Hawkins defends donation(s?) to Cleland

Lee Hawkins’ campaign is defending his donation to Max Cleland:

Former state House member Tom Graves of Ranger has latched on to remarks by his opponent, former state senator Lee Hawkins, made at a Dawson County GOP breakfast on Saturday.

Graves has passed around the YouTube clip below, which has Hawkins saying:

“I’ve never voted for a Democratic president. It’s been said I gave money to Max Cleland. I did – ” The Graves video cuts him off there.

But both campaigns were videotaping. So we called the Hawkins campaign for the rest of the quote.

Before he was interrupted, Hawkins said: “….but my wife and I were invited to a birthday party for him in a restaurant. I did not know he was charging money. I’m not used to people charging for a birthday party.”

About the former U.S. senator from Georgia, Hawkins later said, “I admire his service but I don’t agree with his politics.”

FEC records show two donations from Lee Hawkins to Max Cleland. The first for $250 on 6/21/96 and the second for $200 on 9/3/99. There is also a donation to Greg Hecht’s campaign for Congress on 6/28/02.

So, does Max Cleland have two birthdays?


  1. ByteMe says:

    Lots of GravesDiggers™ amongst the FPP. Why do they think a person who commits fraud to get out of paying off a loan should be elected to Federal office?

    And the most worrisome thing about the person who didn’t commit fraud is that he contributed to a Democrat who was a friend of his. The horror! The horror!

    • analogkid says:

      Agreed. It smacks of desperation.

      On the other hand, Hawkins should man up and just admit that he donated money to Cleland. If voters care more about that vis-a-vis alleged fraud it says more about them then it does Hawkins.

  2. Joshua Morris says:

    THOUSANDS to conservative Republicans. Why don’t you list those as well? Then list how much Graves has (or hasn’t) given to Republicans. I guess it’s hard to help conservatives when you’re ‘insolvent’.

    • GeorgiaConservative says:

      They chose to ignore the fact that Lee Hawkins was *Republican* Charlie Norwood’s campaign finance chair… They like to play on only one side of the fence. Let’s compare Hawkins’ contributions to Republicans to Graves’ contributions and we will see who the “real” conservative is…. Anyone care to humor me?

  3. GOPGrassroots says:

    There they go again, trying to divert attention from Lee Hawkins’ liberal record by attacking Tom Graves, the true conservative in this race.

    Tomorrow the Hawkins Horde we be silenced, and they will have no one to blame for their crushing defeat but themselves.

    • Mozart says:

      It’ll be real curious to see if that “liberal” tag still works after all these years.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      It’s funny to me how, to some people, discussing Graves’ record is an attack, while misrepresenting Lee Hawkins is not. The hypocrisy is overwhelming. What’s even funnier is how you’ve been re-hashing the same old lame stories about Lee since the beginning of this race.

      It’s hard when your opponent has a 30+ year record of solid, honest, above board business practice, isn’t it?

  4. Soulja Boy says:

    I’m surprised that so many people on this blog are so shocked in the amount of support the front page shows for Tom Graves and Karen Handel.

    What do you expect? This site is ran by the editor of RedState, the bastion of Conservative thought in the country. Peach pundit routinely supports the more conservative candidates in every race. I think there’s only one Democrat who even posts on the front page.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that the front page would lean toward a more conservative candidate like Graves over the fiscally moderate Hawkins.

    • analogkid says:

      Well, I don’t think anyone is surprised by who they support. It’s just that the FPPs are the ones saying that ethics is the big issue this election cycle. Perhaps they only meant that to apply to the governor race.

      • Icarus says:

        Fair question. I’ve frankly struggled with how and how much to address this issue. I’ll make an attempt here.

        If you google ‘peachpundit’ and ‘who is Icarus’, you’ll get the history of how I got here, why I started blogging, and more relevant to your point, a bit about my background.

        I’ve been in Tom and Chip Rogers shoes. For a variety of reasons, my problems started on the front end of the real estate bubble blow up, whereas there are still a lot of folks that have tried to fight through the past few years. More and more are still losing that battle. There will be other politicians who have these problems. Some already have, and it just hasn’t been as public.

        So, it’s hard for me to criticize Tom for making bad business decisions that I also made. I’ll concede that his situation is far from ideal, and it would be better if it wasn’t an issue in this election.

        But at this stage, this is also still a civil action. “Civil Fraud”, as is charged, is not the same as criminal fraud. It is, as I understand it in this case, an attempt to collect a debt. And I can speak from experience, both as a banker and as a troubled borrower (I’ve been on both sides of that desk), there’s a problem when a bank says they will do one thing, then an FDIC consent order forces another action that is not what was agreed to.

        At that point, you have a civil dispute. Not a fraud.

        There may still be more to this story. There will also be another vote on July 20th, though I doubt there will be a resolution before then.

        But as for today, with what has been disclosed, I stand with Tom Graves, and can unfortunately relate to his postion.

        • AlanR says:

          Your explanation is in itself very telling. Your financial problems, good and bad, are part of your experience and its great that you are willing to share them to help us understand the lawsuit filed against Graves. So far you’ve been more forth coming about your business career than Graves has.

