More on Larry O’Neal

I really could care less who the House GOP elects since Tom Graves is not among the nominees. Two of the candidates have called me. Surrogates of the others have called. I have talked to none of them. I’m actually tied up in some business that has distracted me.

In any event, I do think on O’Neal there are a few points in his favor that no one else seems to want to raise that I will therefore raise:

1. The tax law he wrote that benefited Perdue did, in fact, benefit more Georgians than Sonny Perdue.

2. The same legislation put Georgia in conformity with all 49 of the other states. It was not an anomalous tax law, but one needing to be passed to keep interstate tax harmony.

3. The crux of the allegations against O’Neal stem from a complaint originated by Bobby Kahn and filed with the IRS.

4. The tax deal was raised and vetted by Georgia’s voters in 2006 and they still decided to re-elect Sonny Perdue. If the voters, knowing about the tax deal, still were willing to vote for Perdue, how exactly is this going to hurt O’Neal and those who vote for him.

Boiling it all down, between O’Neal and Ralston do you think the Democrats will have an easier time explaining how the vote for a guy who failed to pay over $100,000.00 in taxes or the guy who passed a law that benefited taxpayers and put Georgia in conformity with the 49 other states?

That’s not to pick on David Ralston at all, but if we’re going to go after O’Neal for a lawful legislative act, let’s keep it in perspective.

Lastly, you are crazy if you do not think the feds, the lawyers, and everyone else investigated this deal. That we have heard nothing might ought to be a presumption that no impropriety on O’Neal’s part was found.

And dangit, you people have got me defending O’Neal. I still think the GOP should do something bold. But that is apparently not going to happen.

65 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    As I’ve been saying all along, no matter who is elected Thursday, don’t expect sweeping change.

    After all, the real battle is NOT Thursday – it is a year from now, when all Leadership positions and committee chairmanships/assignments are up for grabs. Therefore, whoever wins Thursday will rock the boat as little as possible to quiet the riot, and not much else.

  2. mariettaelephant says:

    Romegaguy—did you not read #1?

    1. The tax law he wrote that benefited Perdue did, in fact, benefit more Georgians than Sonny Perdue.

    • achilles says:

      Yes, elephant, I read #1. So what was the name of this other Georgian who benefited from having that very specific and narrowly tailored tax benefit backdated at O’Neal’s request to 2004 from 2005?

      And how did backdating it from 2005 to 2004, making it retroactive, somehow bring it into harmony with 49 other states? Were they backdating this tax deal too?

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      mariettaelephant,

      Two is more than one.

      Did you notice that Erick’s positives for O’Neal are merely attempts at refutation of negatives?

      • log224 says:

        Ken,

        It was an appropriate attempt to restore some balance to the discussion. The entire “off with their heads” result is not going to happen, so let’s focus on what can happen other than a total meltdown in 2010.

  3. Lawton Sack says:

    Speaking of Graves, Jim Galloway made a comment about him:

    Graves is one of several thousand Republicans in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Gainesville.

    I had to laugh.

  4. Harry says:

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but seems O’Neal jumped over to the GOP a few years ago, negotiated a Ways and Means Committee chairmanship, and thereupon proceeded to “screw the pooch”. Yes there was a need for conformity on land swaps, and I supported it as being a needed harmonization with other states…but the tipoff is the impetus didn’t come from Bart Graham at DOR. Sorry, but it reeks of influence just like all the other pay-to-play, go-along-to-get-along, lobbyist-driven legislation. Bottom line – every few years the dome can stand new blood.

  5. I Am Jacks Post says:

    Uhh, there’s another candidate in the field: Bill Hembree. And as far as I know, Bill is neither A. a status quo incumbent and Jerry Keen’s proctologist, or B. David Ralston.

    And from your post I gather you’ve received the talking points that, ahem, “Booray” and his team are circulating.

    Finally, Erick, you wrote, “The tax deal was raised and vetted by Georgia’s voters in 2006 and they still decided to re-elect Sonny Perdue.” That is a silly argument. Voters elect (and re-elect) those guilty of unethical behavior all the time: Clinton, Jefferson, Murtha, etc. The fact that these guys have duped the voters doesn’t make them any less dishonorable.

    If you think that Larry O’Neal is the representative most likely to clean up the House and bring about a new direction, then best of luck to you. Enjoy Dennis Hastert.

    • mariettaelephant says:

      Bill Hembree has not been in leadership. Does he think he will escape being the target of Bobby Kahn complaints if he wins the speaker’s job?

