Podcast with Sam Olens, candidate for Attorney General

Last night, I spoke with Sam Olens, former Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioner and a Republican candidate for Attorney General for the latest of the candidate podcasts.

During the podcast we discussed joining other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against federal health care reform (Olens’ first priority should Georgians elect him), taking on the Department of Justice over election issues and other priorities that he’ll take on while in office.

You can download the podcast here (over 20 minutes/18.4MB, right click, “Save File As” to download).

In the next podcast, I’ll be chatting with Angela Hicks, a Republican running for Congress in Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District.

If you have a candidate that you would like for me to interview or questions that you would like for me to ask an upcoming guest, no matter what party, please drop me a line on Facebook or send an e-mail.

60 comments

  1. Doug Deal says:

    From what I heard, both Republican candidates (Max Wood is the other) are good guys and have been running very clean campaigns, and both seem very sharp and capable.

    As the husband of a prosecutor, however, I think that I “o-lean” toward Max Wood in this race. The AG represents the state of Georgia when criminals appeal to the Federal courts and I think Max’s experience as a prosecutor and US Attorney would go a long way there.

    • Doug Deal says:

      That’s irrelevant, since both men have civil experience, but also, the criminal side, in my opinion, is much more important.

      Let’s run down some of the duties for the AG.

      – Represents the state in all capital felony cases before the GA Supreme Court.

      – Representing the state in all case before the US Supreme court.

      – Prosecuting any state officer or other person or entity for violating any criminal statute while dealing with or for the state.

      – conducting investigations into the affairs of the state.

      – participating, when required by the governor, in all criminal or civil actions in which the state is a party.

      Sure, there are a number of civil roles, but Max’s unique (among the two) experience as JAG officer, prosecutor, and US Attorney give him a clear advantage over Olens.

      Olens has good experience as a personal injury and malpractice attorney, but how exactly does that help one act as AG? Perhaps his rich private attorney friends can help him raise money, but if anything his life’s work has increased the costs of medical services as well as just about everything else.

      What others might be so crass as to call “Ambulance chasers” have an important place, its just that their place isn’t acting as the chief law enforcement officer of the state.

      Olens might make an excellent lt. Gov candidate though.

      • Don’t forget the AG has administrative duties much similar to those Max had when he was the US Attorney for the Middle District.

        Olens is a good guy, I think he would make a great LG or Governor, or in another time AG. But Max has the better credentials for this job at this time. And look at his ideas to modernize our AG office. Ideas like State-Wide Grand Juries, Field Offices, and an Appeals Division.

        That, and Olens calling 80% of Obamacare good just doesn’t set well with me.

        • Mozart says:

          From what I understand, Olens was quoting from a report by the US House’s Republican Study Committee where they stated that “80% of Obamacare was good.”

          Now, you can disagree with the study committee all you want, but that is what Olens was referring to. I doubt you, Olens, or even Max Wood has done a full-reading of the bill and knows enough about what all the items really mean. Thus the reason why Olens defaulted to quoting the study committee’s report, which was developed by a whole lot more people than one guy thumbing through the 1000+ pages of the bill itself.

          • When all he has to do is say, “No – I will challenge the bill immediately.” He can refer to a study all he wants. This State has been deprived of a good Attorney General since Bowers decided he wanted to run for higher office. I like Olens, he’s a good guy and a great attorney. But he shouldn’t have to hesitate to challenge Obamacare.

            • Mozart says:

              So, you’re just quibbling with the fact that he didn’t pound the podium and state “YES, I WILL FILE IMMEDIATELY UPON TAKING OFFICE!”

              BUT, he said “While the republican study committee says 80% of the bill is good, I would still file because…”

              Guess it’s a difference between a candidate who is ready to spew rhetoric at every possibility (See Oxendine, John and Woods, Max), and a candidate that has something thoughtful to convey. I’ll take the thoughtful approach any day to the rhetoric-spewing political approach.

