Senate GOP Incumbents To Transparency: “EFF. YOU.”

July 12, 2012 13:58 pm

by Charlie · 25 comments

An ethics complaint is being filed today by State Senate Candidate Steve Voshall regarding mailpieces that have been sent praising Boshall’s opponent, incumbent State Senator Jack Murphy (R-Failed Bank).  The mailpieces are from a group called “Georgia Republican Senate Caucus Promotion PAC”.  This “PAC” is not actually a political action committee at all, but in fact has registered as a independent political committee.  This has a specific meaning as an IPC has transparency requirements for income and expenditures at the first dollar.

While Voshall is leading the charge by filing the first complaint, other challengers to Senate Republican incumbents report having the same group involved in their races.  Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has been the beneficiary of SEVEN! mailpieces from this group, while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bill Heath has received at least five on his behalf.  Murphy has received at least 3 and possibly a 4th hitting today.  These are the only three campaigns that Peach Pundit has thus far contacted, other Senate GOP incumbents may be receiving the same.

Even if this IPC were registred as a PAC, there is a $25,000 threshold where expenditures must be disclosed.  No disclosures have thus been filed according to the State Campaign Finance and Transparency Commission.

Senate Republicans spent most of last session defeating ethics reform attempts on the basis that “TRANSPARENCY” was all that was needed to keep elected officials honest.

Now, in the grips of tightly contested re-election campaigns, someone – who just registered this new “PAC” on 5/17/2012, is spending a significant amount of money to protect incumbent Senators without any trace of the identity of the operators or the donors.

Michael Luethy, a North Carolina political consultant  is registered as the agent for the PAC, using a UPS Mailbox store address in Grayson Georgia as the address of the PAC.  Luthy’s name is the full extent of “transparency” that these Senate incumbents have chose to express over these mailpieces.

Peach Pundit welcomes a response from the Senators regarding who is paying for these pieces, and who is behind the PAC.  We would also welcome real ethics reform that puts teeth into “transparency” next fall.

Charlie July 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Excerpts from candidate Steve Voshall via press release:

“After all of the financial trouble that has plagued Sen. Jack Murphy, it is outright arrogance that he would have a secret group to fund his campaign,” said Steve Voshall. “This is the kind of good old boy politics that I am running against.”

Voshall, who founded the Forsyth County Tea Party, said cronyism like this is the reason he became politically active.

“Jack Murphy has more than financial troubles, he is having political troubles at home,” said Voshall. “He has tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the people he represents long enough.”

The group has sent three pieces of mail costing thousands of dollars promoting Jack Murphy as a good Senator. They have not only funded him in secret, without filing a disclosure, there is also reason to believe that the group is coordinating with Murphy’s campaign.

Said Voshall, “The mail pieces being sent by Jack Murphy’s campaign and the mail being sent by this group are using the same photos and rhetoric. There is no explanation how they would have the same information and photos unless they were coordinating, which is illegal under Georgia Law.”

CobbGOPer July 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

“There is no explanation how they would have the same information and photos unless they were coordinating, which is illegal under Georgia Law.”

Pretty sure that’s illegal under federal law as well…

Calypso July 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

“Peach Pundit welcomes a response from the Senators…”

And I welcome a response from Angelina Jolie.

Neither one has a snowball’s chance in hell of happening.

Three Jack July 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

++++ good one calypso.

Bob Loblaw July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

+1. Now that was funny.

I wonder if Citizens United may have paved the way for this type of advocacy?

Calypso July 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for the +, but I don’t understand your question.

CCFRG July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Funny thing is they have sent these mail pieces all over. I have gotten the pieces on Chip here in Waleska, friends of mine in Marietta, Jasper and Cumming have gotten them also.

CobbGOPer July 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm

That’s a waste of money right there, gotta keep the mail in the district for it to be effective.

greencracker July 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Alas, those of us in hippie town are missing the fun mail.

benevolus July 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Are these all Friends of Balfour? He sure has some money to burn.
I’m just sayin’.

