When Senators (Who Want To Be Insurance Commissioner) Fight

The Senate is usually a fairly close knit group…until two Senators want the same thing. Today, Seth Harp has called out his fellow Senator Ralph Hudgens to be “open and honest” and “abide by the law”. Harp would like Hudgens actions to match his rhetoric. From his press release:

(Columbus) – Senator Seth Harp (R-Midland) released a statement calling on Ralph Hudgens, one of his opponents in the Insurance Commissioner’s race to provide proof to voters that he has done the right thing in regards to Hudgens’ illegally transferred campaign funds that clearly violated Georgia law. Last spring, Hudgens improperly transferred over $100,000 from his State Senate account to his Insurance Commissioner’s campaign account.

Harp stated, “I’ve talked to Senator Hudgens multiple times, as have other Georgia leaders urging him to abide by the law. Each time he assured us the issue was being addressed. However, this problem has not been resolved and Senator Hudgens refuses to rectify it and acknowledge he has broken the law. With the election just over a week away, Georgia voters deserve to know the truth about his campaign funds. Georgia law requires campaign disclosures so voters can make informed decisions about who will lead this state. Now is the time for Senator Hudgens to come clean with the voters and return all of the money, as well as produce a copy of the consent order and a paper trail detailing the return of these illegally transferred funds.”

“The citizens of Georgia demand a Commissioner of Insurance who will run the Office with ethics, integrity and transparency. The State of Georgia will not tolerate another Insurance Commissioner plagued with ethical problems.”

The Ethics in Government Act outlines campaign disclosure law for candidates seeking public office in Georgia. Hudgens transferred funds from his State Senate campaign account into his Commissioner of Insurance campaign account in clear violation of the Act.

Senator Harp is a former Marine, having volunteered to serve in combat in Vietnam, and also a former J.A.G. prosecutor. Harp’s parents instilled in him a commitment to serve others and, regardless of whether you’ve been told to, to always “do the right thing.”

A resident of Muscogee County, Seth is married to Linda Collins Harp of Camilla, Georgia and they have two married daughters, Mary Rebecca Dick and Leslee Shannon (and three grandchildren). The Harps are members of Wynnton United Methodist Church in Columbus where they have taught Sunday school.

18 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    A very well written post again Icarus.

    As many of you know I am dyslexic and it may just be me but does this hurt Hodges. I get the two names confused all the time.

  2. polisavvy says:

    If Hudgens has not corrected the problem with improperly transferred money by now, it’s a little too late for damage control. Would someone please correct me if I’m wrong; but, if you have monies collected from one race and then want to transfer the money to another race, don’t you have to, in essence, have a “check swap” with the donors from the previous race? If that’s not the procedure, would someone please tell me what is the procedure. Anybody? Anybody? Thanks for any information.

    • JRM2016 says:

      Yes. An individual donor must be reimbursed the donation from the prior campaign. Then that donor may write a new check to the campaign for the new office. But a wholesale transfer from campaign account to campaign account is not allowed by existing law.

  3. georgiahack says:

    From looking at the disclosures, the problem is (I think) that he just made the 106k in illegal contributions go away. He amended his original report to make it look like he never took them and showed no refunds back to the original donors. This seems strange to me, though I can’t imagine that he would have done this without the direction of the Ethics Commission staff. Then again, I couldn’t believe that a legislator of 12 years and committee head would have been stupid enough to just transfer over the contributions in the first place.

  4. GARepublican2010 says:

    Good statement from Senator Harp. In a downticket race like this, especially when there are so many candidates, it’s good for the Senator (Harp, that is) to call out any ethical shenanigans that are going on in other campaigns.

  5. I won’t be voting for Sen. Hudgens, but I’m not sure why the other candidates snipe at him so much. Do they have survey data that show Hudgens is a frontrunner? (Or is it just a money thing?) If not, why waste time beating up on a third or fourth place candidate?

    Between Purcell, Sheffield, Harp, et al, I’d be surprised if Hudgens is enjoying any type of plurality.

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