      Does that mean Hembree will be disqualified from leadership because he has had a complaint – even a false one – filed against him?

      It’s a fair question…

  6. Back in Black says:

    Actually Ralston was disputing his federal tax bill and got it altered. He paid it. It’s a years-old story now. He doesn’t owe any taxes.

    At least get the story right.

    • YossarianLives says:

      If Erick, or anyone else for that matter, wants to get the story right, Ralston’s tax problems stem from an employee that embezzled from his law office in Blue Ridge. Getting the story right though is too convenient for some people.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Erick could have called th DA’s office in the Blue Ridge area to find that out.

        Erick, did you think that doesn’t matter?

        • politicalwidow says:

          People,

          You are missing Erick’s point. Political campaigns and mailpieces are not about the truth – they are about what can be made to APPEAR to be true.

          I don’t think Erick agrees with the attack on Ralston – he is pointing out that Dems are going to make that attack and let Ralston/Republicans spend time explaining all the things you said – because when you are explaining in campaigns, you are losing.

          Some of you on here have spent a lot of time beating your chest about all the attacks Dems are supposedly going to make against Republicans who vote for O’Neal because you claim it all looks so bad (whether its true or not).

          You cannot have it both ways. Either the “appearance” issue counts, or it doesn’t. The Dems are not going to give Ralston a pass because he’s the favorite of this board. That’s what Erick is trying to say I think.

          And when it’s all said and done, unlike the attack on Ralston which has not been vetted in a political campaign, the whole “Land Attack” has been used very publicly on both Sonny and O’Neal directly in 2006, and it failed.

          You people just keep ignoring that like 2006 didn’t happen, and to people who know what they’re talking about with campaigns, you’re just making yourself look out of touch and silly.

          • AthensRepublican says:

            Umm…seems the favorite is just not your favorite and for reasons you think don’t matter but others do.

            I think many would be happy with Hembree or Ralston, just not Larry O’Neal.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Yes, he has paid his taxes.

      If ,after his own experience, David Ralston does not understand the burden of Georgia taxpayers, then the rest of us taxpayers truly don’t stand a prayer.

      His experience might give him a little fire in the belly to fight for the rest of us should he become the our next Speaker.

  7. Dave Bearse says:

    I doubt that thea perhaps surreptious insertion of a new provison into a law that was well along in the Committee review process is what most people think of when the phrase “tax law he wrote” is used.

    • politicalwidow says:

      Surreptitious? It was done in an open committee meeting that the public could attend.

      The conspiracy theorists on here would be comical if reporters didn’t come here to get fodder for their stories. You are falsely damaging the reputation of good people here, and you should be ashamed of it.

  8. AthensRepublican says:

    So people that are disgusted by the stories of the last two weeks and calling for change are “conspiracy theorists?”

    Can you understand why people are angry that Larry O’Neal stood by silently for years until this became “too much of a distraction?”

  9. Muscadine says:

    Erick isn’t interested in facts. We know his game. He can’t afford to endorse anyone right now so he simply points out “facts” that benefit the establishment candidate. He is all about self-preservation just like the current leadership. His creative writing skills are impresseive but he zig zags like good ole Zell. Whoever wins, he will pull a Howard Cossell and proclaim “just as I predicted earlier.” I would say it will be harder for the Dems to attack a person who was a victim of an unlawful act than someone who passed a “lawful legislative act” that happened to benefit close friends. What a brilliant coincidence!

  10. Bloodhound says:

    Simple question:

    Does the GOP have a better choice for Speaker than Rep. O’Neal?

    If the answer that question is “no”, God help us.

    I believe the answer is “yes”, so let’s help ourselves.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Yes, there are several better options.

      We need someone with enough courage to do the right thing when the right thing is difficult.

  11. mariettaelephant says:

    @Ken in Eastman–2 is more than 1, but the number is more than 2 for people who have benefitted.

    Let’s also read #2. All of you want to leave that out when talking about the issue, but that is because it would weaken your argument so I guess I understand.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      My most serious concern with Larry O’Neal is that when Richardson had opposition, O’Neal stood by Richardson’s side. He still knew everything that had happened. There was even more evidence of Richardson’s dictatorial behavior and your man, Larry O’Neal, hid in the closet.

      Not only did he fail to stand against Richardson, he was afraid to even vote against Richardson.

      Tell me again how that is a sign of leadership.

