“It is essential that the public trust be maintained and that citizens have confidence in those they elect to govern.”

February 2, 2013 19:21 pm

by Mike Hassinger · 23 comments

The headline is from House Speaker David Ralston, and unlike some in the commentating, blogging, media and political arsonist community, I believe him. Speaker Ralston values and believes in the sincerity, honesty and basic decency of the members of the House of of Representatives, and wants Georgians to be able to trust the people we elect. He has demonstrated this worldview with his recent ethics reform proposal that champions disclosure, eliminates gifts, and stems from an apparent belief that elected people are, for the most part, fundamentally honest. Wouldn’t it be nice to think so.

Political consultant cum candidate Brian Laurens, in the special election for State House District 21, has sent a last-minute mail piece that hits Speaker Ralston’s noble, publicly-stated idealism straight in the teeth with an iron pipe.  Laurens has attempted to deceive voters in the 21st House district into believing that he has been endorsed by Georgia Conservatives in Action. See for yourself:

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There’s no question that the “Voter Guide,” plastered with the logo and URL of Georgia Conservatives in Action, indicates that Brian Laurens is the favored candidate of that group, and implies that Georgia Conservatives in Action may be responsible for printing and mailing the piece. Except they haven’t. GCIA, according to Pat Tippett, (who runs the group along with Kay Godwin) “We did not endorse. He sent that out on his own.” GCIA has also asked for a retraction, although retracting a mail piece 3 days before an election would be unprecedented in the history of voting. (Note: we are not the only outlet aware of this. Todd Rehm at GA Pundit has his own take on this issue, with more history, here. Peach Pundit responded after verifying the deception with the folks at GCIA.)

If you get yourself elected using deception, it is only logical to assume you will govern using deception. So the noble principle on which the House ethics reform proposal is based is about to be tested. Will an obviously dishonest man be elected by the people who show up to vote in an off-cycle Special Election on Tuesday? Do we trust the voters to choose honesty over dishonesty? Would the proposed ethics reform force a candidate to become someone who Georgians could trust? And how should a speaker, or a caucus, or an elected group of Republicans treat a candidate who trades on THEIR names with such obvious contempt, should he successfully lie his way into office?

 

 

 

Doug Deal February 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would live to see the day that someone who worked for the Ox would have ethical problems.

novicegirl February 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

The Ox’s tentacles are numerous.

Romegaguy February 2, 2013 at 11:43 pm

What an idiot

GAPolitico February 3, 2013 at 1:52 am

Well… this is some internal republican b/s, so it does not really affect me. With that said, it does bring up a few points…

1. It assumes that the people reading it are dumb and ill-informed voters. Any really informed voter should look to see who is “Georgia Conservatives for Action” is and if they actually did endorse this guy. Additionally, it never actually says that they endorsed him. So, it relies on people to not know or be engaged in the GCfA group but still rely on their endorsement and to read the article, which does not say he received an endorsement, and believe they have gotten the endorsement. In other words, not ready it throughly.

2. If GCfA are such a powerful and involved group, why does their website not point out the problem and lie. Why don’t they email their members and let them know about the lie? If they are “influential,” then they have three days left to fix the problem.

One of the key definitions of a legitimate “state” is that they can defend the territory that they claim. We know the boundary between us and Canada and if they tried to invade us, we could exercise force to defend our area. If this group is a legitimate actor, then they should be able to defend their organization – with copyrights, lawsuits, and being organized enough to call out bluffs.

Is it underhanded, yes. But if voters are actually engaged and informed, then these tricks wouldn’t work. As with so many of the problems today, politicians on both sides can run over individuals who stay inactive and uninformed.

Romegaguy February 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I would tend to agree that Conservatives in Action is a weak organization with little pull outside of a couple dozen people. That being said, it doesnt change the fact that the piece was designed to hit the mail yesterday so that Conservatives in Action would not likely to learn of it or be able to do anything about it in such a short time before the election. Nor does it change the fact that Brian is a giant turd that learned his ethics in campaigning from such notable Georgians as the Ox and Will the Winner.

I cant wait to see who changes Brian’s wikipedia entry on Tuesday to include failed candidate. Bonus points if it happens from an IP address associated with the free wifi at the twin towers

Lawton Sack (GATA Eagles!) February 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Mrs. Pat and Mrs. Kay and GCIA are highly respected in Southeastern Georgia. They have also been a constant presence at the Capitol for many years working on conservative values. I am not sure how much of an impact they have north of Macon, though. They are not a large organization with paid staff, lobbyists, etc. They are truly a grassroots organization. They spend their time in Atlanta during the week and then spend the weekends with family, church, locals, etc.

atlandy February 3, 2013 at 8:49 am

I know he is not endorsed by the cooks at Golden Corral either. I’ve seen him eat, and he is a 5 trip guy, and he uses all the nuts at the sodt serve machine

Nonchalant February 3, 2013 at 9:20 am

It is a safe bet that if your flyers are not Madisonian, you aren’t either. If you go by the lowest common denominator to get elected, why should I not say that is exactly how you will govern? If your flyers are the flimsiest shallow things, even though they work, why should I not conclude you are the flimsiest, shallow thing?

