T-SPLOST Backers Join Senate Republicans; Say “EFF. YOU.” To Transparency

Voting is already underway for T-SPLOST and other primary ballot items, but we still don’t know who all the well heeled donors are paying for Untie Atlanta’s slick advertising campaign.  David Pendered reports:

The campaign team working for passage of the transportation sales tax has not filed its report on its campaign finances, according to the report of filings maintained by the state’s Campaign Finance Commission.

Untie Atlanta logo

A campaign financial disclosure that was due Monday has not been filed by advocates of the transportation sales tax. The grace period ends July 23, eight days before the election. Credit: Citizens for Transportation Management

The filing deadline was Monday. A grace period extends the final day of submission to July 23 – eight days before the election. The campaign committee must file an electronic report if more than $500 have been raised.

Trust has become a major issue, perhaps even the major issue, for the Atlanta Region T-SPLOST vote.  This was underscored by Governor Deal’s reversal yesterday by announcing that the tolls on GA-400 would be ended years earlier than previously scheduled but years after they were originally promised to end.

Meanwhile, the “transparency” argument that our politicians have told us is how we know their ethical takes another beating.  On the heels of Senate Republicans laundering their campaign contributions through a North Carolina political consultant to claim status as an “independent” group, we now have a total lack of disclosure of who is paying for promoting the largest tax increase in history with just 11 days of voting to go. 

In the mean time, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed soldiers on.  He’ll be in Cobb County today  Tuesday appearing with Commission Chairman Tim Lee, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, and former Governor Roy Barnes.  They’ll be at the Smyrna Community Center from 12:30 to 1:30. 

Instead of asking them about project lists, rail to Cumberland, regionalism, or increased taxes, please ask them about transparency and trust.  If loopholes and grace periods are part of the answer, then you have thier answer.

53 comments

  1. IndyInjun says:

    What we are seeing statewide is stunning arrogance by politicians on this measure. The rule of law is dead on every front and this is simply the latest manifestation. What lies ahead, God only knows. Pass or fail, the fractures between genuine conservatives and the ruling junta will be beyond patching.

  2. Charlie says:

    CTM’s official statement:

    CTM is preparing the “15-day” disclosure report of all contributions and expenditures through Monday, July 16. The deadline for the report is Monday, July 23, and we anticipate fully meeting the deadline and all requirements set forth in state law for a local ballot committee.

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    Sounds like someone has an itchy trigger finger. If there is time under the law to file, calling someone out for not filing seems a little premature.

    One thing you can say about transparency & T-SPLOST is that the project lists created statewide are transparent as thin air.

    Vote Yes.

  4. debbie0040 says:

    The report was already due on July 16th but Monday is the grace period allowed. The bottom line is you guys filed for a local county ballot committee because of disclosure requirements being lax. You are doing everything in your power to hide your donor list as long as possible. And you wonder why voters don’t trust you?

    How about the money that goes into the GADOT? Is that transparent as well?

  5. Bob Loblaw says:

    Wrong on what account? That the filing is not late in accordance with the law? It is on time so long as it is filed by the 23rd.

    And you talking about disclosure, Miss Holier Than Thou, after the traffictruth mailpieces? A joke.

    What the heck do motor fuel tax funds have to do with this? You can keep shoveling mud into the waters if you’d wish.

      • debbie0040 says:

        I can assure you the folks with Transportation Leadership Coalition follow the law and reporting requirements. I am not sure what happened with the mailpiece or who paid for it.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        Because, Debbie, as per usual, you’re completely ignorant about transportation governance in your own nation.

        States can only have ONE appointed agency by which federal transportation dollars may be deposited with. In your state, Georgia, that agency is the Department of Transportation. Project dollars have to go to GDOT first. Its just how your government works.

        There is a citizen oversight panel that will be established, by the laws of your state, so the citizens can, just like local SPLOST projects, have total access to all of the information regarding funding, projects and more.

        And you “can assure…the Transportation Leadership Coalition follow(s) the law”? Is that a fact? Is it because you have all the requisite information? Then answer this: how did they spend more than they had in the bank on a mailer? Did someone send the mailer as a gift to the group? Where is that recorded as an in-kind contribution?

        You “can assure” that the Coalition is following the law but you are “not sure what happened” with that mailpiece? Can’t seem to figure out just what you are sure of. Sure don’t know a thing about government, except how to gripe about it with baseless, ignorant attacks.