      Tell me again how this is a man we can trust to do the right thing when faced with difficult decisions.

      Tell me again how this man deserves to lead.

      Tell me again how this man, Larry O’Neal, is the BEST person to be Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.

  12. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    The biggest strike against O’Neal is his endorsement by Jerry Keen.

    I don’t really care who it winds up being (Hembree, Ralston, Loudermilk, some other unnamed conservative) as long as it isn’t someone Jerry Keen wants in the position. If it is someone he wants in there, it is more of the same.

    • mariettaelephant says:

      This is exactly what is wrong with the Peach Pundit. Guilt by association will get you flunked out of a college logic course. The objections to O’Neal here are driven by a heard mentality that there must be a “Glenn Richardson” mystery candidate hiding in this race somewhere, when it is entirely possible that all three of these candidates are very different from Glenn Richardson. Be fair people–don’t just torch someone because you are looking for an enemy that may not exist.

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        I’m sorry, but logic tells me someone who protected Glenn Richardson and refuses to step aside doesn’t lightly choose who he is supporting for Speaker.

        If you don’t think that Keen and Perdue are looking for someone who is looking out for their interests (and not the state, because their number one concern is their own political power) then you aren’t looking at the reality of the situation.

        I’m sorry, but having Perdue’s personal attorney as speaker is a major conflict of interest.

        • mariettaelephant says:

          You keep shifting the ground. Some facts that have been cited on here that I have taken the time to verify:

          In 2006, when the AGL rumors were swirling, Ralston, O’Neal, and Hembree all voted for Richardson for speaker. In fact, every single member did including Dems. All three were appointed to their committee chairmanships by Glenn Richardson.

          In 2008, Ralston steps out and runs against Richardson. He should be commended for that. Apparently O’Neal and Hembree voted for Richardson and are re-appointed to their chairmanships.

          However, by 2008 the rumors had mostly died. From what people said on here at the time, Ralston was running against Richardson for his heavy-handed leadership style, not the rumors of infidelity (because if there were the case, why didn’t Ralston run in 2006?) Again, Ralston should be commended, but think this through.

          I think everyone is missing something obvious here too – Mrs. Richardson said herself in the interview that the proof of the AGL lobbyist was a “SECRET” that she helped keep.

          How in the world can any of these three men – Ralston, O’Neal, or Hembree – be blamed for not “confronting” Richardson, when the proof of the AGL lobbyist affair was kept secret through a conspiracy that even involved Mrs. Richardson herself.

          And how can Larry O’Neal be especially blamed for this, when there is ZERO evidence, none whatsoever, that he was involved in that conspiracy, but he appears to have acted along with his colleagues to dismiss Richardson once proof of the affair emerged.

          Everybody is rightly angry about what happened with Glenn Richardson, but this place is acting kind of like the liberal media – you’ve already written a story and you’re looking for proof of it. You’re just DETERMINED to find the Glenn Richardson stalking horse in the race, and you’ve latched onto one misquoted story/guilt by association to drag O’Neal to the guillotine.

          And for what it’s worth, think about what you said – “Keen and Perdue” are supposedly behind this. That shows a low level on real knowledge of Republican politics. Those two don’t get along well, and Perdue killed off Keen’s campaign for Minority Leader in 2004. Saying that O’Neal belongs to both Perdue and Keen is like saying he belongs to both the Bulldogs and the Gators. Those teams don’t get along very well.

          And for what it’s worth, I’m learning that the presence of red thumbs-downs on your post is an indicator that you actually don’t just follow the group-think on here.

          • Ken in Eastman says:

            It is absolutely amazing how you can condemn a group of people for for coming out against Richardson in 2006, but give Larry O’Neal a pass for not even voting against Richardson in 2008.

            Not only did Larry O’Neal fail to stand against Glenn Richardson EVER, he even failed to vote against him when there was opposition. That is not leadership and for that reason alone Larry O’Neal is not the person to lead the Georgia House of Representatives.

          • Ken in Eastman says:

            That should be “It is absolutely amazing how you can condemn a group of peoplefor not coming out against Richardson in 2006, but give Larry O’Neal a pass for not even voting against Richardson in 2008.”

          • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

            I base my assumption that both Perdue and Keen are behind this on the fact that a closed door strategy session was held with the Governor before Richardson resigned.