              • Doug Deal says:

                I saw that video and he was indeed quoting someone else, buy his answer was therefore weak and sounded indecisive. These aren’t qualities I find appealing either, but if it’s a one time deal, you can overlook it, unless his staffers compound it by whining about the heat.

                Don’t blame Max for Sam’s bad answer.

                • GOPGeorgia says:

                  So candidates shouldn’t quote people, studies, or laws when they give an answer beacause it makes them sound weak and indecisive? Interesting. I thought it made them informed.

                    • GOPGeorgia says:

                      I didn’t hear the answer, so I don’t know if it was bad or not. I just think you are being a bit harsh beacause he cited a source before he gave the answer you were looking for and I guess you don’t like the way he looks.

                      I don’t have a dog in this race, I just see a complaint that I’m not so sure that it is justified.

                    • Mozart says:

                      Hang a candidate if they give one wrong answer! OR, even if they just look at ya kinda funny…heck, they may be kinda funny on you….just shoot him and save the world from non-rhetoric-spewing political candidates.

                      Bring back George W Bush! Good rhetoric-spewing leader we had in this country for 8 years. Whoo-hoo! Say anything you want, just make sure it “sounds” like you are a decisive person.

                    • Doug Deal says:

                      Doug, fair enough. But as I already stated its not a big deal unless it is something he repeats.

                      Mozart/olens operative/Cobb county GOP member, or whatever,

                      Any chance you could be any more defensive? Your guy had a bad moment, admit it, buck up and move on.

                    • Mozart says:

                      Last time I checked, I had to pay property taxes to Gwinnett, not Cobb. I wish I lived in Cobb.

                      Not sure of what makes one an “operative” unless it is someone who blogs on a website in support of a candidate that you obviously are not for, Doug.

                      So, what county do you reside in so I will know how to fill-in the blank here and address you by your proper title, Doug/woods operative/_________ County GOP member?

  2. r130211 says:

    Sorry this is off subject, but is there coverage on PP of Erick’s appearance last night on Hannity?

  3. DoubleDawg3 says:

    I think Olens is a great candidate and would be a great “whatever,” but I think his skills are more useful in a role as Gov/Congress, etc., compared to Wood he, in my opinion, has a better grasp on the duties & needs of the AG’s office.

    So, I’ll basically echo what DD posted – Olens would make an excellent leader in our State Government, I just think Wood is the better AG candidate.

    • Mozart says:

      The AG’s office operates as a big law firm, and provides legal services to departments all over state government. What experience does Max Wood have in managing people on a day-to-day basis? Being appointed US attorney does not make one knowledgeable about the actual management of a US attorney’s office.

        • Mozart says:

          Again, he was appointed to that position. It is difficult to measure how “good” one does of a job while sitting in an appointed position.

          Sam Olens has been elected to chair the Cobb County Commission twice. Elected, not appointed. Appointments require someone to kiss anywhere from one to 50 people’s butts. Elections require satisfying 50%+1 of several hundred thousand residents in a county.

          BIG difference.

          • Are you alleging that the Middle District of Georgia’s US Attorney’s Office was mismanaged during the eight years Max Wood served that position? You like to beat around the bush, either make your argument or continue being cryptic. But don’t try to discredit what I said because you aren’t backing up your allegations with facts.

            I’m sure there are some folks in Putnam County that would argue that Max did a great job while in his appointed office.

            • Ryan says:

              In business the measure of a great business is not whether someone started from the ground up and earned the support of its customers vs. buying an already existing franchise and relying on previous experience. The success is measure by the product.

              Max’s product is a great career as a lawyer who faithfully served his tenure as a Federal Attorney. He might have been appointed, but when He left the office, the position was in no less shape than when he was appointed. Most would argue that it was left in a better position than before.

            • Mozart says:

              As well as I’m sure there are people in Putnam County who think John Oxendine did a great job as IC and think he hung the moon.

