Austin Scott Responds To Karen Handel; Returns All Gifts From Lobbyists

Tuesday seemed like a bit of a kick-off for the Karen Handel campaign. Free from not only her position as Secretary of State, but also seemed to be cutting some old ties with some very strong rhetoric covered in detail here. I attended one of the events and will be composing some thoughts on it as soon as time allows. In the mean time, here’s a pretty strongly worded response from Representative Austin Scott, who doesn’t like being lumped in with the other guys with ethics issues.

“Mrs. Handel’s comments were misguided, because in fact she accepted more money from lobbyists in 2009 than I have accepted over the past five years combined. I am not corrupt, nor are the vast majority of my colleagues. Furthermore, she has one of the most entrenched lobbyists in the state heading up her campaign fundraising efforts. As for me, I have already returned every contribution made by lobbyists to this campaign, and I respectfully submit that Mrs. Handel and all candidates for governor should join me in doing so. The Georgia taxpayer should be the first priority of every candidate for governor.”

The total amount received by Scott over the five-year period is just over $1000, including almost $200 to provide Georgia Aquarium tickets to House pages stranded when the legislature adjourned unexpectedly.

Scott, a candidate for governor, is a Republican from Tifton who has served House District 153 for 14 years. He is Chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee. As a ranking Republican leader, he has never done business with the state, any political subdivision of the state, or any organization that receives funding from the state.

“There will be only one special interest in the Scott administration,” he said. “The Georgia taxpayer.”

— Rep. Austin Scott


  1. Ali says:

    I like Austin personally. I make no secret about wanting the inevitable runoff to end up between Karen and Eric, however this really rose Austin up a notch in my book.

    I think Georgia deserves a Governor dedicated to correcting the unethical missteps of those past (and current).

    I’m glad Karen and Austin are focusing on ethics. It’s an issue that’s all too often looked over in campaign war rooms.

    • Culpepper says:

      The flip flopper – “I was for Glenn Richardson before I was against him”.

      This is a recycled issue, Scott is pushing a recycled bill – not his own. We need more than ethics in the Governor’s office.

  2. inlimine says:

    I’m just waiting on Handel to say something about a pit bull and lipstick. It’s beginning to look a lot like Sarah, everywhere I turn.

    But does Handel wear lipstick?

    Let the red marks begin.

    Bravo to Austin Scott for putting this out there. Too bad no one knows who he is.

  3. fishtail says:

    In 1983 a liitle-known State Representative named Joe Frank Harris crept up on everyone and slid into a run-off and subsequently won the Governor’s race. So perhaps we should not count Austin out. Over on the Dem side, Thurbert Baker is a strong candidate and cannot be taken lightly by Barnes.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Of course, Sam Nunn was Carl Vinson’s great-nephew. So he wasn’t a complete unknown – AND he had a GREAT theme song:

        Sam Nunn is tough;
        Sam Nunn is young.
        Put Sam Nunn in Washington;
        Sam Nunn in Washington. Sam Nunn.

        Holy Cow I must be old!

    • fishtail says:

      Another bit of trivia about the long-shot campaign of Joe Frank Harris. That campaign employed a young UGA law school student who served as the campaign’s metro field coordinator. He later made a name for himself in Georgia politics. His name is Bobby Kahn.

  4. macho says:

    Austin might be pure, but when there is talk about accepting gifts from Lobbyists, isn’t it really just semantics. Does it really matter if a lobbyist writes the check or if there is a coordinated effort on behalf of a special interest group to get members to write $5,000 checks. I know Barnes is trying to play this game, but how many trial lawyers do you want to bet are on his disclosure report. Plus, he’s got his previous election to worry about. Do you think when Ox accepts all those free meals and personal checks from insurance agents that it somehow makes him more pure than a candidate who gets a personal check from an insurance industry lobbyist.

  5. Fawkes says:

    I see Karen and Austin as the only two ethical candidates in the Republican primary. Austin isn’t running in the top 3…yet. With the amount of news that has broken about the Georgia Legislature and more sure to come, Austin could shoot up to a 3rd or 4th position. The race for Governor should get more interesting every day. Scott is, at least, a good candidate to look at. If he gets more name recognition and funding, look out.

    • apacheangel says:

      Why just the two of them? May I be so bold as to point out that Ray McBerry is the only candidate in the race on the GOP side who has yet to be tainted by the corruption in Georgia government? He is the only candidate who hasn’t held office, and unlike Scott and Handel, has not flip-flopped his position on ethics issues when no one was looking.

      • anewday says:

        I don’t know that Scott ever flip-flopped. Before making erroneous statements why don’t you do some research. Look at Austin’s past. Look at past disclosures and you will see a man who has never taken much money from lobbyist even though he is on the top 3 committees (ways and means, rules, and appropriations) and the chair of Governmental Affairs, another top committee.

        I know people throw out the support of Speaker Richardson, but that is what a party is suppose to do in the midst of RUMORS. People can’t act on rumors in situations like that. The second the alligations were proved Austin was the first one to go on the record and say that he would sign a petition to kick him out of his position.

        Anyway, start thinking before you throw out baseless accusations for all candidates.