            Whether they dislike each other or not is irrelevant at this point. This appears to be about preserving the moderate status quo. I have even heard through the grapevine that Ms. Sue Everhart is against the no tax pledge that Rep. Steve Davis has sent out. That is as moderate as it comes, and smells very strongly of the involvement of a Governor who would not sign the JOBS bill to cut capital gains when there are no capital gains being realized.

            For the record, my first choice for speaker at this point is Loudermilk, who is admittedly a long-shot, but as conservative and honest an individual you will find down in Atlanta.

          • benevolus says:

            “kept secret through a conspiracy that even involved Mrs. Richardson herself.”
            Seems reasonable to think that if Mrs. Richardson knew about it, more than a couple of others did too. I mean, isn’t the wife supposed to be pretty much the LAST one to know about an affair?

          • B Balz says:

            Anyone who thinks this group thinks as a group has probably never met anyone in the group. PP has a wide retinue of individuals whose politics range from delight to disapproval of the GOP.

            On PP there seems to be little tolerance for polemicists, party hacks, or lemmings, though. I think that is unfair to lemmings, I mean who do they bother?

            mariettaelephant, don’t feel badly, GOP Georgia holds the all time record of SIXTEEN thumbs down. Since one cannot vote twice, I am amazed that SIXTEEN individuals agreed on anything other than where to meet to talk about politics.

            Or bash lemmings, which we all hate.

  13. mariettaelephant says:

    It is more of an inconvient truth for those who really want there to be something improper about the tax law passed.

  14. B Balz says:

    1.) Heaven help us if mainstream media is using ANY web blog for their research,

    2.) Bloodhound nailed the issue succinctly, the choice for Speaker must represent the ‘best of class’,

    3.) The House really needs more distance from the Executive Branch to remain sovereign. An attorney’s client relationship MAY either be or APPEAR to be a conflict of interest,

    Having acknowledged all that, whoever the new Speaker is, that individual will need to be able to fill that role exceptionally.

    If Rep. O’Neal becomes our new Speaker, and he certainly is experienced enough, I am supremely confident that voter’s well known amnesia will forget or ignore these events by 2010, regardless of anyone’s [Dem] efforts to bring them up.

    In other words, our voices have been heard [PP and other outlets fulfilled their job], and now the House caucus needs to decide who is best capable going forward.

    • Fawkes says:

      “Having acknowledged all that, whoever the new Speaker is, that individual will need to be able to fill that role exceptionally.

      If Rep. O’Neal becomes our new Speaker, and he certainly is experienced enough, I am supremely confident that voter’s well known amnesia will forget or ignore these events by 2010, regardless of anyone’s [Dem] efforts to bring them up.”

      I certainly agree with you there B Balz. We need someone in the Speaker position who can lead on Day 1 of the Session. If that is O’Neal so be it. Whoever it is must be ready to lead. We have a tough Session ahead, and having a “follower” as a “leader” is out of the question.

      At this point, I want a Speaker who can lead the House through a tough Session where real hard-hitting issues will be thrown up. We need someone who can take a punch. Ethics will play a significant role, and should, in 2010’s General Assembly. I just hope, for Georgia’s sake, that the House gets there stuff in order.

    • mariettaelephant says:

      I wonder why everyone just assumes that O’Neal is still doing legal work for the governor. The transaction in question here happened almost 5 years ago. Does anyone have any proof that O’Neal is in a continuing legal relationship with Perdue?

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Do you have proof that he is not?

        It’s not as important as O’Neal’s abject failure to stand up to Glenn Richardson (and to actually VOTE FOR HIM), but I am curious.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      B Balz,

      Representative O’Neal is experienced. He is not; however, a leader. The question remains, “In which direction will he lead.” As his own man he is tabula rasa.

  15. B Balz says:

    @may-rhetta pachyderm

    My point yesterday and today regarding your comments is that while the letter of the law is important in legislation, it is the appearance of an impropriety that carries in politics.

    I have heard way too many situations lately where an elected official state, “This is legal”, and that action subborns the will of the people. I guess I am sensitive to comments that sound like an attorney is making them.

    Again, I reiterate, (yuk) being legal isn’t always being right. An attorney rarely would act against a client, current or former.

      • ByteMe says:

        Not just the “liberal”. A few “conservatives” out here have been trying the same trick as well. It’s easy to spot those who are just defending their “team” instead of defending what’s right.

        • Ken in Eastman says:

          ByteMe,

          You are correct, and I stand corrected. It’s not just liberals. There are some who claim the “conservative” mantle that are as guilty.