          Graves has used his records as a “small businessman” as part of his resume, part of his qualifications as a representative. Its legitimate for voters to consider his decision making in business. Its a huge part of the experience he brings to congress. There is no disgrace in getting clocked in a business deal as long as you take your lumps and act honorably.

          The problem with Graves is that no where during the course of his campaign did he ever bother to mention what his business is. He has been described in various threads here as a developer, and a builder. What has he developed? What has he built? If he had a record to be proud of it would be front and center.

          The first mention of any occupation or business activity for Graves was when Hawkins sent out the mailer and we learned that Graves owns a motel, and was involved in litigation over the sale. We next learn that he is being sued by his bank.

          Then we learn that he really doesn’t own the motel anymore, and anyway it was used by his church to help people. All of which had to be pried out of news accounts in between no comments from Rogers and pronouncements that everything is legal from lawyers. Always reassuring to know that no matter how bad it looks, its legal.

          To be in business is to be sued. You win some and you lose some. What we’re not getting is a straight story. Icarus, I’d vote for you because you’ve taken your lumps and learned your lessons the hard way and have been straight up about it.

          Can you say the same about Tom Graves?

        • ByteMe says:


          The civil fraud is to take assets that you told the bank you had in order to obtain a loan and then intentionally move those assets to a semi-independent entity to keep the bank from seizing those assets to collect on the loan. That has nothing really to do with the bad business decisions, that’s a conscious decision to defraud the bank of its money. That is the type of person you are standing with.

          And then there’s the part where the Teabaggers are backing a person who late in the campaign revealed his business intentionally sought and received Federal stimulus money. Which party in that endorsement is being hypocritical is certainly a good debate topic. Not so much fraud in that one, but certainly an intent to deceive his backers.

        • analogkid says:


          I appreciate your response. I’ve read your “Who is Icarus?” post a couple times before, and I think you have a compelling story, and one that I can sympathize with if nothing else.

          I have to say, though, that I’m a bit confused by the distinction you draw between civil and criminal. I’m guessing you mean that McBerry and Deal engaged in criminal acts, whereas Graves is being sued by a non-government entity for “civil” fraud. The fact is however that none of them have been tried, nor have any of them been found guilty or had any adverse judgments (or “judgements” for the Hawkins fans).

          I think you see where I’m going. At this point, you have three candidates, all of whom are accused of serious legal errors. It seems like it should be “Innocent until proven guilty” for all candidates, or, “guilty until proven innocent” for all candidates.

  5. Romegaguy says:

    Is it true Graves’ “Victory party” will be at the Meth 6 in Calhoun? I heard it was BYOC (bring your own crank)

    • HowardRoark says:

      If I lived in CD-9, I probably vote for Graves…but I gotta admit. That’s funny.

  6. benevolus says:

    I know this is only tangentially related, but should Eric Johnson return the donation from Lester Jackson?

  7. debbie0040 says:

    Herman Cain endorses Tom Graves and states Graves did travel with im and John Linder on behalf of FairTax. Robo call that went out.
    Congressman Paul Ryn also endorses Tom Graves…

  8. one n done says:

    It is clear you haven’t heard the robo-call so i suggest you stop bringing it up. I will try and make this as clear as possible. Linder recognizes in the robo-call that Graves went to MO, the purpose of Linders phone call was to show everyone that Tom was not being genuine in his stump speech by saying “I traveled the nation with John Linder advocating the fairtax”. Had Tom said “I traveled to MO with John Linder speaking on behalf of the fairtax” which I heard him say verbatim on the radio today than Linder never would have felt the need to make the call. Linder was making the point that going to MO and back is not traveling the nation or going on any sort of tour. Anyone with an attached brain-stem can gather that when listening to the call, unless you have drunk the kool-aid of course.

    Clear enough?

  9. one n done says:

    Can anyone tell me what Ronald Reagan was doing before he saw the light? Working democratic campaigns or something?

  10. debbie0040 says:

    One, I heard the call. Linder called Tom a liar and his purpose was to damage Tom and help Hawkins. Linder listened to the advise of the wrong people on that call and it damaged his credibility. Anyone with a brain stem can gather that all of the negative campaigning from the Hawkins camp has back fired . Look at all the endorsements from well respected Congressmen that Graves has garnered. Congressman Ryan endorsed him yesterday.

    My, my aren’t you touchy resorting to attacks on me now?

    Ronald Reagan became a staunch conservative that was not afraid to stand up for conservative values. Don’t even think about comparing Reagan to Hawkins…

    • ByteMe says:

      Tom may or may not be a liar.

      He is most definitely a fraud. I notice you never actually address the legal issues against him except to claim that it’s mud from his opponent. That’s quite telling about your level of confidence in Graves being an ethical party in his legal conflict.

  11. HowardRoark says:

    The story here is less about the donations and more about the obviously false answers. Anyone know when Greg Hecht’s b-day is? Or if he has two like Cleland. Is that a democrat thing, two birthdays?

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