Sonny to the Rescue!

Well it appears that Governor Sonny “Go Fish” Perdue is coming to help rescue rookie Congressman Paul Broun.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has taken up a shovel to help dig U.S. Rep. Paul Broun out of his financial hole.

The governor will attend a Wednesday barbecue lunch in Augusta for the Republican congressman, Broun’s campaign office announced this morning. Tickets are $25, but the people at the door will certainly take more if offered.

As you all may remember, fiscal conservative Broun had some troubles budgeting expenses… using most of his annual office budget as a Congressman to save his tail in the Republican primary.

Last week, a congressional report declared that Broun has spent more than 80 percent of his annual office budget. Almost half of his spending went toward mailings to constituents — at the time, the freshman congressman was being outraised by a well-financed Republican challenger.

Broun’s spending totaled $1.139 million through June 30, the AJC has reported. Based on an annual budget of about $1.38 million, that leaves the congressman with just $241,000 to pay essentials — including office rent, salaries, equipment and his travel through December.

So Broun is using re-election fund raisers to help pay his Congressional staff:

Some staffers have already transferred to Broun’s re-election campaign, where they are paid with funds raised from political donors — like the people who will come to Wednesday’s barbecue.

While he did manage to win the Republican primary, his job isn’t totally secured, as he still faces a challenge in November.

Broun’s general election opponent, Democrat Bobby Saxon, has made the congressman’s financial problems a campaign issue, saying that 10th District voters are being shortchanged.

The AJC continues on to tell us that the Congressman essentially blames his former chief of staff and attempts to shield himself from any blame.

Come on, Congressman… just admit you were scared, weren’t fund raising very well and thought you might lose the primary so you threw all your fiscally conservative principles out the window and spent taxpayers money left and right not to be of a service to the taxpayers but to save your own job.


  1. SavannahDem says:

    Isn’t it at least a little unseemly to use campaign funds to pay official staffers?

    Do the staffers know who’s paying their salary? Will those donors get preferential treatment from the office? Can a business “volunteer” one of their lobbyists to “help out” on with the legislative staff?

    Also, way to throw the CoS under the bus. Like Rep. Broun wasn’t signing the checks. Is the excuse that he’s not financially irresponsible, just a bad manager? Weak.

  2. drjay says:

    i’m not a huge paul broun fan –so i am certainly not trying to excuse him in any way–but would point out that i am under the impression, based on some interaction w/ both campaign and congressional staffers that it is not unheard or even all that uncommon for folks to go back and forth between the two–this is not reall ythat different–is it?

  3. Bill Simon says:


    “Not unheard of” or “not uncommon” are two terms that have yet to be challenged in a court of law when it comes to the spending habits of congressional offices.

    How they resonate in the court of public opinion should be quite a different matter.

  4. odinseye2k says:

    I don’t know my election law too well. Does anyone here know the line between spamming constituents with mail (which is the prerogative of an incumbent) displaying his work in the House and illegal use of Congressional funds for campaigning?

    What types of subject matter make a mailing look like a political ad versus constituent service?

  5. SavannahDem says:

    Dr. Jay,

    It’s normal for people to move back and forth. I would assume that every GA office does that.

    But, when they move people to the campaign payroll, those people are working on campaign business, not official business.

    It would be unusual, and I think problematic, to have the campaign pay people to work in the official office. So, I do think it’s different.

    Rep. Broun has put himself in a position financially where he can not perform his official functions without private donors. That’s a very vulnerable place to be ethically.

  6. drjay says:

    again–i’m not defending broun or his actions in any way–just curious about how this action compares and contrasts to the actions of other members–if i stilled lived in augusta-i would have voted fleming last month–this amusingly enough dovetails w/ criticism of his personal financial trials and tribulations that i was admonished for bringing up as a reason to not vote for him…

  7. atlantaman says:

    “Come on, Congressman… just admit you were scared, weren’t fund raising very well and thought you might lose the primary so you threw all your fiscally conservative principles out the window and spent taxpayers money left and right not to be of a service to the taxpayers but to save your own job.”