          You can explain later what happened to your pragmatism. I was pretty sure there were some principles under there. 🙂

          • ByteMe says:

            Your principles inform your goals and the limits of your actions, but your pragmatism — and your inner adult — keeps you from acting like my 2-year-old does when he doesn’t get what he wants. Some people don’t have a good handle on that last part.

  16. SouthPeach says:

    Erick…do you just refuse to look into the reason for Ralston’s not paying taxes or are you just trying to mislead people about him? It is on record AND a known fact that Ralston’s employee embezzled about $200,000 from his law firm instead of paying his monthly bills, mortgage AND income taxes!! It’s all there for anyone to see. Why don’t YOU get your facts straight and quit trashing the ONLY man who had the guts and the gonads to take on the whole leadership regardless of losing his chairmanship and his office in the Capitol. THAT’s the kind of leader the House needs!! He’s a good man with good morals who will bring the reputation back to the Georgia House.

  17. Meh… looks like the party is starting to wind down. It’s always the same old cycle every six months:

    (1) The Peach Pundit netroots gets in a wad about something (e.g. Saxby is a RINO!).

    (2) They make big bold declarations about action they’re going to take (e.g. we’re going to walk out on Saxby when he speaks at the convention!).

    (3) A week or two passes, and enough steam gets blown off. Then Erick shifts into self-preservation mode, posts move on to other topics, and the discussed action never happens.

    Finally, once the Democrat opponents are nominated… everyone defends the people they wanted to see on pikes just months earlier, now saying the exact opposite things.

    This is, of course, precisely why the Georgia GOP is so corrupt and ineffective (for everyone except Georgia Power). Despite the big talk but the backbench and grassroots, too many people are glad-handing p*ssies who just want to fit in and be liked. When it’s time to be angry, you talk angry… when it’s time to sit down and shut up again, you sit down.

    Six months from now I’ll be resurrecting a lot of the quotes that commenters have been posting for the past week… and I’m sure they’ll explain why things are TOTALLY

  18. Meh… looks like the party is starting to wind down. It’s always the same old cycle every six months:

    (1) The Peach Pundit netroots gets in a wad about something (e.g. Saxby is a RINO!).

    (2) They make big bold declarations about action they’re going to take (e.g. we’re going to walk out on Saxby when he speaks at the convention!).

    (3) A week or two passes, and enough steam gets blown off. Then Erick shifts into self-preservation mode, posts move on to other topics, and the discussed action never happens.

    Finally, once the Democrat opponents are nominated… everyone defends the people they wanted to see on pikes just months earlier, now saying the exact opposite things.

    This is, of course, precisely why the Georgia GOP is so corrupt and ineffective (for everyone except Georgia Power). Despite the big talk but the backbench and grassroots, too many people are glad-handing p*ssies who just want to fit in and be liked. When it’s time to be angry, you talk angry… when it’s time to sit down and shut up again, you sit down.

    Six months from now I’ll be digging up a lot of the quotes that partisan commenters have been posting here for the past week. The more honorable people will stand by their words, and simply try to argue that the Dem or Libertarian is worse. The less honorable hacks will try to squirm out or explain why things are TOTALLY different at the time. Neither group, however, is likely to remain hot-under-the-collar by then if doing so would put them in the minority at their county party’s monthly breakfast meetings.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      I think the problem here may be more simple. I’m looking around for the colors of Larry O’Neal’s supporters, but they seem to be absent from the field.

      Cheer up, maybe they’ll be back. I want them to reply to my posts. Especially the one on this Larry O’Neal thread at 10:25 AM today. I’m interested to see what they have to say.

    • IndyInjun says:

      Sic’ em SP.

      Some of us will be doing the same.

      Excellent synopsis. Time will tell if Erick really has changed his spots to consistently demand that these people stand behind party principles.

      As it stands, the GOP is a party of pirates.

  19. notfornuthin says:

    Harry,

    Not for nuthin…but if you think the Revenue Commissioner didn’t know what was in the bill, you don’t know the Commissioner. He is aware of everything and is known for his extreme sense of caution.

    • Harry says:

      Graham claims he didn’t insert the provision. The Ways and Means Committee deals with tax bills. Larry ONeal was and is chairman of said committee. The interstate swap provision was inserted at the last minute by someone, presumably to avoid further scrutiny.

      Worse things have happened….at least no sex was involved!

  20. fishtail says:

    I will contact my State Rep and ask him to support Larry the LoopHole if Larry will help me with my tax return.

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