As Eric mentioned, the state’s Donkeys descended in Dublin on Saturday for their quadrennial convention. Four resolutions were passed.
The most interesting one to me came from general counsel Michael Jablonski. That resolution dealt with campaign finance reform and state/local parties. According to the resolution, a number of new regulations have put “an inordinate burden” (hmmmm…) on local parties and their ability to operate and raise money. There are fears that local parties could become irrelevant in the future because of the hindrance and the lack of regulation for outside groups. The DPG is in favor of “reasonable” campaign finance reform for state and local parties.
Gov. Deal was slammed in a resolution “for putting the taxpayers of this state on the hook to pay settlements from his ethical violations.” Chairman DuBose Porter sponsored that one and it is pretty much what you would expect.
Same with the other two. Georgia Democrats will continue to engage women voters and “turn back the Republican attacks on women’s rights and strengthen all families through the economic progress that true equality will bring”. They also reaffirm “commitment to the importance and promise of what an excellent public education will do for our students and the future of our great state.”
I know all of you are interested in the full resolutions. They are below the fold.
Resolution in support of Reasonable Campaign Finance Regulation of State & Local Party Committees
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) believes that Democratic state and local party committees are essential partners to Democratic elected officials and Democratic national party committees;
WHEREAS, state and local party committees play a vital role in the American political system and are particularly suited to grassroots political activity in support of the party’s political and electoral goals;
WHEREAS, regulatory hurdles put in place over the past several years have served to hinder state and local parties from effectively participating in the political process;
WHEREAS, these hurdles include old and cumbersome rules governing the ability of parties to engage in grassroots political activity, amendments to Federal campaign laws that have federalized most of the parties’ electoral activities and recent court decisions that have increased the power of outside organizations to spend unlimited, unregulated and, in many cases, undisclosed funds in connection with state and federal elections;
WHEREAS, based upon the complexity of federal law, parties are increasing subject to a higher level of regulation that other political organizations and are more likely to be audited or fined by the Federal Election Commission for reporting errors as well as the inadvertent use of non-federal funds for activities that have been federalized under recent changes to federal campaign finance law.
WHEREAS, these developments have put an inordinate burden on state and local party committees without proper justification and have served to lower the effectiveness of party committees in the political process;
WHEREAS, candidates at all levels of office have little incentive to work with parties due to structural barriers to association created by unnecessary and burdensome regulations;
WHEREAS, the current campaign finance laws have created serious financial problems for state and local party committees as campaigns and donors seek out organizations that have fewer obstacles to participation in the political process;
WHEREAS, the decrease in regulation of outside groups is a primary cause of the current state of extreme politics in America;
WHEREAS, state and local party committees play an essential and moderating role in American politics by espousing mainstream political ideas that appeal to a majority of American in contrast to single issue organizations that support radical one issue agendas;
WHEREAS, unless the law is changed, party committees will eventually become irrelevant and unable to compete with the unlimited availability of resources of outside groups; and
WHEREAS, the Association of State Democratic Chairs has established a Committee on Campaign Finance Reform tasked with making recommendations to enhance the role of party committees in federal and state elections without affecting either contribution limits to parties or creating unlimited expenditures by party committees;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the DPG endorses the recommendations put forth in the Committee on Campaign Finance Reform report entitled “Legislative Recommendations for Campaign Finance Reform.”
And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the DPG, will work with members of Congress, the national party committees, and the Obama administration to amend federal campaign finance laws to ensure the vitality of state and local party committees by lifting some of the unnecessary and burdensome regulation that continue to hinder their development.
Sponsored by Delegate Michael Jablonski
Urging Governor Nathan Deal to do the right thing and not leave the taxpayers of this state on the hook for settlements to whistleblowers fired during the cover-up of his campaign finance violations.
WHEREAS Deal has been under investigation by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission for campaign finance violations committed during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
WHEREAS the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission has been investigating Gov. Deal since soon after he took office in 2010.
WHEREAS whistleblowers at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission were forced out when they refused to stop investigating Gov. Deal.
WHEREAS these now-fired staffers filed or threatened to file lawsuits against the state under the state’s whistleblower protection statute.
