PolitiFact Georgia on Clay Cox

Don’t send out a mailer decrying “socialism” and bragging about how you “helped balance the state’s budget” if you don’t want to get called on this:

A rousing campaign mailer lists the 7th Congressional District candidate’s credentials. It says [Clay] Cox has “real-world” experience balancing budgets, both as a successful businessman and a state representative:

“For six years, I served our community as a conservative state legislator. In every one of those years, I helped balance the state’s budget.”

So Cox helped balance the state budget?

Well, of course. So did the state’s 235 other legislators.

The state Constitution requires the Legislature to balance the budget. Consider Article III, Section IX, Paragraph IV:

“The General Assembly shall not appropriate funds for any given fiscal year which, in aggregate, exceed a sum equal to the amount of unappropriated surplus expected to have accrued in the state treasury at the beginning of the fiscal year together with an amount not greater than the total treasury receipts from existing revenue sources anticipated to be collected in the fiscal year, less refunds, as estimated in the budget report and amendments thereto.”

PolitiFact Georgia also notes:

Cox’s claim was misleading. Not only did he leave out the crucial fact that balancing the state’s budget is a legislator’s duty. He and his colleagues “helped” pass a budget that’s reliant on money from the federal government, which is deep in debt. In effect, Georgia’s in the black thanks in large part to the deficit spending Cox rails against.

In other words, the state Constitution requires a balanced budget.

The FY 2011 budget, which Cox “helped balance,” is over $38.5 billion with $12.8 billion in funding from Washington. That’s sort of funny because Cox was also a co-signer on a resolution claiming state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment.

In no way do I disagree with states asserting the Tenth Amendment, I just wish the Republican caucus would, you know, actually do it.


  1. AnyoneElse2010 says:

    I think this is kinda petty. I mean whether or not it is a Constitutional requirement he did help balance the budget. And so what if there is some federal money in that budget. You can hate the reckless spending all you want, but if Georgians are still paying taxes to big brother I say at least get your money’s worth. I hate the reckless spending and the unfair taxation, but I would be even more upset if I paid my taxes and then out of the blue the Gov’t said “Thanks for paying, but you will not see any return.”

    Yeah this is a little pointless.

  2. one n done says:

    So this letter is agreeing with Clay Cox? Just because something is required to do doesn’t mean you did it any less. He said “I helped balance the state budget every year” which he did…the fact that it is in the state constitution just says that he fulfilled his obligations as a state senator. Almost every candidate I have looked into that was previously in the General Assembly has said this this year.

    I’ll have to agree with Anyoneelse, was he supposed to stand up and say “don’t use any federal money that is coming to us anyways to balance the state budget, which is was we are constitutionally forced to do”, because if he had done that I would have called him a moron since it would make it practically impossible to balance the budget.

    Jason, who do you like in the 7th? Seriously, I haven’t found anyone worth a darn in that race yet so I’d like to hear from others…

  3. I Am Jacks Post says:

    While we’re discussing PolitiFact, it’s worth pointing out that these two PolitiFact fact-checks didn’t make the front page:

    PolitiFact says Doug MacGinnitie is an idiot:


    PolitiFact says Karen Handel is a “liar, liar, pants on fire”:


    • BuckheadConservative says:

      Brian Kemp has spent the last 8 years or either in political office or trying to get into a better one (any one. Regardless of function or qualifications, just an office puhleeeeezzzeee). I’d qualify him as an unsucessful career politician. Real winner.

      I would LOVE to evaluate Brian Kemp on his merits as a businessman but I can’t find a shred of information about it online. Sure, he’s a small business owner but is he a good one? How can we know?

      • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

        I’m probably not going to vote for Kemp in the primary, but let me understand this.

        Mac-G is condemning Kemp for being a career politician even though Mac-G is hoping to win an election to be a politician? So what’s he going to do? Serve one day then resign so he won’t be considered a career politician? At what point does one become classified as a career politician?

