Lane Watts digs really, really deep to find someone other than himself to blame for problems in GA-GOP 3rd District

You’ll recall discussion here on January 10 concerning problems within the executive committee in the Georgia GOP’s 3rd District involving then-Chairman Lane Watts (Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook) and a series of allegedly unauthorized expenses from debit cards in the possession of Watts and Debbie Groninger (LinkedIn), then-3rd District treasurer. At issue were $5,137.66 in “questionable transactions” ranging from overdraft charges, meals, fuel, ATM withdrawals, website expenses and expenses at the state GOP convention in 2008.

Just before a scheduled meeting to discuss these matters, Watts resigned. Now, he has triumphantly come forth with an explanation for what has been going on and who is at fault. Incredibly, he appears to be keeping a straight face when he points his crooked finger of blame:

He blames the supporters of Dylan Glenn, who unsuccessfully ran against Lynn Westmoreland six years ago.

Six. Years. Ago.

(pause)

Yep. More than half a decade. No, I’m serious. That’s who he is blaming for his resignation.

I spoke to Congressman Westmoreland prior to Saturday’s meeting and shared with him my decision to resign. He was very supportive and greatly regretted my decision. I am grateful for the opportunity to work so closely with him the last 3 years. There are a number of malcontents within the district organization, many of whom supported Congressman Westmoreland’s primary opponent in 2004 and who are driving this controversy. Apparently, they have been unable to move on and do not care about the damage they are doing to the district GOP organization that exists to help elect the Congressman.

If there is one thing that Glenn supporters and Westmoreland supporters have last on their lists of “Things I Care About In 2010,” a congressional race six years ago would pretty much be it. All this really shows is the desperate nature of Lane Watts that he, when confronted with this, can’t find anyone to blame and has to quickly erect straw men to distract from the real problem: Lane Watts.

It’s also laughable that Watts refers to a “number of malcontents within the district organization” when, in truth, it is anything but. District Committee members Jenny Eckman, Betty Bruce, Frank McMinn, Matt Fuentes, Alton Russell, Art Smith, Loretta Johnson, Ed Thompson, Kathy Noble and Joe Beamon all called for a meeting to remove Lane Watts from his leadership post. Hardly a group of “malcontents” when compared to those who tried to remove the District Officers (namely Lane Watts (the guy at issue), Debbie Groninger (who was also already at issue) and only one other person: Paul Ploener).

Oh, but Watts wants us to know how he just wanted to get in the trenches and elect some Republicans!

The purpose of the District Committee is to help elect Republicans to office and in particular, elect a Republican Congressman. This is what we should be concentrating on instead of engaging in petty bickering and character assassination.

If that’s the case, then Watts should have no problem explaining how a $120 ATM withdrawal from the committee account on October 16, 2007 forwarded the Republican cause. Or how almost $70 of debit charges from the committee account on December 5, December 13 and December 24, 2007 promoted conservative values.

I know, the $21.59 debit from Barnes and Noble in May, 2008 must have been to advance the cause of liberty and freedom, right? Or the $28.55 debit from Winston C’s Sport Bar in Kennesaw in July, 2008 surely promoted local candidates?

Maybe there was some wooing of a potential candidate at Sunshine Car Wash in Riverdale when a committee debit card was used for a $5.00 purchase. Or two days later when a $44.33 debt was paid at Barnesville Crow in Barnesville. I bet it was one of those Dylan Glenn supporters getting even with Watts by making “someone” use the debit card!

And it was those evil supporters who tricked “someone” into spending $21.72 at The Varsity in Atlanta on November 5, 2008.

Have any of you ever been to a Trader Joe’s? “Someone” with the GA-GOP 3rd District Committee has…on December 1, 2008 at Store #73 in Sandy Springs ($3.31 was spent…all in the cause of Republicans, mind you!).

(I’ll stop, you get the point).

Lane Watts is such a good Republican. He’s a true believer in the best ways to help the private sector (with consumer spending). Too bad he’ll mostly be remembered for how he carried himself as the head of the Georgia GOP 3rd District and, afterward, how he blamed everyone for his misfortune…except the man in the mirror.

19 comments

  1. FountainCityTerror says:

    Great post, but you also failed to mention the day where 4 fuel fillups where used with district money.

    • Pete Randall says:

      Excellent point. Unfortunately, a detailing of all the curious expenditures would have taken far longer than was necessary to make the underlying issue clear.

  2. Pete Randall says:

    Excellent point. Unfortunately, a detailing of all the curious expenditures would have taken far longer than was necessary to make the underlying issue clear.

  3. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Some people have no integrity.