              My point was WHO knows what kind of job he really did as there appears to be no objective measures applied to the US attorney position?

              Do you know what “objective” means? It doesn’t mean the heresay opinions of residents in a county.

              • I know quite well what objective means. I also can read, and see in this discussion this is the first time you’ve used the term objective.

                You alleged that Max didn’t have experience managing a law office, then changed that to there was no method to make sure he did a good job, and now it’s more nuanced and requiring an “objective standard.”

                Look, I’m not discrediting Sam Olens. As I have said, I like the guy and I think he would do a great job in government. But why don’t you start substantiating your allegations.

                Just because a person is elected does not mean they do a good job, it is a poor standard to apply to someone when not supplemented with extrinsic evidence. An elected official may do a horrible job, but have weak opposition. Alternatively, the opposition may be polarizing. Even another scenario could play out with the elected official simply pandering to constituents – like Oxendine that you drug into this. I’m not indicating that any of these are true about Olens.

                What I am, however, suggesting is that your need to disqualify a candidate because they have not been responsible to an electorate before is a poor criteria to base one’s vote without substantial knowledge of how they were elected and how they faired in every election.

                But if that is how you want to vote, go ahead. It is certainly your prerogative. If you want to vote by suit color, that is also ok. Accusing someone of being a “butt kisser” and saying they have never been evaluated is a horse of a different color. If you want to continue that, I’m afraid I can’t respect you.

                • Mozart says:

                  Okay, Ron, clue me in: How does someone obtain a “political” appointment without having kissed some politicians’s rear?

                  • Working on their campaign, or is that butt kissing to you? If my best friend from high school runs for office and appoints me Dog Catcher, does that mean I kissed his butt for it?

                    I’ll be sure to disassociate with anyone with any power of appointment in the future, so I’m not accused of being a butt kisser. Thanks for informing me of the perils I face in the future.

                    • Mozart says:

                      So, to qualify for a political appointment, and, presumably, be qualified for the position, all one has to do is work on someone’s campaign?

                      And people cannot figure out why the GOP is unable to actually succeed in competently managing this country or state…well, it could be because the politicians have such low standards for how they decide who should be appointed to a position.

                    • If you wish to be so cynical, I suppose we can say that.

                      But in this case it is simply not the case. How up to date are you on the selection of US Attorneys? I’m going to assume somewhere in the middle and not cover every finer detail, if I need to retrace my steps for you let me know.

                      The President appoints for a term of four years, then the Senate confirms the appointment. Generally Senators from the districts recommend attorneys, but that is not always the case. When the four years are up, they have to be let go or kept. They can also be removed, remember we had a national controversy after that. Generally you see massive turnover when the Whitehouse and DOJ switch parties.

                      I never said the qualification measuring rod was working for a campaign; that is a distortion. You asked how might one get appointed outside of butt kissing, I provided two alternative avenues. I don’t consider myself a blind follower of anyone, and I think my comments here speak pretty loudly. If Olens gets the primary win I will be voting for him. I presume you will be voting for Telihat or Hodges by your criteria of judging a person’s past accountability to an electorate, but that is a mere assumption so feel free to correct me.

                      I still take issue with you hem hawwing around the issue: substantiate your allegations. Are you saying Max did a bad job? Are you saying he kissed someone’s butt? I’m sure you can find evidence to back up your positions, so let’s see it. Win me over here, really. The floor is yours. But if you want to keep bickering and making allegations that you do not back up, then I’m afraid I will have to leave this dance Maestro. That does nothing but turn off potential voters for either Republican in this race.

  4. hugoblacksupreme says:

    Sam Olens will be a great AG. Managing people and the issues of the state is the most important part of this job.

    Doug. The criminal side of the job is important, but it is not the most important.

    • Ryan says:

      The criminal side is the most important part. Those who are light on crime (and I’m not saying Olens would be) should not hold the position as top prosecutor (in title) of the state of Ga. Max Has very strong credentials in his criminal background as well as in his administrative background while serving as a U.S. Attorney

      • Mozart says:

        The criminal aspects of any crime in this state are handled by the District Attorneys. Or, did you not know that?