        I just don’t understand that tactic. It would be better to just say, “hey, this guys been in office forever and nothing has improved (I’m looking at you Deal).

        • BuckheadConservative says:

          I see what you’re saying. I think the idea is to get some new blood, fresh ideas in there. Certainly a couple of different ways to say it.

            • BuckheadConservative says:

              It’s a popluar theme this year. However, I’m afraid folks are looking for new folks, but not “brand new just out of college folks”

              • Fred Smulavich says:

                Sure would be interesting. I’m not supporting Chuck, but he seems like a decent guy. If it was a runoff between him and Cox I would undoubtedly support Chuck.

              • polisavvy says:

                There are a lot of “brand new just out of college folks” who could actually do a pretty good job. I’m beginning to think that fresh, new ideas is exactly what we are needing. Let’s face it, the “experienced long out of college folks” don’t always make the best choices either, do they?

      • EllisArnall says:

        “Kemp, 46, however, has been a developer and in the real estate business since he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1987. Even when he served in the Legislature, Kemp (drawing an annual government salary of about $17,000) maintained his interest in the development game. Last year, Kemp started a manufacturing business, campaign officials said. He claims a net worth of nearly $6.3 million. Kemp will make about $120,000 this year as secretary of state and about $100,000 from his business interests, said his campaign manager, Tim Fleming.”

        From: http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2010/jun/20/doug-macginnitie/candidate-calls-opponent-career-politician/

  4. Populus says:

    Clay Cox is a politician’s politician. It is unbelievable to hear him, and other former legislators, take credit for every “good” thing that happens in the State Legislature. Sitting up and pressing a “yea” or “nay” button does not make you a leader. The budget is a bill that is painstakingly hammered out in the appropriations committee. Whether the bill was good or bad can be debated, but the men and women on the appropriations committee can take credit for that bill. Clay Cox is not a member of that committee, which is made up of 70 or so House Legislators. He just followed his leadership and voted the way they wanted him too. Clay is not a leader, he’s a sheep, and Washington is full of people just like him.

    • BuckheadConservative says:

      I agree. Everyone is quick to list themselves as a “leader” reguardless of merit. Take for example Brian Kemp. Guy did little more than wear his nametag right side up for 4 years and then brands himself as a “leader” and “well respected state Senator” and starts running statewide for anything and everything. Laughable.

      • B Balz says:

        “…guy did little more than wear his nametag right side up for 4 years…”

        Couldn’t care less about Kemp/Mac G race but that is funny.

  5. ga775 says:

    1) You folks that say, “well, we are already paying it to the federal gov’t so we may as well get a return” are the same folks that hoot and holler when Cox stands up and declares he will vote no on every earmark while your tax dollars sail away to San Francisco and Chicago.

    2) This is petty? Saying Cox helped balanced the budget with $13 billion in federal money is like saying I balanced my family budget by taking out a $2 million dollar loan.

      • Fred Smulavich says:

        Er, let me clarify that. I agree with your statement, but the reasons I don’t think he should be in Congress is that he seems very… “in it for himself.”

        I’ve heard him speak twice, and he reeks of being a pandering master second only to the Oxortunist. Not to mention that horrendous ad…

    • debbie0040 says:

      Atlanta Tea Party endorsed others that did not donate one dime and others donated 2,000 that did not receive endorsements. Quit making ridiculous accusations. You sound just like the left. You would not be complaining if we had endorsed a candidate you supported. You are like a child in the school yard throwing a temper tantrum because he did not get his way. Grow up..

        • debbie0040 says:

          MacGinnitie. He donates for almost every event we have . We had other candidates that donated 500.00 and above as well and did not receive endorsements and others that received endorsements that have never donated one dime. In fact, most of the candidates we endorsed have never donated one dime . You should actually check your facts before you start making wild , untrue accusations.

