Karen Handel calls for Richardson to go

Georgia SoS Karen Handel is the first top elected Republican to call upon Glenn Richardson to step down as speaker of the State House, telling the Associated Press that Richardson “needs to resign immediately for the good of the state and in the best interests of our citizens.”

Over at the AJC, Jim Galloway has the official press release from Handel:

I consider Glenn Richardson a friend, and clearly, the entire family has been through a great deal in recent weeks and months. His entire family is in my thoughts and prayers.

I am saddened and disappointed that the current situation has reached this point. It is clear that the Speaker should resign immediately for the good of our state and our citizens. Georgia is facing difficult problems that require leadership and focus. In this climate, the people’s business is simply not being done.

Certainly, public officials are entitled to privacy. However, as public officials, we accept a higher level of scrutiny and responsibility and are held to a higher standard — and rightly so. When ethical lapses occur, immediate and decisive action is required. We have a responsibility to show – through words and deeds – that we are upholding the highest ethical standards. We also have a responsibility to hold our selves – and each other – accountable. Failure to do so serves only to undermine the trust the people have placed in their elected officials.

This current situation needs to be dealt with swiftly, so that we can begin the process of restoring confidence among Georgians and return our focus to the critical issues facing our state.

54 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    BREAKING and Austin Scott beat her to the punch, becoming the first GOP GOV candidate to call for Richardson’s resignation.

    • Part-Time Atlanta says:

      Well he didn’t do a good job promoting it. Maybe he should call for the resignation of his communications director instead.

      • Culpepper says:

        Ooooo! a BOLD statement from Mr. “Always and Forever”! Good song. Like “Stand by Your Man.” Can you hum a few bars of “I will support you forever, unless a petition seeking to oust you comes my way.”?

        This just proves how far removed he is from the Republican leadership that is actually dealing with this issue. Like the zero key endorsements they provided him didn’t say enough.

        The run for Governor is because he is at a dead end politically in the assembly, and knows his odds for reelection at home are dimming. He has to do something, other than deal with reality that is.

  2. macho says:

    Good for Karen. In a perverse sort of way I think this episode ends up helping Handel, Scott and Johnson by shining a spotlight on the ethical shortcomings of the other two.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      This will not help Johnson, as he was the Chairman of the Joint Ethics Commission when the ethical allegations were made and did not investigate the complaint. He pushed it under the rug because he didn’t want his own “transgressions” (as Tiger titles them) to come to light.

  3. Jeff says:

    Macho:

    From what I’m hearing, this situation is going to bite Johnson in the tail big time since he chaired the commission that apparently dismissed the affair allegations without any kind of investigation back in 07.

    Scott certainly stands to gain here, as he has a record of standing against Richardson when his principles dictate it.Unsure about how Handel plays into it, either positive or negatively.

    • Holly says:

      Again, an affair in itself isn’t illegal. The job of the ethics committee is to make sure no laws were broken. If Mrs. Richardson did not bring forth her evidence to the committee regarding the state patrol threats, there probably was not sufficient evidence of an ethical violation.

  4. AthensRepublican says:

    How does it help Austin Scott? Remember that letter he sent out that was posted on this forum a year and a half ago? He signed:
    Austin Scott
    Supporter of Glenn Richardson Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

    Austin Scott was well aware of Richardson’s problems back then but as long as they had not gotten much attention I assume that was okay with him. He was a steadfast and loyal supporter of Glenn Richardson. Surely, his opponents will point out that fact.

    • Culpepper says:

      Maybe he meant it literally, like I support you for 3 days – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. After that, we’ll see.

      The members of this good ole’ boy network are getting hard to tell apart.

      • Jeff says:

        At the time of that letter, all that was known was the affair – bad enough, but ultimately survivable. Thus, Scott was playing his cards well as a Republican in the House of Representatives by showing public support of the Speaker – particularly since this Speaker had apparently shown a knack for swift retribution against opponents.

        Once the allegations came out of threatening to abuse his ex-wife though, at THAT point Richardson became indefensible – particularly once it was known that the text messages were real.

        How do you support someone accused of threatening to beat their wife?

