My Friends –
I open this by noting it is an unfortunately lengthy email, but its contents are vital because they involve my good name (which I guard jealously) and a complicated piece of tax legislation. Please review this entire email so you can be fully informed in your decision for speaker.
Since Friday, one of my opponents has attacked me in the caucus for tax legislation I sponsored in 2005. That legislation came to involve Gov. Perdue and was the basis of an ethics complaint filed by Bobby Kahn and his minions.
I did not intend to respond to my opponent’s attacks, but a reporter is now calling my supporters in the caucus trying to write another story about this, so I must now address these falsehoods.
Perhaps the most important thing for you to know is that in addressing these attacks, I am finally able to share information with you that has never been shared publicly that I believe will clear my good name once-and-for-all on this issue.
The canon of legal ethics prevents a lawyer from discussing legal work for past or present clients. As you know, I have done legal work for the governor. That has limited what I could say about the governor’s land matter and the legislation I sponsored.
However, the governor has for the first time released me to talk about all aspects of these matters, and the details I can share will show the extent to which this witch hunt has harmed my reputation unfairly.
The extent of my work for the governor has been greatly exaggerated. I currently do no legal work for him. In addition, I will be leaving my law firm on Friday of this week if you elect me so I can serve as a full-time speaker, and I will not have any legal clients except to conclude matters currently with my office.
I hope this answers any questions about the extent of my legal work for the governor.
On the specific tax legislation involved, I will begin with a summary of the legislation:
1. It was technical, involving interstate land exchanges, considered at that time unconstitutional anyway by the revenue department, which penalized only Georgia residents.
2. The change the law enacted had already passed in 49 states. Georgia was the last state to pass this law for its citizens.
3. It was retroactive, which has been made to be unusual but is common tax law practice, particularly when the legislation will ensure Georgians are treated the same as other states’ citizens, which is what we were doing with this bill.
4. It has been falsely claimed that only one taxpayer benefited from this bill. Hundreds of Georgians have had their taxes reduced by this bill, a fact that you may independently confirm with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
5. I, personally, did not benefit financially from this bill in any way.
6. Lastly the retroactivity complained of was done by an amendment actually added in the Senate so one must believe the Bobby Kahn machine that a representative can amend a bill in the Senate, which is now and was then against every rule of the Senate and the Constitution of the state of Georgia; hence impossible on its face or the “immaculate amendment”.
For three years, the Democrats have harassed me and Gov. Perdue about this tax issue. Bobby Kahn got a Democrat activist to file an ethics complaint against me. They attacked Gov. Perdue with $6 million in ads that used a particularly unflattering picture of me beamed into my living room and those of my family and friends, and the media abetted it. I drew opposition in 2006 specifically because of this issue.
Even though Kahn and the Democrats failed to convince the voters of any wrongdoing in 2006, they did not stop. Kahn vowed to get the IRS to audit the matter.
What you do not know is that Kahn succeeded. An IRS audit was conducted after the election. Until now, I have not been able to discuss the results or even the existence of that audit. However, with Gov. Perdue’s permission, I can now tell you about audit’s results.
The IRS sent a team of federal auditors to conduct a full forensic audit of every aspect of this land issue transaction. It was a multi-week, full-blown, on-site examination.
The result was that the IRS made zero adjustment to the taxes involved and exonerated me once and for all for any wrongdoing in this matter.
I don’t know what else to tell you. At some point, even an old politician like me is entitled to have his name cleared, especially when the IRS has literally torn this whole matter apart and said it was clean.
Being unable to discuss this matter until now, I have relied upon my good name to defend me. That was enough until this campaign, but the climate of fear in our caucus created by the unprecedented events of recent days has unsettled us all, and one of my opponents has played on this climate by using this baseless charge from Bobby Kahn to try to defeat me in a Republican leadership election. His attacks have succeeded in getting the blogs and newspapers to rehash this story.
Any Republican worthy of leadership would never use a Bobby Kahn attack to go after a fellow Republican when this charge had never been substantiated by any third party and had been rejected by the voters overwhelmingly.
Moreover, while my opponent may not have known about the audit’s existence, he did know my character vs. the character of Bobby Kahn.
The fact my opponent chose to persist with this attack in spite of its source and lack of verification (and the voters’ rejection of the argument) is regrettable. He should certainly retract his comments.
In the end though, I am more concerned my opponent has tried to maneuver me into a no-win situation. He has repeated an unproven attack while saying it didn’t matter if the attack was true because “it has left the appearance of impropriety and I alone am the clean candidate.”
I beg to differ in the strongest terms. My opponent has not yet held high-ranking leadership in the Republican Party. He will find, should he get there, that he too will be subject to unfair attacks by Democrats, and that the true test of Republican leadership is to prove you can survive false attacks and survive victorious with your good name intact.
I have done this.
We need to make changes in the House. However, we must reject intemperate campaign tactics and not throw the innocent out with the guilty. I am available to discuss any aspect of this issue, any time day or night between now and Thursday or beyond.
Your friend, Larry