          • Populus says:

            Concerned voters want to know:
            We all understand from your repeated posts that you were not bought off. But anyone that is paying attention to this race knows that Clay Cox is the antithesis of what the Tea Party stands for. Concerned voters want to know why the Atlanta Tea Party supports such a candidate. We’ve seen repeatedly on the Pundit that the Tea party was not bought off, but we have never seen a defense of why you have supported Rep. Cox. But I do know what Rep. Cox has supported: bills he introduced to benefit his private business, a hospital bed tax on Georgia’s tax payers. Clay Cox has gotten away with political shenanigans that the Tea Party professes to abhor, but yet you have still endorsed him as a Congressional candidate. Your integrity is in jeopardy. If not money then what motivates the Tea Party, certainly not conservatism.

  6. one n done says:

    Ill ask my question again, Are there only candidates you would never vote for in the 7th or is there at least one or two decent candidates?

    • TidePrideGA says:

      Personally, I’m voting for Clay. The thing about a party primary is that ideologically, the candidates are all going to agree* (or say they do) on 90% of the issues so the little differences like experience in the GA are what they use. I don’t care about that. I care about who the candidate is and why he wants to go there. I’ve had several lengthy conversations with Clay and I happen to believe he’s in it for the right reasons. Just because one of his opponents is accusing him of stealing the Gold Dome fleck by fleck doesn’t make it so.

      And it’s Chuck Efstration saying repeatedly he’ll never vote for an earmark. I haven’t heard Clay say that (which doesn’t mean he hasn’t – I just haven’t heard it).

      *Except when one of them stands before the Conservative Republican Women of Gwinnett County and tells them he’s pro-choice… when the question wasn’t even asked. That was a bit… odd.

      • “I’ve had several lengthy conversations with Clay and I happen to believe he’s in it for the right reasons.”

        Fair enough, but he’s clearly never discussed with you what he did with his power– HB 619 and 622. His “right reasons” for being there were to advance his own wealth. That’s scary enough in the state legislature. It’s terrifying to send him to Washington to do the same thing, only with a little experience on how better to cover it up the next time he attempts this sort of legislation that is so clearly self-serving.

        His campaign rhetoric is the same sort of self-serving, disingenuous plattitudes. He claims to have accomplished something when the reality is (as the article above details) he and every fellow legislator were legally OBLIGATED to perform that budget balancing. He claims to have cut spending, when the current economic situation REQUIRED deep fiscal cuts, but then he also took ONE THIRD of that money to balance the budget from the federal government! All the while he hands out flyers about Efstration explicitly calling Efstrtion a “liar” but not explaining what Efstration has lied about.

        For anyone whose been at the latest debates, you’ll note Clay won’t talk about these issues in the open. He talks about them privately when no one can call him out, and he hands out surreptitious flyers with his “defense,” but I’ve yet to hear him explain in a public forum, online, or anywhere in public how he can justify his actions in these three regards.

        • TidePrideGA says:

          “Fair enough, but he’s clearly never discussed with you what he did with his power– HB 619 and 622.”

          Clearly? You honestly think that it’s clear that I’ve had several lengthy discussions with Rep. Cox regarding where or not I would offer my support and did NOT discuss 619 and 622? I guess I’m also confused how a flyer handed out openly in public forums is “surreptitious” (which means done clandestinely or with stealth)?

          I’m a big believer in “follow the money”. You state that these bills were introduced to advance Rep. Cox’s own wealth, but I have yet to discover exactly how that would be accomplished, i.e. what aspect of them would have caused vast sums of money to flow to him or the private probation firm of which he is CEO. Particularly when 622 would have established registration fees where none now exist. If I find such a trail, I will reconsider.

          I’m not a Clay Cox apologist. I am simply saying that I have done extensive research into the candidates (including into 619 and 622) and I am comfortable, very comfortable in fact, supporting Rep. Cox as my next Congressman.

  7. GaConservative23 says:

    Dumb hit piece. So he’s a liar by saying that he helped balance the state budget, when he, in fact, worked in the GA that balanced a state budget? A constitutional amendment requiring it doesn’t make his claim any less true. Is this all you guys have to go on?