        Answer: Unless you’re John Oxendine, you don’t.

        • AthensRepublican says:

          Good points Jeff. Austin Scott did not have the courage to stand up to Richardson. Real leadership exhibited by someone asking us to elect him Governor.

          • Jeff says:

            Athens,

            There is ideological purity, and there is practicality.

            Ideological purists are your communists, anarchists, and constitutionalists. NONE of them are in any major office right now, and none ever will be – if they stick to their absolute ideological purity.

            Scott did what every other person in the General Assembly did – he did what he had to do to make sure he was in a position to still get the job done when and where he could.

            “You can stand up and you can preach a beautiful sermon about [insert issue], but that’s not going to get anything done. … Standing up and ranting and raving might make you feel good, but its not government, it doesn’t get things done, it doesn’t accomplish things”

            And yes, I can’t believe I’m actually quoting John Oxendine. But that is seriously one of the best lines I’ve heard in any campaign speech thus far in this cycle. I absolutely HATE admitting that, but it is unfortunately true.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            Thank you Jeff. I appreciate and agree with your view but I don’t think it is a reflective of the point I was trying to make. It is not about ideological purity but those in office that enabled Glenn Richardson to become a tyrant and bully. (On issues, I rarely had any problem with Glenn-he had good conservative principles-just didn’t include ethics).

            When David Ralston challenged Glenn Richardson, Austin Scott bent over backwards to show his allegiance to the Speaker.

            Read the statements he made to the press:
            http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/Dave_Ralston_to_Challenge_House_Leader_Richardson

            These comments are in addition to his signature of support for Richardson as indicated in the post above.

            You make a solid point which I interpreted as -pick and choose your battles carefully. I agree. But the trainwreck has occurred and it needs to be prevented from occurring again.

            Austin Scott made a mistake in his blind allegiance to Richardson. I disagree with your assessment “Scott did what every other member in the General Assembly did.” No, there were some in the General Assembly that demonstrated courage-just not that many. I hope Austin Scott and the others recognize that.

            Icarus (on this forum) brought to my attention (and corrected me) that Austin Scott did stand up to Richardson and lost his chairmanship temporarily over a vote, so that might explain why he wanted to prove something to Richardson at a later time. I don’t know why he was so loyal to Richardson in the last years. Maybe he can address it in his campaign (if he gets that far) with his opponents who will most certainly hang Richardson around his neck.

            Other than his bad judgment on the Speaker, I have heard mostly good about Austin Scott. In light of some of the major ethical issues of his opponents, Scott’s bad judgment on this issue pales in comparison.

            I have a first choice for Governor (not Ox) but have not made a second choice if my candidate does not make the run-off. Heck, this early anyone can still change their mind. Austin Scott might be a possibility. Let’s see if he (and others) admit error. However, I won’t be holding my breath as I am speaking of politicians.

  5. Back in Black says:

    This remains an issue:

    Where is that next “courageous” letter from the obsequious Joel McElhannon telling us how bad it is for thinking that MAYBE something is really wrong here?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/obsequious

    Good for those who have the ACTUAL courage to state the obvious: that this is a ridiculous situation.

    Most everyone who read Joel’s letter from two weeks ago had the same reaction: Toady.

    Good for Karen Handel, Manning, and others for keepin’ it real.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      I did not read it and cannot find it. I did find this from the AJC:

      In fact, a “We Support Glenn Richardson” page quickly established on Facebook had attracted 69 fans by Saturday afternoon. Public admonitions to back off included an open note from GOP political strategist Joel McElhannon.
      “Glenn, to his credit, has surrounded himself since the start of his speakership with a very strong leadership team….He simply needs to continue to rely on them to insure the House runs smoothly and effectively,” McElhannon wrote. “This is the Georgia House we are discussing, not the White House. It is not like Glenn has his finger on the red button and can launch a nuclear attack on Tennessee if he has a bad day.” We all have skeletons in the closet, McElhannon ended. So we should take care when the bones of others are laid bare.

      http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2009/11/14/on-glenn-richardson-the-thrill-of-victory-and-the-agony-of-victory/

  6. This is like stepping in dog poop. Although, you’re the one who stepped in it, everyone else is blessed with smelling your screw up.