        God someone get this lady some Cliff’s Notes.

        • debbie0040 says:

          Atlanta Tea Party works with Transportation Leadership Coalition but we are totally separate, so I don’t know the inter workings.

          The T-SPLOST Citizens Oversight Committee is appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. That does not instill a whole lot of confidence in the committee.

          • Stifler65 says:

            Oh Debbie, just like you have no idea about those fliers from Brandon Beach, even though they cam from the TLC. Oh yeah, and your little group only filed for spending what, $1600, even though mailers cost a whole heck of a lot more than that. * Awkward*

            • debbie0040 says:

              Stifler /Edens, I know you are young and immature and have a problem comprehending things and losing so I will say this one more time. We are not part of TLC and never have been. We work with them but they are a separate organization..

              At least TLC has filed a report..

        • debbie0040 says:

          And Bob, as far as your ignorant comment, we will see who is ignorant on July 31st now want we?

          • Bob Loblaw says:

            Regardless of the outcome of any election on any question or candidate, the answer to that question will remain in your mirror.

            • seekingtounderstand says:

              Bob: Grow up!

              Another negative for TPLOST is that these few players can demand even more for their services due to our own self inflected demand coming from all those regions wanting to spend TSPLOST dollars at the same time.
              FORCED PRICE INCREASES AND HIGHER PROFITS!

              • Bob Loblaw says:

                @seekingtounderstand:

                Breathe, dude. And don’t forget, that these projects will be awarded to the lowest bid. Yep, that wascally old low-bid system…sure does allow these contractors to just negotiate higher and higher offers. Your handle fits you well.

                Plenty of out-of-state companies get contracts to build DOT projects. See “why the Board dismissed Vance Smith” if you need evidence of that.

  6. Jackster says:

    So instead of waiting for CTM to file, I decided to look @ the expenditures of the current filers.

    I searched for the word “transportation” as the recipient, and looked at 1/1/12 until now.

    From what I can tell, $397,500 has been contributed to CTM by current filers.

    Delta Air Lines-Corporation $150,000.00
    C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. $50,000.00
    C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. $50,000.00
    Georgia Concrete Political Action Committee $37,500.00
    E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. $25,000.00
    Norfolk Southern Corporation $25,000.00
    United Distributors, Inc. $12,500.00
    Stone PAC $10,000.00
    Stone PAC $10,000.00
    Georgia Group Pac, Inc $8,000.00
    Georgia Better Government Fund $5,000.00
    Atlanta Realtors Political Action Committee $5,000.00
    American Council of Engineering Companies of GA, PAC $5,000.00
    McGuire Woods Federal PAC $2,500.00
    United Health Services of Georgia PAC, Inc. $2,000.00

    I saved the excel spreadsheet if anyone wants it.

  7. Jackster says:

    Also, here’s the complete list for y’all. (Sorted by amount) – some of these are not be TSPLOST, but then again, i don’t know who is collaborating. I would include the purpose, but it makes the post uglier than it already is.

    Committee_Name Paid LastName Date
    Delta Air Lines-Corporation $150,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 4/16/2012 0:00
    Delta Air Lines-Corporation $75,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility, 2/3/2012 0:00
    C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. $50,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 4/20/2012 0:00
    C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. $50,000.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 4/26/2012 0:00
    C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. $50,000.00 Citizens for Better Transportation 5/4/2012 0:00
    E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. $50,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 5/15/2012 0:00
    Georgia Concrete Political Action Committee $37,500.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 5/22/2012 0:00
    Georgia Concrete Political Action Committee $30,300.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 3/21/2012 0:00
    E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. $25,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility Inc. 3/15/2012 0:00
    Norfolk Southern Corporation $25,000.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 6/12/2012 0:00
    Georgia Power Company $15,000.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 3/13/2012 0:00
    United Distributors, Inc. $12,500.00 Citizens for Better Transportation 3/20/2012 0:00
    Stone PAC $10,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 1/12/2012 0:00
    Stone PAC $10,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 6/12/2012 0:00
    Stone PAC $10,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 3/8/2012 0:00
    Georgia Group Pac, Inc $8,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility, Inc 6/13/2012 0:00
    Georgia Better Government Fund $5,000.00 Transtyle Transportation 4/30/2012 0:00
    Atlanta Realtors Political Action Committee $5,000.00 Georgia Department of Transportation 4/6/2012 0:00
    American Council of Engineering Companies of GA, PAC $5,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 6/18/2012 0:00
    United Community Banks, Inc. $2,500.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 6/13/2012 0:00
    McGuire Woods Federal PAC $2,500.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 6/11/2012 0:00
    American Council of Engineering Companies of GA, PAC $2,500.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 5/15/2012 0:00
    Georgia Group Pac, Inc $2,000.00 Citizens for Better Transportation Reg 2 GA 4/10/2012 0:00
    United Health Services of Georgia PAC, Inc. $2,000.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 2/23/2012 0:00
    E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. $1,500.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance, Inc. 6/14/2012 0:00
    Kasim Reed for Mayor, Inc. $1,200.00 Citizens for Transportation Mobility 6/29/2012 0:00
    E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. $1,000.00 Georgia Transportation Alliance 6/11/2012 0:00
    Friends of Jon Burns $406.62 e-Global Transportation and Logistics, LLC 6/30/2012 0:00
    Georgia Republican Party $- Georgia Transportation Alliance 12/12/2012 0:00

