Update: Campaign Finance and the Letter of the Law

July 25, 2014 18:20 pm

by Stefan · 27 comments

Political Insider carried a story this morning of a campaign donor to Nathan Deal who brought an ethics complaint against Jason Carter for a fundraiser invitation sent during the Georgia Legislative Session for an event being held after the session concluded. That rule exists so that legislators and constitutional officers aren’t tempted to grant favor to those that give them money.

So I ask you, what’s more concerning to you, an event after session benefiting the party (Carter’s event), or an event during session benefiting the Republican Governor’s Association, which is is just a group that turns around and buys media for Republican Governors?

I speak, of course, of the “Traffic Tie-Ups: By Ice or By Vice” lecture series that Chris Christie and Nathan Deal presented for close friends, and by that I mean it was 25k to be a co-chair. Who ponied up for that? Well it was companies like Flowers Foods and Select Management Resources, LLC. Man, that last one rings a bell, what do they do? Why they are Payday Lenders. Who else? Comsouth, Cox Enterprises and various alcohol distributors. I bet absolutely none of them had any interest in what was going on during session. Here’s the whole RGA Q1 disclosure, pay special attention to the early March gives.

So who of interest is on the DPG event? Michael Stipe, an economist, someone who might be a model, and others names I don’t recognize. Which of the above strikes you more as a threat to the integrity of the democracy?

Update: It seems that the Carter campaign has responded:

Gov. Deal today refused to reject this frivolous complaint filed by his major donor. As a result, the Carter for Governor campaign is counter-filing with two complaints against Gov. Deal. The first concerns the RGA fundraiser that Gov. Deal held during the legislative session. The second concerns an invitation to a Deal for Governor fundraiser that Gov. Deal’s campaign sent during the legislative session.

So that’s interesting, it appears Deal’s campaign sent out invitations to a fundraising BBQ during session. They were marked paid for by Deal for Governor and solicited donations to the Governor’s campaign. That’s probably a violation. Interestingly, it appears this was an event set up by Deal’s campaign staff, as opposed to the Carter event, which was not.

Both complaints are available here: www.carterforgovernor.com/gov-deals-situational-ethics/.

PoliticalJoe July 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

What?

Stefan July 25, 2014 at 10:31 am

Which part is confusing?

PoliticalJoe July 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

I thought the issue was that the Carter for Governor planned and invited people to a fundraiser to benefit itself when they weren’t supposed to? Doesn’t the Repub Gov Assoc support all repub Gov’s?

Stefan July 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

Ah, gotcha. The Carter event was to benefit the Democratic Party of Georgia. The RGA supports all R Governors in theory, yes.

radix023 July 25, 2014 at 11:32 am

Specifically the Democratic Party of Georgia Victory Fund. One can make a case that this was to benefit Jason Carter’s campaign. It certainly seems like it violates the spirit of the law. Let’s wait and see what happens in court.

Stefan July 25, 2014 at 11:38 am

You think the RGA money isn’t coming back to benefit Deal? Heck, 10% of probably already went to his family directly.

Lawton Sack July 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

That’s really uncalled for and disappointing, Stefan.

Stefan July 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Lawton, I totally agree.

Unless I’ve missed your point.

Lawton Sack July 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Something tells me you have. Just expected better. My fault.

Stefan July 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Yeah, I was being amusing. There’s a legitimate issue about redirecting campaign funds for personal use and I do not think it is incorrect to bring it up here. It is not beyond debate, however. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Chris Huttman July 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

RGA has already spent nearly $1m for Deal/against Carter.

And respectfully, if you think it violates the “spirit” of the law, then you clearly have no understanding of the actual law and application over the last 30 years or so. Both parties historically have held their big annaul fundraiser (JJ/President’s) during the session because while elected officials cannot raise money for themselves, they can raise money for the party/party committees.

Buzz Brockway July 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm

The invitation for the fundraiser in New York for the DPG said “paid for by Carter for Governor, Inc.” Did the RGA fundraising invitations say “paid for by Deal for Governor?” They didn’t by the way.

If the issue is how much money raised will come back to the candidate, I bet the DPG will spend a bigger percentage of it’s money supporting Carter than the RGA will supporting Deal. But of course that’s not the issue. The issue is whether or not Carter broke the rules.

We all know Democrats never, ever, break the rules and if they do it’s because the Koch Brothers tricked them, but they should be made to play by the same rules as the rest of us. Which means waiting until the session is over to invite people to a fundraiser.

BryanLong July 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

ahem, “Deal’s campaign sent out invitations to a fundraising BBQ during session. They were marked paid for by Deal for Governor and solicited donations to the Governor’s campaign.”

Plus, the governor’s top aides threatened Georgia’s ethics chief to make a much bigger ethics problem go away. You may remember the text message with a smiley face from the governor’s chief of staff.

BryanLong July 26, 2014 at 8:41 am

For the record, here’s a copy of the invitation sent by Deal for Governor on Feb. 7, 2014. I dug this out of my own email inbox last night. It’s clearly marked “Paid for by Deal for Governor” and includes the campaign address for Gov. Nathan Deal.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.bettergeorgia.org/images/Grillin-with-the-Governor-Invitation.png

Members of the General Assembly, including Rep. Buzz Brockway, were in session from January 14 until March 20.

This is about as clear cut as it gets. Gov. Deal promoted a fundraiser for his own campaign during session. He also raised money for the RGA during session.

Bottom line: One of Deal’s top donors filed the complaint against Jason Carter with one purpose — to create a distraction from Gov. Deal’s very real problems. Two of the governor’s top aides, on state time and with state money, threatened and intimidated the ethics chief to make a complaint against the governor’s campaign “go away.”

xdog July 26, 2014 at 8:56 am

Give ‘em hell Bryan.

tribeca July 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

Facts hurt.

griftdrift July 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Yawn

tribeca July 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Obviously the GOP is motivated to throw some dirt on Jason Carter as a means of countering Governor Deal’s really bad week. But this is seriously the best y’all could come up with? I don’t think there’s a way to make Jason Carter look 1/100th as sleazy and slimy as Nathan Deal.

Harry July 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

“Sleazy” and “slimy” are subjective judgments. What we can do, is make the young Carter look 1/100th as knowledgeable and qualified as Gov. Deal.

Carter is superficial.

tribeca July 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Having heard Governor Deal speak on multiple occasions, I wish you the best of luck in making Jason Carter look less intelligent than him.

At the very least, Carter can disprove your point by successfully comprehending a Weather Channel broadcast.

Harry July 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Your experience is incorrect regarding the young man’s knowledge of public policy issues beyond a superficial level.

Will Durant July 26, 2014 at 12:15 am

Concours d’uriner.

Harry July 26, 2014 at 12:58 am

pas de concours.

Harry July 26, 2014 at 1:57 am

Still no response from young Jason on Gov. Deal’s letter to Obama about the release of one hundred thousand unaccompanied, indigent minors into communities across America?
http://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2014-07-24/deal-talk-states-sending-unaccompanied-minors

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 26, 2014 at 2:31 am

Man, it’s hard to get used to seeing this type of ruthless aggression from Georgia Democrats who haven’t been anywhere close to this aggressive since around the turn-of-the-millennium.

John Konop July 26, 2014 at 10:07 am

The sad part we are facing real issues in our state from education, healthcare, jobs, infrastructure……the cornerstone issue will be who can throw the most mud……ironically the mud will be centered around how each side got the cash to talk trash…..

objective July 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm

at this point, i wouldn’t be surprised if the “ethics” commission were to simply stay/table all complaints until 2015

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