        • “The Attorney General is given his authority and obligations by the Georgia Constitution and the Official Code of Georgia. His duties include:

          – Serving as the attorney and legal advisor for all state agencies, departments, authorities and the Governor.
          -Providing opinions on legal questions concerning the State of Georgia or its agencies, which are binding on all state agencies and departments.
          -Representing the State of Georgia in all capital felony appeals before the Supreme Court of Georgia.
          -Representing the State of Georgia in all civil cases before any court.
          -Representing the State of Georgia in all cases appearing before the Supreme Court of the United States.
          -Prosecuting public corruption cases where criminal charges are filed against any person or business for illegal activity when dealing with the State of Georgia.
          -Conducting special investigations into questionable activity concerning any state agency or department or a person or business that has done business with the State of Georgia.
          Initiating civil or criminal actions on behalf of the State of Georgia when requested to do so by the Governor.
          -Preparing all contracts and agreements regarding any matter in which the State of Georgia is involved.

          The Attorney General does not, and indeed by law cannot, provide legal advice to private citizens.”

          According to the Attorney General’s website, you are mistaken.

          • Ryan says:

            Mr. Daniels, it seems to me that in reading this, the criminal aspect of the job of AG as defined by our state constitution seems to standout above the civil aspect….hmmmm???? Like I said, Max has a proven track record of dealing criminals their just rewards all the while, MANAGING an office in which he served as the guiding director for those under him.

            • hugoblacksupreme says:

              You are making this up??? “standout above civil”. Is that some new type of constitutional interpetaiton?

              Look. I am sure Mr. Wood is a fine man and candidate, but this is getting silly.

              • Ryan says:

                In my reading of the section posted by Mr. Daniels I must be missing the point that address that administrative work is the most important part of the job. (which is the point you and Mozart seem to be making)

                Maybe to say that in reading the constitution that criminal is the most important is a bit of a stretch, but within the section I see no where that mentions admin being the most important section. The section appears to focus more on the legal work that the state AG is required to do. It clearly spells out Criminal and Civil.

                Now a more indepth reading of the section could imply that the last section mentioning drafting as admin work, but comparable to the rest of the statute, and given the placement of it within the statute, my interpretation leds me to believe that the primary purpose of the AG in the state is to serve at chief prosecutor before the state SC in all matters criminal and civil

          • Mozart says:

            “-Representing the State of Georgia in all cases appearing before the Supreme Court of the United States.”

            1) How many of those have there been?
            2) How many of them were personally handled by the AG himself? As in, the AG personally spoke to the USSC?

            • Ryan says:

              Check out Bower’s record as AG. oh and by the way, given under statutory construct and interpretation, The framers of the state constitution felt that representation to the SCOTUS was not above representation of criminal matter to the SCOGA and representation in civil matters, which also finds its placement in the constitution prior to any mention of administrative duties.

              One question for you, Has Olens ever served as Managing Partner of any law firm?

              • Mozart says:

                I do not know the answer to that question. I thought someone told me once that he was a partner in a law firm but don’t know the answer to your specific question.

                And…it’s darn difficult to “go check Bower’s record.” Since you and Ron and Doug seem so knowledgeable about what the AG does and does not do, I figured you would know the answer to your own suggestion.

                • Ryan says:

                  You were the one who tried to make the point about an AG not “-Representing the State of Georgia in all cases appearing before the Supreme Court of the United States.”, I was merely pointing out that regardless of how many times it may come up, that the AG is the one to do it and it has been done before.

                  and the answer to my question earlier could be solved by simply checking the man’s bio. He’s never been a managing partner in a law firm. Thus you’re administration arguement at least when it comes to managing a law firm (which is essentually what the AG office is) is somewhat diminished.

