same guy who thought the Chinese abacus math about Senate District 49 proved the candidate there was John Kerry?

    This is straightforward – Horne got a supposedly “third party” endorsement on the front of the Telegraph today when his consultant (who has been paid a HUGE amount of money) is running the “independent” third party. The other candidates being on there look like cover to me – it would have looked too obvious if it only had Horne.

    Game, set, match. Horne crapped in it. Ethics Commission ain’t gonna like this at all.

  7. GabrielSterling says:

    My point was not to get hyped on the 48-hour reports.

    The other gets into the byzantine rules on third party disclosures, that I surely don’t fully understand.

    And I agree with you Booray that the other candidates were cover, but they may have also been cover from not having to do the full third party disclosure.

    And on the “huge” amount of money paid to Cox & Firehouse, I don’t live in Macon and don’t know how much TV, radio and Mailings have been done for Horne, so the money spent on Firehouse is likely mainly for production, postage and time buys. Cox isn’t taking the checks and pocketing them in full.

  8. mercergirl says:


    I’m interested as to why you say that now? Just curious


    thanks, cause lord knows I can’t ever keep up with it either. Although i do believe most of what was covered in my class was McCain-Feingold

  9. The Busdriver says:

    A newspaper stickie? Are you guys seriously getting that tweaked about something that, from the looks of Erick’s scan, appears to be the size of a post-it note? Good Lord, if yard signs can’t win elections, what sort of uphill battle do post-it notes have to face.

    Vote Stebin Horne, the official candidate of 3M!

    Even if Jim Cox was behind all this, how can you so boldy assert that Horne was in on the deal?

    If I were you guys I’d be far more concerned that one of the candidates for House 137 (she shall remain nameless) contributed to crazy gay marriage lovin’, Voter ID hatin’, tax raisin’ Democrat Pat Gardner.

    Post-it notes. Really. I’ll alert the media.

  10. Erick says:

    Gabe, you’re right on the 48 hour thing. It is the minor issue. On the others though, the de facto presumption is that when your consultant who is actively engaged in your campaign uses his separate organization to promote your campaign, it is coordinated. It’s impossible to separate the two under the “but for” test of “but for working for Candidate X, I would not have made the expenditure to benefit candidate X.” A slate of candidates does not matter — they only act to distract from the purchase being made to benefit one candidate in particular.

    Despite my screw up the other day, I have practiced this area of law for over five years. Even with vague constructs, both the State Ethics Commission and Board of Elections will look to federal guidance in vague circumstances to see what federal law says. The FEC could be no more clear about something like this. And regardless of what the FEC would do were this a federal situation, I think Georgia law is clear enough.

    What would be troublesome as well is if there were multiple small dollar contributions to fund the stickers and those individuals were all also on Stebin’s disclosure.

  11. GabrielSterling says:

    When this goes to the runoff this could be troublesome for Horne. I do have a question though Erick.

    What if the candidate who is the beneficiary of the third party spending is personally completely unaware of the expenditure? Can he be punished?

    Also, busdriver,this use of the “sticky note” is new and relatively effective tool. Especially in the Sunday paper which most households get.

  12. conservativecore says:

    Hey Cox better hope that the sheriff there isn’t friends with Roger Garrison or he might find himself in jail for illegal campaigning.

  13. Booray says:

    Mercergirl – I figured you for a mindless Horne supporter. YOu showed I was wrong and are independent minded, even if you end up voting for him.

    As for the other stuff – pretty cut and dried. Really stinky.

  14. Booray says:

    Here’s a question for you (it’s a variation of the “but for” question above):

    How many other cities did Stebin’s consultant do this in?

    If he did it nowhere else, then this is nothing but a fake endorsement for Stebin using statewide candidates as cover.

    The smell test, it does not pass…

  15. leftymacon says:

    The sticky notes are apparently fairly effective as an advertising vehicle – since the Telegraph keeps using them (because companies keep buying them, right?).

    Smells pretty rank from my not-educated-in-political-lawyering-corner, too.

    By the way, Horne has paid those folks over $100,000 to run the campaign. Geez, that’s a lot of Nu-ways.

    Too bad most folks won’t pick up on this before Tuesday……anybody got an inside line to WMAZ?

  16. mercergirl says:


    Thanks, I do try to be as open minded as possible- even when I have known someone as long as I have known Horne.

    Also, I’m wondering- and this is for anyone on here- how a lawyer could make a mistake like this? I honestly have a hard time believing Horne could have knowingly done this (I really do hope that is the case and if it turns out otherwise I stand corrected).

    And along with that, besides my question earlier regarding democratic candidates, does it really make that much of a difference since these were the candidates the Telegraph endorsed? Or could it perhaps put the paper itself in a different light? Were they only looking to make money, without caring who it came from? This is the first time I’ve noticed them used, could Leftymacon correct me? I don’t know about you guys but I know most people I know have questioned the leadership at the Telegraph for sometime.

    Just would like everyone’s opinion on that please.

  17. Booray says:

    Mercergirl – you are welcome.

    Even if Horne did not know (and that’s not a presumption one should make in a situation like this), his campaign is ultimately responsible. The buck stops with him and his organization.

    Bottom line – voters were told to “take to the polls” something made to look like it was a third party – when the third party was run by Stebin’s consultant.

    As for the Telegraph, don’t know anything about that, but I’ll be glad to rip on the Forsyth paper if you want me to! 🙂

  18. mercergirl says:

    haha, where has integrity in the media gone? I swear every time I turn around its something new. But I guess that’s off the subject… 🙂

  19. politicalwidow says:

    If the candidate really did not know then he she, at the very least, fire his consultant

  20. Meg says:

    Personally, I feel quite sure Stebin knew. Those posted note ads cost $5,000 per note just for home subscriptions. The money would have to be authorized from Stebin’s account – he had to sign the check – he probable -nor his consultant didn’t realize they were breaking the law. Stupidity due to heighten election time and that is no excuss.

    My question to Erick or anyone who can answer is how fast can this blow up on him? What if he wins and then he is found guilty? Goes to the runner – up? What would be the protocal on this? Didn’t Stebin’s father get legally investigated when he was in the House of Rep for wrong doing?

  21. mercergirl says:

    What does his father have to do with anything?

    See, this is what pisses me off – not you Meg, just in general- I hate when families get dragged through the mud. For instance, I believe it was Debbie who said something last month about Stebin’s mom “passing out shirts at school”. First of all- that never happened, Stratford wouldn’t authorize that (i know that for an absolute fact). Secondly, that woman is one of the nicest people I know. I absolutly love her. I can’t say I know his father all that well but I will say this much, I do not believe his actions- whether they be spotless white or dirty as they come- should have any bearing on his election. Besides, if it did it would have come out already.

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