  8. DriveByDawg says:

    I’ve had the opportunity to see all the candidates several times at these little “forums” in the last few weeks. The feeling I get when Clay speaks is that all of his answers are “Barely True.”

    I was at the CRW event this week and got the flyer that his posse handed out to supposedly explain his position with respect to HB’s 619 and 622. From my point of view, if a legislator conceives, writes and introduces legislation, he/she had every intent that it would be made law. Just because it doesn’t make it out of committee, and just because you write some later version of the bill that was “filed with the committee but not available online,” doesn’t give that legislator a pass. And frankly, it is insulting to the voters of the 7th that he thinks we are dumb enough to believe it. A guest editorial in the “Rome News Tribune” from 2009 entitled “Legal but Not Ethical paraphrased State Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham who said that legal is the lowest definition of what’s right. The subject matter of this editorial just happens to include HB’s 619 and 622.


    For anyone who has been paying attention to this race, it’s not just Chuck who has been making these points. He’s certainly the only one who has been willing to say it without mincing words and so is the one taking the most heat back from Clay, but with each passing day, every one of the other candidates are beginning to make the points too – just in more subtle ways.

    Tide – I won’t swear to it since I haven’t listened to every word out of his mouth but I can not recall Clay saying he wouldn’t vote or ask for an earmark. And since Chuck continues to say he’s the “only” candidate who will make that promise and none of the other 7 have made any attempt to counter that, I would be inclined to think he has not said it. That leads me to believe that he agrees with those, like John Linder, who say that some earmarks are good and don’t understand that all spending should be out in the open instead of slipped into an unrelated bill (even Military spending projects). Linder recently touted the Hwy 316 interchange and the funds spent to re-open the Olympic tennis center at Hwy 78 as good earmarks. No one can argue that the 316 project wasn’t important but it absolutely could have been included in an actual budget bill, or could have been a 2-3 page bill all by itself, but who the heck actually thinks that the money spent on the tennis center is actually going to produce anything good for the south end of Gwinnett County?

  9. TidePrideGA says:

    “That leads me to believe that he agrees with those, like John Linder, who say that some earmarks are good and don’t understand that all spending should be out in the open instead of slipped into an unrelated bill”

    I can’t speak for Clay here (heck, I can’t speak for Clay at all – I’m just voting for him, not working for him) as I haven’t discussed earmarks specifically with him, although I have discussed them extensively with Chuck. This is just my own personal feeling about this issue: 1. All earmarks are bad for the reasons you state; 2. All spending should be done in the open; 3. Appropriation bills for widgets shouldn’t have earmarks for kumquats (same applies to pork legislation which is another side of the same coin). Period. End of story.

    However, here’s my problem with Chuck’s blanket “I will never vote for a piece of legislation that has an earmark”. Under our current Federal appropriations system, wrong-headed as it most assuredly is, ALL appropriations legislation has earmarks, some in the thousands. If you never vote for an appropriations bill with earmarks, you will never vote for an appropriations bill. Period. Not for defense, not for anything. I’m not sure that’s the best way to represent me in Congress.

    If a candidate comes out and says he will make it a priority to fight to change the earmark system, I’m 1000% on board. If he says flat out he’ll never, ever vote for a bill with earmarks under our current system? Not so much.

    • Lady Thinker says:


      I live in Gwinnett and I am still undecided on who to vote for in this race. Why are you supporting Clay Cox when there seems to be so much controversy?

      I know one person I will not vote for. Several of the women in the group I was with tried to talk to Dr. Jody Hice, but he turned his back on us to talk to some guy. We researched him and wondered if his religious beliefs mean women are second class so we emailed him and asked his if he was intentionally ignoring women and he never responded, so the thirty of us men and women in the group will not be voting for him.

        • Lady Thinker says:

          Thanks for the link. I have to find the time to do the research because I am voting in the first week of July. Who are you supporting or do you live in Gwinnett?