    If the man doesn’t have a clue that he should vacate the building, then he needs a sign. That kind of arrogance is repugnant.

  7. Doug Deal says:

    I was wondering when one of the big three would take a stand. I am glad it was Karen.

    This is actual leadership. Sitting by the sidelines to see how things shake out and ducking for cover out of fear someone will look more closely into your dealings is not.

    • ByteMe says:

      Three days ago, it’s “leadership”. Today, it’s just piling on. Or finding a parade and stepping in front of it. I mostly like her, but the stunning amount of NOTHING from any of the Republican candidates for office while Richardson dithered is quite telling.

      • Doug Deal says:

        I would disagree in that none of the other serious candidates have said anything of substance. It might not have been as early as I would have liked, but being one of the few in taking a stand against someone in your own party is sticking your neck out, no matter who it is. It’s called not passing the buck or not just passively accepting events as they unfold around you, but taking a stand. That is what leadership is all about.

        • ByteMe says:

          When exactly did they decide to take a stand? The evidence has been out there since Monday. Today is Thursday. What signal were they waiting for other than that he was going to resign anyway? That’s not leadership. Leadership is showing the way when everyone else is lost and convincing other people to follow their lead. The story YESTERDAY was that he was resigning by end of week.

          Leadership today would be to call for an investigation into the panel that cleared Richardson of the conflict-of-interest charges. It would also be self-serving, since she’s in a battle with the head of that panel, but it would at least look like she’s ahead of the curve and trying to present the case that whitewashing a problem is not to be tolerated.

          • ByteMe says:

            Galloway says it was “just issued” in his blog posting at 9:44 a.m. on Thursday morning. The meeting was the previous night, but Punditeers here were already saying Wed morning that he had agreed to resign.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      You are probably right that he has nothing to fear from people looking into his dealings. He seems likeable. But what about those that are looking for leadership and courage? Austin Scott was one of Glenn Richardson’s staunchest supporters. When did he stand up to him? Answer: not until he already knew Richardson was resigning.

      • Icarus says:

        Not actually true. Austin Scott temporarily lost his committee chairmanship when he refused Richardson/Keen’s order to override the Governor’s veto. It’s more than most down there have done.

        • AthensRepublican says:

          Then I stand corrected. Thanks for the pointing that out. When did that happen? In his posts on here, he was standing by his good friend Glenn Richardson, who was under fire at the time for this petty and vindictive behavior. That was back in 2008.

          • Jeff says:

            It was several years ago, I don’t know exactly when.

            Also note that Richardson didn’t want him running for Governor, so the very fact that he is even in the race shows that he was standing up to Richardson.

            Again: The period between Monday night and Thursday morning was some of the most tense, highest stakes times we’ve seen in the House of Representatives in quite a while. Even while waiting until Thursday morning to come forward, he was still one of the first two Chairmen to do so – and the first GOP GAGOV candidate. Why didn’t any of the other candidates, who did NOT have to worry about the in-House politics, come forward sooner? Where is their courage and leadership?

  8. Ken in Eastman says:

    Let’s put this in focus, shall we?

    When Tom Murphy ran the state house like a whore house, we Republicans were outraged because of his massive ethical lapses. We were going to do a better job, remember?

    We were amazed at Murphy’s arrogance and astounded by his treatment of fellow house members who disagreed with him. Of course he was a Democrat, so what could we expect?

    The problem is that Speaker Glenn Richardson has exhibited the same petty retributions and the beginnings of the same ethical problems that Murphy gleefully wallowed in throughout his career.

    Richardson was out of control and showed no sign of slowing his descent into TomMurphyLand. The members of the Georgia House knew it and most, either out of a misguided sense of loyalty to Richardson – not the people of this state – or out of fear of his vindictiveness failed to oust him.

    The only people who should be seriously considered for the Speakership are those who openly stood against Richardson. Pure commonsense dictates that Speaker Richardson’s supporters not be considered for the Speakership.

    Give me a man or woman with fortitude and the foresight to do what’s right and the Georgia GOP and the state of Georgia will both be well served.