    • CobbGOPer says:

      Sounds about right. They’re all businesses that will stand to profit heavily should TSPLOST pass. Confirmation of what we’ve been saying all along.

      • CobbGOPer says:

        Correction: The list is MOSTLY businesses that will stand to profit, with a few politicians/political groups thrown in for good measure. Although I’m pretty surprised the GAGOP donated money. The state party is basically saying they’re fine and dandy with a huge tax hike? If I were still a party member, I’d ask for my dues back.

        • seekingtounderstand says:

          The GAGOP stopped being for the people and simply became gatekeepers for lobbyists.

          • Bob Loblaw says:

            Yeah, that’s why the GA GOP put a ballot question on its primary about capping lobbyist expenditures. They’re just so pro-lobbyist.

            • CobbGOPer says:

              The GAGOP leadership didn’t put that on the ballot. Committee members at the state convention drew that question up, and then the members of the party in attendance voted to place it on the ballot.

              Those same members, however, don’t get a say when the GAGOP decides it wants to donate money to political or advocacy campaigns, like the pro-TSPLOST organizations.

              I think rank-and-file GAGOP members should be asking their state leadership why the dues they’re paying are being used to try and help pass a tax increase.

              • you says:

                “Georgia Republican Party $- Georgia Transportation Alliance 12/12/2012 0:00”

                Look at the date…. 12/12/2012…and the amoutn…how could they have donated zero dollars in the future?

                • Calypso says:

                  That’s a new campaign finance law. If you donate zero dollars it must be done only in the future. If you donate negative dollars it can be done in either the past, present, or the future. For some reason they allow more flexibility with your non-giving with the -$ amounts.

    • CobbGOPer says:

      Of course, I’ve gone to the ethics commission website to try and find an amount, and I can’t find any contribution from GAGOP to GTA.

      Jackster, care to point me in the right direction as to where you found a contribution to GTA?

      Or do I need to retract my statements inre: GAGOP?

    • DeKalb Wonkette says:

      The pro-TSPLOST crowd wants folks to vote this Saturday (today) before voters can see the list of contributors.

      Cynically clever.

  8. Jackster says:

    Okay – last one.

    let’s assume for a moment that the Georgia Transportation Alliance (Georgia Chamber) is collaborating with Citizens for Transportation Mobility on TSPLOST efforts.

    Which means that if I go back to 1/1/11 and report through just now,
    Citizens for Transportation Mobility $948,500.00
    Georgia Transportation Alliance $294,800.00

    $1.2 Mil.

    Somehow my would be feedback in a public panel on the project list suddenly doesn’t seem so influential.

    • Calypso says:

      And I wonder where the other $4.8 of the reported $6 million spent in support of TSPLOST came from.

      • Jackster says:

        So, to those of you who know more about this than I, should I expect to see 4.8 Mil (and change) on the 7/23 filing?

  9. Jackster says:

    Also, what I love is that they could have actually COMPLETED some of the traffic improvement projects on the project list with this money and time.

  10. IndyInjun says:

    Lovely, Delta gets a sales tax exemption on fuel, saving it $10’s of millions and fuels the fires consuming Georgia’s middle class with a new 1% sales tax on hyperinflating food costs and Georgia Power inflated bills from SB 31 three years ago.

