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.
If 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.