          I also have to research the PSC office. I know I am not supporting Echols and I have heard both good and bad about Douglas but I need to spend more time on the rest.

        • debbie0040 says:

          Populus, Cox did not vote for the bed tax. You and others are deliberately distorting the facts and it is disgusting and DISHONEST! Some candidates don’t have a plan or anything positive to offer so they just attack, attack. That turns voters off. It has certainly disgusted me.. You and others have spread vicious rumors about ATP endorsement of Clay that have no basis in fact, but that did not stop you guys. You are distorting facts about introducing bills that would benefit his company.

          Even AFP rate Clay as voting 100% the right way on key bills this past session. STOP distorting the facts. The more you guys are dishonest with your attacks, the more it draws voters to Clay. Look what happened with Nikki in SC.


          Clay does have a conservative record so we know how he would vote. We are not taking a chance of him going to DC then voting like a RINO. Atlanta Tea Party stands by their endorsement of Clay without apology .

          Populus, it is clear that you and FortesInquitFortunaIuvat are associated with a campaign so please stop pretending. It is pretty obvious…

          • Jason says:

            Personally, I’m disappointed to see tea party groups endorsing candidates at all, let alone a questionable one like Clay Cox.

            Then again, I’ve been disappointed in the movement for awhile now. You guys pretty much do whatever the Republican establishment asks you to do, nevermind principles. I mean really, what sort of organization that claims to be so fiscally conservative lets a TARP-backer like Herman Cain and politicians that voted for tax hike speak at its rallies?

            • debbie0040 says:

              You guys in the Liberatarian Party expected the tea party movement to help make the Libertarian Party a viable third party that had a chance at victory and when that did not happen, you started your attacks. A big case of sour grapes…

              You must have your head in the sand not to see the GOP establishment candidates that have been defeated because of the tea parties. The tea parties help propel Rand Paul to victory, defeated RINO Bob Bennett and may other establishment candidates..Get your facts straight before you start whining about the tea parties being controlled by the GOP establishment. That is absolutely not true…

              • Jason says:

                Um, no. That’s not why I’m disappointed with you guys. I’m disappointed that you let Republicans that pushed a big government agenda define what was once a principled movement. I can tell you in all honesty that I never looked to the tea party movement for a place to grow the LP. I’ve viewed the tea party movement as just another place for Republicans to beat up on Obama since Newt Gingrich got involved. He was part of the problem, and still is in many aspects.

                You should know this because of conversations we’ve had in the past. You’re not being honest.

              • Jason says:

                Since you ignored it, I’ll ask again: What sort of organization that claims to be so fiscally conservative lets a TARP-backer like Herman Cain and politicians that voted for/and or support tax hikes speak at its rallies?

                • one n done says:

                  Im starting to see a trend here between Clay Cox, Tom Graves, Herman Cain.
                  Also, “Even AFP rate Clay as voting 100% the right way on key bills this past session…Clay does have a conservative record so we know how he would vote. We are not taking a chance of him going to DC then voting like a RINO” – Thats weird, Hawkins has a 100% rating as well from the AFP

          • Scarlett O'Hara says:

            You’re right, Clay voted “no” on the bed tax both times it came up as stand-alone legislation. But the bed tax was included (along with all the huge increased user fees on court system filings and copy work that the courts are now planning to ignore) when he voted “yes” to the budget as HB948. I assume he knew the bed tax was in it, the rest of the living world did, so I have to wonder how he thinks we should not hold him accountable for that vote. 52 other legislators voted “no” to the budget including 4 Republicans (I think 2 were actually on the appropriations committee and knew the budget was bad). Clay could have voted “no” even if just for political cover and to make good on his pledge not to vote for a tax increase. He didn’t.