Bull Moose July 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

The GA GOP is setting itself for quite a fall one of these days.

Keep the pressure on them Charlie!

saltycracker July 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

BM,
The only way you’ll see a noticable change is with term limits.
Unless you believe in crossover votes in Nov.

cheapseats July 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I understand what you’re saying but there really isn’t “crossover” voting if there are no viable candidates other than Republicans to vote for so, it’s just people who want their votes to mean something. If they call themselves Democrats or usually vote Democrat but there are no candidates and/or no hope of a Democrat winning due to grotesque gerrymandering then, you can’t be surprised if they start pulling Republican ballots.

bowersville July 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Charlie the report is on file at your provided link.

Charlie July 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Awesome! Late, (filed this afternoon, then amended as well), but it’s there.

Now let’s see what we have. $100,000 from the Senate Trust, moved to an Independent Expenditure Group.

One line item for direct mail, to obfuscate how much incumbent protection each Senator gets for his incumbent protection plan.

Still fails the transparency test.

bowersville July 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Ah, okay then. So the power and the money is in the Trust fund and we can’t see in. Now I can see why we need to knee cap individual Senators with a $100 gift cap. I think it was Julius Caesar who said it best just moments before he spoke to Brutus. He who controls the Senate Trust fund controls the Senate. I guess Brutus was up for re-election.

bowersville July 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Without transparency in the whole process we(the voters) get nowhere.

saltycracker July 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Political transparency is measured by who controls the lens.

Calypso July 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Are not both smoke and mirrors transparent?

CCFRG July 13, 2012 at 1:02 am

It looks like Old South Printing and Mailing was registered with the SOS on 5/11/2012 and the address listed is a UPS Store.

This is money laundering pure and simple. The State Ethics Commission has ruled that caucus groups like the Trust can only spend 2500 on a candidate, just like any other contributor.

Trying to avoid this rule by transferring this money to an IE is laundering. It’s kind of similar to what Tom Delay did in Texas in 2006.

I think some explanations and possibly resignations are in order.

Calypso July 13, 2012 at 8:36 am

“I think some explanations and possibly resignations are in order.”

Yeah, I’m holding my breath on that one.

Carlyle July 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

What once was an institution of Statesmen and Mature Leadership(thus the monicker “Upper Chamber”) has devolved to something more similar to a cheap reality sitcom.The last two years are an absolute embarrassment to our State.The play sheet now is to do whatever to whoever as long as we keep the power and then we will quote some scripture and say a prayer for our brethren who we we love but will stab in a heart beat to further our personal agenda,very sad people very sad.

This latest news isn’t surprising to anyone is it?I mean really this is SOP now isn’t? Paying off Secretaries,Impersonating Women,Pushing Legislation for solely personal gain,now that is what made us scratch our heads right,this is just the new norm without the background yet.The new season if you will just like the reality shows right?

The sub-plot just isn’t that hard to figure out on this one……Joel you are to good to make this kind of a rookie mistake.I feel the need to say a prayer or quote scripture now and tell my brethren how much I love them but I will pass…..for the simple reason that I’ll have enough explaining to do when I see St.Pete at those Pearly Gates without making it any harder on myself……

KevinAnthony July 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

The sad thing is that the good old boys have watered down (or just plan underfunded) the Ethics Commission so that they can only send letters asking the good old boys to come clean. This will never happen in Georgia and if the Governor wants to make a statement regarding how “dirty” this type of stuff is, he better do it soon because this will have a BIG effect when HE runs again. Will someone in the GOLD DOME be a leader and bring the ethics of Georgia in the 21st century?
Just saying . . . . . . .

truth July 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Kevin, hell will also freeze over before that happens.

CobbGOPer July 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I’d like to know where all the Nathan Deal – “there’s no REAL corruption in Georgia” – supporters from 2010 are now? The ones who kept saying Karen Handel was nuts, that the problem was nowhere near as bad as she was saying it was? That she was simply trying to play dirty politics to win?

Do you still defend your boy Deal? You still think he doesn’t have a hand in this somewhere?

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