                • I’m pretty sure what I stated the AG did is in fact the duties he is responsible for. I copied them from the AG’s website and I’m willing to bet they are nearly verbatim in the State Constitution. It is readily available information that anyone with an internet connection can access. Just Google “Georgia Attorney General” or “Georgia State Constitution”.

                  • Doug Deal says:

                    I think parts of those duties are enacted by statute and only 2-3 of them are in the constitution. The constitution empowers the legislature to create additional duties of the Ag.

              • Progressive Dem says:

                “The framers of the state constitution” …. This document hasn’t exactly stood the test of time. It’s about 30 years old. We not talking Madison, Monroe, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton here.

                • Ryan says:

                  Maybe not, but nonetheless there is a manner in which it can be interpreted that follows the logic that if something is mentioned ahead of another, then those that created the document seemed to feel that the clause prior may hold more importance than that clause following. I think the drafters of the state constitution probably figured that a state AG would be standing before the state supreme court more often than they would before the SCOTUS, therefore that is why the placed the clause dealing with the state supreme court prior to the one dealing with the SCOTUS….but what do I know, i’m just a lowly law student still try to understand the national constitution. lol

  5. hugoblacksupreme says:

    Part. Again “part” of the job of the AG is to manage people and competing interests. He should be able to hire attorneys who have the criminal and civil experience to represent Georgia well. Sam has a strong history of managing people.

    • Doug Deal says:

      So let’s go hire a manager from Walmart. I want a chief law enforcement officer who has enforced the law. I think the voters will agree with me, but perhaps they won’t

      • ByteMe says:

        You’re in the wrong state, Doug. You’re thinking New York, where the AG can sure act like the chief law enforcement officer. Here, the AG is just the legal firm for the state.

        • Doug Deal says:

          You’ve right Byte, the term I meant was chief legal officer.

          It still does not change that Max is more well rounded with his criminal background, especially since ethics reform is such a hot topic, and the AG would be the one responsible for carrying out any prosecutions for malfeasance.

          • hugoblacksupreme says:

            I guess U.S. Attorney Sally Yates can retire now that the AG will be prosecuting “any” malfeasance.

            Keep trying.

            • Ryan says:

              Considering that typically where a U.S. Attorney has jurisdiction to bring charges, so to does a state. The assertion that a state AG could bring suit in any such case. However there are cases in which states are barred from bring charges, so ignoring this and trying to convalute Doug’s arguement is doing nothing for you case hugo.

              • Mozart says:

                And, again I say, it is the job of the District Attorneys to investigate and prosecute most crimes in this state….AND…they do not have to run them by the AG’s office for his approval OR advice.

                So, y’all are still talking in circles about the job of the AG’s office. Because the AG cannot come swooping-in to a DA’s case if he thinks the DA is prosecuting it wrong. He has no jurisdiction.

          • Mozart says:

            Only if the law is written well enough. And, since Sam Olens has more personal experience and knowledge of working with people in this state’s legislature than Woods would, he would know how to improve the laws by helping to identify the problems with the existing laws and find the right people to carry the bill(s) and influence the process.

  6. TheSituation says:

    I have met both Sam and Max multiple times, and I think both will be good Attorney Generals. Face to face, Max has a good energy about him whereas Sam comes off cold. IMO, Sam is just coasting along hoping the primary comes along before Max has had time to spread his message to the voters.

  7. TheSituation says:

    He has raised a ton of money, but he isn’t rocking any boats since he is considered the front runner for the GOP. That’s why he was a little more coy about filing suit against Obamacare. He’s just coasting my friends.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      I’ve heard both Sam and Max say they would file against Obamacare. I’ve heard Sam say he would file to settle the border with TN. I’ve heard Max say he would file to settle the border with TN if he was convinced that there was a problem and a legal reason to do so. (disclaimer, paraphrasing, but that’s what I took from his answer.) Sam said “Yes,” Max said “Maybe.”

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