          • Populus says:

            Debbie, Debbie, Debbie:
            1) I am in no way affiliated with any campaign, and have yet to decide on a candidate. I am simply a concerned voter. So, “quit making ridiculous accusations” and “get your facts straight” (your words, sweetheart). And from the looks of your posts you have received more money from Clay Cox ($2,000) than I have from all other district 7 candidates combined. So if anybody is on a candidates payroll it’s you.
            2) Was the bed tax included in the final budget or not? You don’t have to answer that, we all already know the answer. Did Clay sign a pledge not to raise taxes on his constituents? You don’t have to answer that either.
            3) Why do you refuse to address the bills that Rep. Cox introduced to benefit his personal business?
            4) How does addressing a man’s political record tantamount to spreading “vicious rumors”. No one is insinuating extramarital affairs or illegitimate children. Only his official, documented record. These are the facts, and they are undisputed. Your defense of Clay Cox is paper thin. Just like your credibility.
            People are fed up with politics as usual, but they will be even more fed up with opportunist like you taking advantage of them.

            • reaganrev4 says:

              Wo, wo, wo Populus, you have provided far too sound of an argument for her to respond. You know Debbie’s tricks, she won’t answer unless she can pick out one sentence that will help her…you haven’t done that…your fault sir.

              Debbie, can you provide one way your Atlanta Tea Party is different from the establishment GOP? Because you have endorsed an establishment GOP slate…as far as im concerned you are the Fulton County GOP but you use Atlanta Tea Party because it sounds sexier these days

      • debbie0040 says:

        Dr. Hice is a retired pastor and I think you will find his supporters from Barrow county follow him just about everywhere.

        We support Clay because he does have a conservative voting record so we know how he will vote in DC. There will be no surprises… We can not afford surprises now. We know that he will not be a John McCain Republican….

      • I will give Hice the benefit of the doubt having not had that kind of negative personal experience with him personally. However, that’s regrettable and indicative of what has always concerned me about his candidacy: he cares about his base in this race, and boosting his collection plate contributions in this more than actually going on to lead the district and the nation.

        Cox’s career as a politcian shows he is a hollow shell. He’s played games for some time now with is General Assembly vote. I’ve studied all of his sponsored bills available on the GA website. There are many votes he made that showed his committment to low taxes, and fiscal restraint.

        Those are the easy votes. The tough votes, well, I haven’t ever seen him take any leadership position on those. That’s fine in the GA, but its not convincing me for a vote of national importance.

        More troubling, without question, are the proactive measures he’s taken to benefit himself. To those still showing their supporter, I suggest to you HB 619 and HB 622 are public record. His public reaction after he was called out on these bills is well documented in regional newspapers. He has yet to publicly explain or justify this unethical behavior.

        Because of that, frankly I don’t give a d-mn what kind of fiscal restraint votes he’s made. He’s not trustworthy. He’s risky. He’s motivated strictly out of self-interest.

        So be it. I don’t castigate him as an evil person. Perhaps some would and should, but its frankly too difficult to constantly be disappointed by yet another politician’s politician playing the game. But his documented track record of dishonesty is an indication of his disloyalty to the voters of the 102nd. That’s the record I care about.

        A candidate with a good record is a good attribute. A candidate with a questionable record is not worthy of my vote. A candidate whose documented record shows his drafting, sponsoring, and voting efforts are primarily directed at his private enterprise is tragic.

        Amazing. All of that without collateral attack directed at fellow message board posters calling them liars or a crying child on the playground.

        • debbie0040 says:

          Excuse me, I would advise you to look at your posts and what you accused the Atlanta Tea Party of doing. I just reacted to your attacks. You have no problem attacking someone but don’t like being attacked back…

        • one n done says:

          she also doesn’t like it when people make sound, logical arguments with facts against her guy

          • DriveByDawg says:

            None of the “insiders” around him like it when he is questioned either. And I’m not just talking about his paid minions and volunteers, I’m talking about the GOP “insiders” who have all endorsed him and will rake someone over the coals for even suggesting that any one of the other 7 in this race are better choices. I personally watched one of his supporters get in the face of another candidate’s staff member about a month ago. Told me all I needed to know.

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