      • Icarus says:

        Karen Handel and Austin Scott or running for Governor of Georgia.

        Ray McBerry is running for President of Georgia.

        See the difference?

      • Fawkes says:


        Please clarify how Karen or Austin have flip-flopped their positions on ethics issues.

        Also, Ray McBerry wants to become the government of Georgia. If you feel the need to secede, then he’d be a great choice for Governor. If you have a shred of sanity left, not so much.

  6. fishtail says:

    Glenn Richardson and the boys had signed on with Nathan Deal. New game now that they are gone and Nathan is sliding into oblivion. If I were Austin Scott I would be getting every member of the Georgia House lined up for a big endorsement on the steps of the State Capitol. That would really send a message.

    • Fawkes says:

      If I were him, I’d stay as FAR away from the Georgia Legislature as humanly possible. Some of them are good. But the toxic filth that is coming from there just wreaks of “more to come”.

    • Fawkes says:

      To clarify, I know that Austin Scott is in the legislature. But getting all of those who are potential risks to sign onto his campaign would not be wise IMO. If they go down, they could take him with them.

      • fishtail says:

        Fawkes…very good points. Certainly not Burkhalter or even Jim Cole, for that matter. Scratch my previous impulsive suggestion.

  7. Lawton Sack says:

    Looks like ethics may not equal mean money, though. In a perfect world, ethical candidates would always win.

    Austin Scott Money from Report

    Cash on Hand: $159,052.24
    Debt: -$119,225.00
    Non-Debt Cash: $39,827.24

    • ready2rumble says:

      I haven’t looked – is there a loan in there as well? Does Austin know that Georgia law requires a balanced budget?

      • Culpepper says:

        Can someone check to see if the bank that his wife works for made him the loan? I know that bank took tarp money, so if he is taking tarp money indirectly, is that an issue for anyone?

  8. Silent Outrage says:

    Seriously though, if Austin were a nicer person he might actually do better, however he’s a smug smart ass and thus even his “walk” doesn’t really do anything for him…

      • Culpepper says:

        No, Silent is right. I have personally witnessed Scott be rude to women and children. This guy has a real personality issue. The more the voters see, the more turned off they will get.

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      I had a very pleasant conversation with Austin at Vesuvius Sunday night. He had some interesting ideas about a few things. I didn’t see smugness or cynicism. Really.

      As for his walk, I don’t pay attention to how men walk. Call it a weakness if you must. 🙂

  9. Pine Knot says:

    Where can you get these reports now? I know Scott, Barnes, and some others have reported, but I can not find it on the SOS site or the ethics site where you normally can.

    • macho says:

      Ya, but his lobbyist contributions from his last campaign are more than all the other candidates (Dem and Repub) combined. Besides, his $2.7 million is loaded with special interest money; as it sure as hell didn’t come in $5 a time from little old ladies.

  10. fishtail says:

    If Barnes raised nearly $3 million with no lobbyist contributions, then that is impressive as hell. He could easily have increased his take a lot if he were willing to take the tainted donations from lobbyists, as have the other Governor candidates, save Austin Scott.

  11. fishtail says:

    Hey Macho…it’s halftime of the National Football Championship…give it a rest…I’m after some more cheese-dip

  12. Silent Outrage says:

    A few standouts from the list of those that think it’s okay to have inside deals with the State of Georgia and enrich yourself thanks to Georgia taxpayers:

    New Speaker of the House David Ralston
    Augusta Representative Barbara Sims
    Rite Aid Pharmacy
    Walgreens Pharmacy (I guess I’ll use the Target Pharmacy now)
    Allgood Pest Solutions
    Congressional Candidate Tom Graves
    Jimmy Franklin Chervrolet in Statesboro
    Home Depot (I always liked Lowes better)

  13. foray says:

    Austin’s family has funded his house races

    Lobbyists don’t donate to losing statewide bids- if they thought he had a chance they would offer there money and he would take it

    • Doug Deal says:

      There is nothing wrong with your family funding a bid. I would rather candidates funded their races out of their own than ask strangers for money anyway.

      I have met Austin’s family and I liked the ones I met. If anything, this is a positive for Scott.

      I was hard on him for entering the race for Governor, instead of the race for 8th district, but I still have a great deal of respect for Austin.

  14. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Do I get credit for this? I posted it earlier yesterday. 🙂

    It amazes me at the people who have so much to say about who lobbyist donate to and publish themselves as so concerned about the state and ethics and you couldn’t pry their wallet open with a crowbar.

    The South Georgia Shrimper have a lobbyist fighting for their lives up there as foreign farm raised shrimp invade the markets. Remember that up there in Atlanta when you are stuffing your fat faces full of Georgia Shrimp or killing the Georgia Shrimper buying the imported shrimp.

    Remember that they are out there in the cold pulling a net for little of nothing in a industry hurting when most of you couldn’t handle an 8 hour job in a pie factory.

    • B Balz says:

      Bully for YOU, Luddy.

      Here is my shameless plug for the good folk at City Market in Brunswick, GA, wild caught GA Shrimp taste great!

      They ship to Atlanta VERY reasonably:

      City Market · · (912) 265-4430
      1508 Gloucester St · Brunswick · Directions

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