    What I really think about that is unprintable.

  11. seekingtounderstand says:

    Institutional Theft is the one thing our country excels at.
    What about all those ex-gov workers (while we pay retirement benefits) turned consultants who will be getting big pay offs from this.
    GDOT has little to do with project management on TSLPOST its all consultants hired by local governments.

    • Daddy Got A Gun says:

      there is no money in the TSPLOST budget for more government employee or consultants. The program is already overbudget and it hasn’t even passed.

  12. Big Tuna says:

    This is shock and outrage. Imagine people making contributions to candidates/policies who they feel will benefit their business in the long run. Oh the humanity.

    Next thing you know, Debbie will be demanding to see CW Matthews tax returns for the previous 20 years.

    • Daddy Got A Gun says:

      Why are they hiding their contributions?

      This is no different than TARP where Treasury Secretary Paulson used his position to steal trillions from future Americans to benefit his net worth and friends.

      BTW – CW Mathews has a huge Road Sign supporting SPLOST at its facility on old 41 in Cobb. I
      d like to know who else is planning to feed themselves with my tax money.

      • GTKay says:

        Well, in Nehemiah they rebuilt the section of wall in front of their own house. I guess we could have every Georgian work on their own little stretch of road to keep all those evil road builders and engineers from making any money. We’ll give all the apartment people the transit lines.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            …Especially since that’s all they seem to be good for and not much else, if anything except making things much worse, of course.

            • GTKay says:

              You can double deck the little section in front of your house and charge a toll if that makes you happy.

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                Double-decking busy and tolling gridlocked expressways is NOT my job….That’s YOUR job, a job that you and yours are seemingly just simply not capable of performing at this point.

                You can laugh at and ridicule the double-decking concept all that you want, but double-decking a major east-west Interstate highway on the Northside of town is exactly what our main competitors in Dallas are doing with the LBJ Express project which will double-deck 13 miles of Interstate 635 at a cost of over $5 billion on just that one project alone, along with building-out a multimodal transportation infrastructures, of course.
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMc-ZPWo2nQ
                http://www.lbjexpress.com/
                http://www.dart.org/maps/printrailmap.asp

                Unfortunately for Georgians, your extremely poor attempt at humor in your comments reflect the pervasive mindset inside of state government here in Georgia which is seemingly that infrastructure investment is nothing more than a casual joke that is to be taken lightly.

                While the idiots in charge of transportation planning (or the definitive lack thereof) here in Georgia laugh their a**es off and yuck-it-up at the circus like the clowns they are and have proved themselves to be time and again, our competitors in Texas and North Carolina continue to build up their transportation infrastructures with the express intent of overtaking us here in Atlanta.

                So go ahead and laugh and clown around with your HOT Lanes and your T-SPLOST and your half-baked so-called transportation schemes, but recognize that there are a lot of people out there, both here in Georgia and around the Southeast that realize that there’s absolutely not a damn thing that is the least bit funny about any of this overwhelmingly blatant incompetence that has been and is continuing to be displayed on the part of our elected officials and their bureaucratic hand puppets!

                • seekingtounderstand says:

                  Add the fact that they keep telling us they have no other plan. So I say please resign so others may take the lead.

                  A friend just pointed out that TSLPOST is a large a boondoggel as Georgias
                  Yazoo Land Fraud deal.

                  • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                    You are so correct as T-SPLOST is not a plan by any stretch of the imagination, but instead is nothing more than one big land spectulation scam at its heart.

                • GTKay says:

                  You want them to build big, but then you call them incompetent and don’t trust them with the money. I imagine they would do a lot of things differently if they had the funding necessary. But Georgian legislators don’t seem to have the stomach to do it.

  13. jiminga says:

    The TV ads pushing for passage of TSPLOST bother me too. And since the ad sponsors won’t tell us who’s paying for them, I have made my own decision who they are. They are surely folks/companies that will benefit financially from passage…..commercial real estate developers, road contractors, consulting engineers, and of course politicians.

    This is a good example of big money trying to buy an election result. Follow the money, except we’re not allowed to.

  14. seekingtounderstand says:

    With electronic voting we can never be sure of the count being correct. With billions at stake its hard to imagine what people would do for that kind of money.

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