WHEREAS Stacey Kalberman, the first whistleblower to go to trial received a jury verdict of over $700,000 and the state agreed to pay more than $400,000 in legal costs.
WHEREAS the state settled with the three other whistleblowers to pay out settlements totaling approximately $1.8 million.
WHEREAS Gov. Deal’s transactions have required the Inspector General, at great cost to taxpayers, to investigate operations of the governor’s office.
WHEREAS evidence continues to surface regarding unethical and illegal coordination between current Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission staff, the Governor’s Office, and the Attorney General, the withholding evidence, and the continuation of the cover-up that led to the whistleblower suits.
WHEREAS the citizens of this state do not deserve to be financially responsible for Gov. Deal’s ethical violations nor the subsequent cover-up and whistleblower lawsuits.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC STATE CONVENTION that the Democratic Party of Georgia condemns Governor Nathan Deal for putting the taxpayers of this state on the hook to pay settlements from his ethical violations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Georgia urges Gov. Deal to pay these fines from his personal accounts.
Chairman DuBose Porter
Resolution Commending and Supporting Women’s Vote Mobilization
Submitted by Sally Rosser and Wendy Davis
WHEREAS, on August 26, 1920, women gained the right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution following over 70 years of the peaceful civil rights movement begun in 1848 by women determined to gain their right to vote; and
WHEREAS, the women’s vote has grown since that day to become a critical factor affecting Georgia and national politics; and
WHEREAS: The Women’s vote is key to Democratic Victory in 2014; and
WHEREAS: Since 1980 a majority of women have voted for the Democratic candidate, and since 1988 if only women voted, our Democratic candidate for President would have been victorious in each election; and
WHEREAS: In 2012 women voted to re-elect President Barack Obama by 10% points and, in 2014 polling, women prefer the Democratic Candidate by an average of 12% points; and
WHEREAS: Women register and vote in greater numbers than their male counterparts and the largest difference, according to the US Census, of nearly 8% occurs between unmarried and/or never married men and women; and
WHEREAS: There are currently more than 2.5 million active women voters in Georgia, more than 51% of the electorate; and
WHEREAS: Democratic voters in Georgia in 2014 have selected six women as nominees for statewide office and numerous women as candidates for legislative, judicial and local offices across the state; and
WHEREAS: Women view government and its services more positively than men, including safety-net issues, health care, fairness and pay equity, education, job and senior security; and
WHEREAS: The Republican Party has abandoned many of these issues, that they used to support, and that are vital to all women’s full participation in the American Dream; and
WHEREAS: The Georgia Democratic Party has championed these and many other issues that strengthen our families, protect our rights, create fairness and opportunity, and enable women to be full partners in America, and are a model for many nations throughout the world;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
That the Democratic Party of Georgia wholeheartedly continues its work to inform, register, mobilize the women of Georgia; and
That we engage women through opportunities in leadership, encourage and support for women candidates for public office, social media efforts that are targeted at connecting women, and with partners including the Democratic Women’s Council and the Federation of Democratic Women.
That the DPG encourages the women’s vote with special emphasis on the young women’s vote through the College and Young Democrats of Georgia, Labor and constituency outreach; and
That, through the ballot box, we turn back the Republican attacks on women’s rights and strengthen all families through the economic progress that true equality will bring.
Recognizing that a quality education is the single most important thing we can do for our children and the future of our great state of Georgia.
Whereas there are nearly 9,000 fewer public school teachers in Georgia classrooms since 2008 yet the number of children continues to rise.
Whereas 2/3 of our school districts have had to cut instructional days because of budget challenges.
Whereas 95% of our school districts have increased class sizes.
Whereas we are expecting more from teachers and students but equipping them with less of the resources they need to be successful.
Whereas drastic changes to the HOPE scholarship in 2011 directly impacted access to a quality, affordable higher education and bootstrap in to the middle class.
Whereas Georgia is ready for leadership that has the vision and commitment to our public schools, our teachers and our students.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Georgia Democratic State convention that the Democratic Party of Georgia reaffirms its commitment to the importance and promise of what an excellent public education will do for our students and the future of our great state.
Sponsored by Delegate Valarie Wilson.