    I have been involved in our local party for over 6 years, and our current chairman doesn’t spend any money without first running it through an executive committee vote….for the protection of all of the membership and the integrity of the organization. I don’t know if the districts operate the same way, but if they don’t, they should.

    We really need to purge the corruption from all levels of our government and political process, from the school board on up to the governor’s office and from the county, district and state political parties.

    This kind of stuff disgusts me.

  4. ArnoldVinick2006 says:

    My personal Favorite was the $218 for Website Maintance. The 3rd District doesnt have a Website. What website are they paying for?

  5. GOPGeorgia says:

    I’ve known Lane for many years. I like him as a person and a friend, but a lot of this surprises and concerns me. I advised him in December that if he could not make the rest of his District Committee happy, then he needed to take one for the team and step down. I also told him I didn’t know the details and I thought that this was a matter for the Third District to resolve.

    I have no idea how to explain some of these charges, so I’m not going to try. Barnes and Noble? Maybe he was getting a copy of Roberts Rules of Order when he left his at home. If so, it needs to go to the new Chairman. As far as many of these charges go, your guess is as good as mine.

    As far as fill ups, food, and hotel rooms to go with convention expenses, I thought they were just a cost of becoming Chairman. Technically, they could have been approved by the District, but it appears that the problem was that those expenses were not.

    Lane is being tried in a court of public opinion. His opening statement has been heard and it appears that many are unimpressed. I’d like to hear his whole defense. As a matter of curiosity, I’d like to see a line by line account from him on what these expenses were used for. I think the only people he SHOULD realy have to explain himself to will be the Third District Committee. If he decides not to do so, we will see what their reaction will be.

    • appachtrail70 says:

      I agree with most of what GOPGeorgia.

      But where did he ever specifically blame Dylan Glenn for all these problems? He said factions that were against Lynn were DRIVING this controversy. That could very well be true. Obviously Lane has a lot to account for, but bad blood in the 3rd district could go six years back. That is not too far fetched.

      • Pete Randall says:

        Uhhhh, yeah. That ‘s why I wrote: “He blames the supporters of Dylan Glenn, who unsuccessfully ran against Lynn Westmoreland six years ago.”

        “Supporters” does not equal “Dylan Glenn.”

        And a contest six years ago is indeed too far fetched to be the explanation. Especially when the point here is what happened to $5,000.00 of committee funds.

        • appachtrail70 says:

          My apologizes Pete, don’t take the misunderstanding personal. I agree something is wrong with the funds, but you can’t deny that there has been animosity between different factions in the 3rd for awhile. Debbie Groninger ran against a fellow 3rd district member for some position last GAGOP Convention. The 3rd District officer elections have always been competitive.

          I agree with GOPGeorgia, Lane needs to be given the benefit of the doubt for a little while longer.

  6. Mozart says:

    I remember hearing about Lane’s “do-nothingness” from several of the YR folks from about 10 years ago. Lane has a gift of making it appear that he is doing “something” when he holds an elected party position, but not really doing much at all.

    In short, he may talk a good game, but has no follow-through worth a hoot.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      I remember when Lane was Treasurer and National Committeeman of the Georgia Federation of Young Republicans. I don’t recall anything standing out about his term as Treasurer other than no complaints about his job. As YR National Committeeman he traveled the nation on his own dime representing Georgia well.

      Cry foul on the current situation all you like, but don’t please make up rumors without any facts to back them up.

      • Mozart says:

        If you know a guy named Marty Dekom, who moved out of the state several years ago, he can clue you in about Mr. Watts.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          I have talked with Marty about once every two weeks for the past year or two. Marty has a very sharp wit. Occasionally, he likes to stick people with it. (That is so Dekomish!)

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            I have made a few calls to Marty and others. Apparently, during my hiatus from the YR’s in the late 90’s, there were some allegations made, not about missing money but about how long it took to reimburse at least one person. I have been told an arbitrator was brought in and no punitive actions were taken against anyone. After that, I am told Lane resigned.

            Your allegations are not groundless and I was unaware of them. However, it wasn’t proven that he did anything wrong either; at least not to the point of arbitrated punitive action. That’s what I have been told anyway.

          • Mozart says:

            If you go back and read my post, you will see I made no allegations as to misuse of money, but the inability of Lane Watts to actually perform tasks clearly within his realm of responsibility.

  7. Jane says:

    Party leadership should pick up the tab for minor expenses. Many a time my district Chairman picked up the tab for what might be considered expenses related to his party office including paying for meals for the rest of the committee out of his own pocket. It comes with the territory.

    Apparently in the 3rd district, the meals and personal expenses of the leaders are paid for by membership dues. Lane is probably taking the blame for others, but his is not blameless either. Surely others benifited from his generocity.

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