Some Backstory on the Paul Broun PowerPoint

March 10, 2014 8:00 am

by Jon Richards · 5 comments

There was a lot of buzz over the weekend about a PowerPoint presentation uploaded to the Internet that delves into the background of 10th District Congressman (and Georgia GOP Senate candidate) Paul Broun. The slide show drew attention after the Political Insider linked to it in Friday’s Morning Jolt.

Brown PowerPoint File PropertiesIf you take the time to look closely, you’ll see that all the information in the presentation is pretty old. In fact, everything in it took place before mid-2008. That’s because the last time it was modified, according to the document properties stored in the PowerPoint, was on June 14th, 2008. There’s another bit of information revealed in the document’s properties, shown at right. The last person to modify the presentation was someone named Clint Austin.

The Clint Austin who edited the presentation is most likely the same Clint Austin who works at OnTarget Public Affairs. OnTarget Public Affairs is a political consulting firm that specializes in direct mail. According to Federal Election Commission records, the Perdue for Senate campaign paid $1,866 to OnTarget for campaign literature in October, 2013. Austin also works with Paul Bennecke at ConnectSouth Public Affairs. Bennecke was political director for Sonny Perdue’s successful gubernatorial run in 2002.

But, why compile the data on Paul Broun back in 2008? After the death of Congressman Charlie Norwood in early 2007, Broun won a special election to replace him in the 10th district. The following year, he defeated State Rep. Barry Fleming in a July 15th primary, and went on to win in November. Fleming also was a client of OnTarget Political Affairs. FEC records show Fleming paid OnTarget $198,296 between March and July of 2008 for push cards and direct marketing. Perhaps this opposition research was developed to help Fleming in his race against Broun.

Typically a PowerPoint like this isn’t released directly to the public. So, who decided to get it out it just in time for the May 20th Senate primary? A Twitter account calling itself “Citizens for an Informed Electorate” would like you to think it was them. In a tweet to the Political Insider account sent after the link to the PowerPoint appeared in Friday’s Jolt, they said, “We orchistrated [sic] the dissemination of this information.”

The CFAIE account sent its first tweet early last Tuesday morning. Overnight, the account followed around 1,000 twitter accounts, starting with Peach Pundit Front Page Posters Erick Erickson and Jason Pye. A group using the same name sent an email blast critical of GACR’s chair Will Kremer to a group of people in the Georgia GOP and Georgia Association of College Republicans after Peach Pundit noted his re-election bid in a post last Monday.

As a rule, Peach Pundit tries not to get involved in someone’s anonymous smear campaign against a political candidate. That’s why we didn’t originally do a post on the Broun PowerPoint. Now that it’s out there for all to see, we thought you might want to know something about its likely origin, and something about those claiming to have released it.

Jon Lester March 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

People forget that Paul Broun is in Congress because Jim Whitehead was an obvious fool in 2007, Barry Fleming was a loser and a half (and I didn’t know he spent almost $200k with this firm) in 2008, Russell Edwards was a political newcomer in 2010 (which was not a good midterm year for Democrats anyway), and he didn’t even have a proper opponent in 2012.

Admittedly, I forgot all about Bobby Saxon being the Democrat running in 2008; I had to look it up just now.

xdog March 10, 2014 at 9:47 am

The party apparatus should have their butts kicked for choosing Whitehead. ‘Obvious fool’ doesn’t do him justice.

John Vestal March 10, 2014 at 11:48 am

For some reason, I can only see the first sentence in the body of the email.

PegM March 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

I have heard these stories and more…three marriages, on his fourth for example, But I need to point out that this one has some longevity. If any of this is even partially true, this guy has no business in public service.

Blake March 11, 2014 at 2:06 pm

The backstory is interesting, but it still seems like the real story is what a trainwreck Broun is.

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