It looks like the GOP primary for Agriculture Commissioner is getting ugly:
Conservative Republican Candidate Darwin Carter, Alma, GA has filed Tuesday, June 15,2010 an Ethics Complaint against CEO/Lobbyist Gary Black for failure to disclose the use of his office as CEO/Lobbyist for the Georgia Agribusiness Council (Not-for-Profit) to run for Commissioner of Agriculture. Additionally, Carter charges that Black’s Lobbying firm, Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC) is a non profit 501c6 corporation and according to the IRS should pay taxes on their extensive partisan political work. However, Carter said, “they have failed to do so.” “They are breaking the law”. “Besides filing this complaint, I have also notified the IRS of Black’s violations.”
Gary Black, a registered lobbyist for Georgia Agribusiness Council for the last 20 years, ran unsuccessfully against Legendary Democrat Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin in 2006. Democrat Irvin beat Black by over 330,000 votes and is retiring after 48 years of public service. A similar complaint was filed against Black by then Republican candidate Deanne Strickland in 2006 which was never resolved by the State Ethics Commission. Perdue Appointee and candidate Brian Kemp, current Secretary of State was also a candidate in the 2006 Republican primary against Black.
The Chairman of Black’s non-compliant lobbying firm is David Skinner. He is seriously conflicted because he also serves as the highly paid Executive Director of the Georgia Development Authority. Governor Perdue has signed legislation and has issued Executive Orders to assure us that the work of our government will be transparent. His words on ethics have been pointed and frankly inspiring. But with that said what I don’t accept is how a state employee is allowed to serve as chairman of Black’s lobbying firm, a lobbying firm I might add, that is in total violation of the IRS tax code.