    This is the best summary of Paul Broun, and his ability to sell-out his beliefs, I’ve ever read.

    A few points.

    1. It is perfectly acceptable, and common, for Congressional staff members to move back and forth on the campaign payroll. Of course the big no no is paying a staffer to do campaign work with taxpayer dollars; obviously Broun does not have this problem.

    2. Folks who brought up Broun’s past financial troubles, and were chastised, should feel completely vindicated. Broun has proven to be irresponsible with money once again, this time it’s effectively an insolvency of his office versus insolvency of his past personal estate. Yes, it’s quite legal for Broun to sit in his office, all alone, with his thumb up his rear for the rest of the year, but it’s also pathetic. I suppose he’s going to have to panhandle to other Congress folks, like Bohener, for spare money; can’t wait to see what other beliefs he sells out in exchange for the caucuses’ spare change.

    3. There is a bipartisan Congressional franking committee that reviews all documents and letters to be mass mailed to the district. So there is not a legal debate as to whether his Federally funded mail was campaign spam or legitimate constituent service. Keep in mind the franking committee’s job is not to make sure a given Congressman is staying within budget. I suppose they assume if you’re elected to Congress you’re not a complete blithering moron who is unable to balance a checkbook.

  8. Harry says:

    Not to excuse any impropriety, but with his admirable independent nature Broun was probably unable to raise campaign cash from lobbyists and the various usual suspects.

  9. John Konop says:

    200k is not much money for a seating lawmaker. Also who knows how much bundlers rose? I have no dog in this fight but Harry does make a great point about the broader issue.

  10. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Better make nice now. Broun will be our congressman until we can get a decent democratic candidate. Chances are that means until he dies.

    He did what he had to do and did not break, or even bend, any laws. While he could have been a little smarter about it, what do you expect…he is Paul Broun Jr.

  11. atlantaman says:

    “I have no dog in this fight but Harry does make a great point about the broader issue.”

    Broun’s platform of low taxes and less regulation would do nothing but win adoring fans from those in the business PAC community with deep pockets.

    I don’t buy your veiled attempt to excuse Broun’s hypocrisy.

    The real reason Broun was unable to raise a bunch of money is because he is a freshman (with not even a half a term of seniority) in a party that is deep in the minority. He might as well be a member of the Bull Moose Party.

    People addicted to Meth steal and Congressman worried about their campaign accounts compromise their beliefs. No revelation there.

    The only enlightenment is Broun, a guy who wanted to be viewed as different and more principled then a typical politician, proved he was not different than the majority of Congress.

  12. John Konop says:


    I do not know nor am I making any excuses for Rep. Broun. The point I was making is Harry is right about the difficulty of raising millions of dollars and keeping independence. This is a problem for both parties. As we fund out Abramoff had no problem buying support from both sides.

  13. David says:

    I have to admit that when I saw the title of this section, “Sonny to the rescue…” I thought the pro-Sonny lemmings would be stressing his worth for a place on McCain’s ticket! LOL!

  14. atlantaman says:

    John it appears as if you are making a strong argument for public financing of political campaigns.

  15. John Konop says:


    I would support the following;

    1) Stop all donations from unions, corps…… to elected officials. The constitution guarantees free speech to people not groups. They can advocate all they want on the issue and even lobby but no money should change hands.

    2) Full disclosure and no bundling of donations

    3) Eliminate all franking, lawmakers can use the internet and town hall calls saving tax payers around 500 million a year.

    4) Lawmakers must spend 90% of what they raise in a given election or give it to charity. Stopping lawmakers from abusing the war chest.

    5) Full disclosure of any group running an ad.

  16. John Konop says:

    Three Jack

    Nothing I wrote has anything to do with government spending. In fact I support the government spending around 500 million less a year. Mindless sheep like you working in both parties is why we are 10 trillion dollars in the red and growing. I guess you will be happy when the dollar falls down to a peso.

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