    From below the gnat line,

  9. AthensRepublican says:

    Amen and well said! That leaves David Ralston.

    David Ralston are you are ready to be handed the broom and dustpan and begin sweeping out the trash?

  10. Joshua Morris says:

    Isn’t this a situation for the State House of Representatives to deal with? These politicians who have no jurisdiction on the matter are only sticking their noses into this to score points with certain groups. Only perfect people should cast stones.

    • Fawkes says:

      She’s running for Governor and has to work along with the House, she considers Richardson a friend; I see no wrong being done here. Frankly, I admire someone who is “in the spotlight” and sticks their neck out to take a side on an issue before others do. This is clearly not a case of “hopping on the bandwagon”.

      • Mad Dog says:

        Fawkes,

        Agree with you. But if ethics was really important to Handel et al, why wasn’t this handled quickly and quietly by his friends?

        Maybe he’s beyond help. So even jumping on the bandwagon would be right.

        P.S. I don’t like Handel.

        • I would say that Richardson is beyond help. And friends don’t necessarily delve into REALLY personal things. Glenn clearly has his demons, but I would wager the texts and contact with his wife were probably hidden from his friends and family. Thus the shock that is this story.

          • Game Fan says:

            Well it’s probably hard to make a call on what kind of person he really is outside of politics or whether being a bully is a symptom of the pressure from all sides, and the temptation, money, ect… Sure it sounds easy, but until you’re there you can’t say whether you’d pass up the loot or the power or the women. Nevertheless, “the people” have honed in on this character. WHAMMO!!

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      What do you have against stones?

      We only have imperfect people available at this time, so maybe they could throw bricks instead.

      Seriously, the entire state GOP needs to stand up and do what’s right. It’s not just limited to the state house. Speaker Richardson needs to go and quickly.

      “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

      From below the gnat line,

    • macho says:

      It’s not really about Richardson anymore, it’s much bigger than that, so it’s appropriate for other elected officials and party leaders to say something to nudge the process along; or say something that is really nothing like Ox.

    • Jeff says:

      Josh,

      How do you defend a man accused of threatening to beat his wife?

      Answer: Unless you’re John Oxendine, you don’t.

      THAT is ultimately why Richardson was forced out. The suicide attempt and the affair were survivable. Threatening to beat your wife is not.

    • John Konop says:

      Joshua,

      You have no issue with an office holder sleeping with a lobbyist while supporting a bill the lobbyist is pushing? You have no issue with an office holder threatening his wife as well as threatening to use his office power to abuse his wife? You really think this is only something office holders should deal with and or comment about not the police, public….?

      Please tell my you are this far off from the real world!

    • Joshua Morris says:

      Relax, folks. I was just saying that I thought this was an issue for the State House to deal with. I’m not defending the guy or his actions–just sharing an opinion on who should be publicly making statements about this and giving pointers on how to deal with it.

      Some elected officials have no jurisdiction and no reason to comment, except to get an extra headline and demonstrate a ‘position’ to potential voters.

  11. DMZDave says:

    Of course this scandal benefits Karen because a majority of voters are women and a majority of Republican primary voters are women – women who are frankly disgusted with the wink, wink, nod, nod “good ole boy” behavior at the Capitol as well they should be.

    Does anyone believe Karen Handel would fool around on the job? Of course not. Anyone believe she would shake down anyone for gifts and favors? No way. The best thing about most women politicians is for the most part, they weren’t born with the “corruption gene.”

    The Richardson case it not unlike the case of Bill Clinton when he abused his high office and position to entice a young, immature intern for whom he was supposed to be a mentor to engage in sex, it is about the behavior and corruption and not the sex.

    Georgians are tired of politicians who are in it for themselves and behave badly rather than actually trying their best to serve the public good and work for the benefit of the citizens. Everyone I talk to seems to recognize that the corruption and sexual misconduct doesn’t end with Glenn Richardson on either side of the aisle.

    Republicans must proudly remain the party of family values. We should use this scandal to reaffirm our commitment to those values and we should not so gently encourage those who don’t live up to those values to visit with their pastor, think of their family and find a new line of work.

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