Is it not said by their fruits you shall know them?

Jackster February 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

I still maintain that the folks up there in the Cherokee County Nation don’t really pay much attention to what goes on “down there in atlanta”. That means our opinions about them are unheard and unwanted.

But still, You and I know this mailer is wrong, but if the average voter saw a piece like this come in the mail, two things would happen:

1) They’d see who it’s from
2) They’d judge if it was a good piece or a tacky piece.

Then they’d tally up the score.

So therefore, has Scot Turner sent out more positive PR mailers? That to me is where the distinction would be.

IndyInjun February 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

I commend the Speaker for making an effort toward ethics after the most unfortunate European trip shortly after winning his post. I had called talk radio shows endorsing him as “the reform candidate” for Speaker and was totally embarrassed by that revelation. Frankly, my assessment of him is now mixed and confused.

Bob Loblaw February 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

how about Dazed & Confused?

IndyInjun February 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Whatever you wish, it is a vast improvement over Angry and Betrayed. The Speaker is not Resignatio Ad Infernum as long as he goes back to the reform side of the ledger. If there is meaningful ethics legislation passed, I will sing him praises for coming full circle.

Bob Loblaw February 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

One person’s “coming full circle” is another person’s “flip flop”. Funny, the way it is, when you think about it…

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Maybe instead of reading “It is essential that the public trust be maintained and that citizens have confidence in those they elect to govern.” Speaker Ralston’s statement should read “It is essential that the public trust be REBUILT and that citizens REGAIN confidence in those they elect to govern.”

Bob Loblaw February 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm

He could pass the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta and hire the engineer to design the Panama Canal and you’d still have your arms folded and bile in your throat.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I could see your disapproval of my comments if he had actually done just any one of those great achievements, but the hard truth, especially for self-styled supreme defenders of the highly-dysfunctional status quo such as yourself, Bob Loblaw, is that neither Speaker Ralston or the at-times disgraceful legislative body of which he is a leading member has come anywhere near close to achieving any of those great things or even a fraction of the legislative equivalent of those things.

Heck, if anything, instead of being the asset that the people of this state have desperately needed, the Georgia Legislature has been nothing short of a disgraceful liability, shamelessly and openly prostituting themselves to the highest bidder while intentionally and willfully neglecting many of the state’s most severely pressing needs.

If an overwhelming majority of Georgians have their “arms folded and bile in their throats” its only because of the disgust of watching the sickening spectacle that has been their so-called legislators in action.
Or, rather much more like their so-called legislators’ INACTION?

Bob Loblaw February 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

An overwhelming majority of Georgians continue to add Members to the Caucus.

“shamelessly and openly prostituting themselves”? Really? You must not spend any time at the Capitol.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

And you sound as if you might have spent entirely too much of your life at the Capitol.

Bob Loblaw February 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Quite the contrary. I’ve spent way too much of my life in the courtroom.

Open prostitution? Seriously. You ought to soften it up a little.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

“You ought to soften it up a little.”

Why? So [people] like you can feel even better about your wholly incompetent stewardship of this state and the wanton neglect of the needs of its people? I don’t think so, Scooter.

If you want someone to kiss your [backside] and provide positive affirmation of the repeatedly bad leadership decisions you’ve made, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work and should go work with abandoned pets or something.
Otherwise, don’t whine when people can’t quite see the all positive things you do in your daily work with some of the state’s most notorious narcissists and sociopaths this side of prison walls.

Charlie February 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

You’re getting your own front page post in a few hours. Until then, I would strongly suggest you walk away from the keyboard until you get your last and final warning.

ANYTHING else you post between now and then will be your last post. There will not be an appeals process should you decide to keep typing.

Three Jack February 4, 2013 at 10:36 am

Scot Turner’s post about this on FB (including link to PP) — “I am running because I believe government is broken and we need to elect honest people of the highest integrity to fix it. If a candidate is willing to fake an endorsement and lie to the voters in order to get elected, how do you think they govern?”

I have family in that district and will strongly urge them to vote for Scot tomorrow. I hope others will do the same.

Bob Loblaw February 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

Yeah, Bob Loblaw can’t disagree, here. Between the cop thing and a fake endorsement, this dude deserves a seat. At home. Not in the House.

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