It’s confusing to be a elected official, so let me help you out. Georgia may be last in ethics laws , but we still technically have them.
Speaking broadly the test, whether for Georgia or Federal law, is whether an expenditure is “ordinary and necessary” in seeking public office. If it is ordinary and necessary, then a campaign can spend money on it, but third parties cannot for your benefit, unless it is disclosed and treated as an in-kind contribution and stays beneath the contribution ceiling (more on that in a minute).
If it is not “ordinary and necessary” than a campaign cannot spend its own money on it. Confused? Let’s walk through some real life examples: Read more
Last month the Judicial Nominating Commission started accepting name submissions to fill the vacancy on the DeKalb County Superior Court (formally the Stone Mountain Circuit) caused by Judge Hancock’s resignation. Anyone can submit a name, and apparently, somebody submitted the name of Michael L. Rothenberg, and there is only one person by that name who is a member of the Georgia Bar.
If Rothenberg’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he has a long history with PeachPundit that includes trying to run for an office for which he was not qualified, dropping out of that race, then running again in 2010 and making the runoff before being sued in federal court and by the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged fraud.
In 2008, Rothenberg ran for Superior Court and Erick questioned his eligibility.
After initially arguing that he was indeed eligible, Rothenberg later ended that campaign. Erick congratulated him on making the right decision and wrote, “I hope in 2010 he will run.”
Rothenberg did indeed run in 2010, and made the runoff against Courtney Johnson, who won the election. Between the general election and the runoff, Rothenberg was accused of running a ponzi scheme in a federal lawsuit seeking the return of $1.35 million “invested” with Rothenberg.
Rothenberg called the lawsuit “nothing more than a political hit job on me.”
He said the lawsuit’s allegations were “absolutely outrageous, slanderous and completely untrue, completely untrue.”
Rep. Edward Lindsey, an attorney, is regarded as one of the smartest guys in the House. He’s released an e-Newsletter this weekend covering the legal talking points on the House redistricting map that passed this week. I don’t normally copy/paste things to PeachPundit, but this is essential reading for those who want more than a 30,000-foot aerial view of redistricting.
By Representative Edward Lindsey, Georgia House Majority Whip:
1. Does the Redistricting Plan for the Georgia House of Representatives (HB 1EX) violate the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA)? No
“The redistricting plan passed by the Georgia House on August 18, 2011, was created in accordance with guidelines issued by President Obama’s Justice Department and creates 49 African American “majority-minority” districts, which are the same number that exist at the present time. This will keep us in full compliance with the VRA. In addition, we will have for the first time a Hispanic Majority Minority district.
By contrast, the alternative proposal presented to the House Reapportionment Committee by the Democratic Party through its caucus leadership on August 16, 2011 only maintained 43 African American “majority-minority” districts according to the testimony of the House Minority Leader. If true, their plan is likely retrogressive and in violation of Section 5 of the VRA. Furthermore, the alternative plan created by the Democratic Party has four districts with African American populations that are 80+%. This would also likely be considered unlawful packing under the VRA.
The AJC reports today on a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Michael Rothenberg, who ran unsuccessfully for DeKalb Superior Court in 2010.
The SEC complaint appears to originate with the same transaction that birthed a federal lawsuit against Rothenberg just before the December 2011 runoff election.
The SEC alleges that Rothenberg transferred $169,o00 of money from defrauded investors to his campaign account. In November, the Fulton Daily Report noted Rothenberg denying having transferred the funds in questions to his campaign.
I’m not a lawyer, so a celebrity bear** is going to explain* former gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry‘s lawsuit against Linda Pittman, Jeff Sexton and Thomas Knighton. Mrs. Pittman is the woman who accused McBerry of having an improper relationship with her 16-year-old daughter, Sexton and Knighton operate a blog called SWGA Politics. According to the AJC the suit charges that “Mrs. Pittman “stated falsely, with actual malice, that [McBerry] had committed the crime of child molestation” on a Facebook page.”
MH: Mr. McBeary, how can that be? Read more
That is the figure from WSB:
Because there were only two statewide runoff races and those were for appellate court judges, the state of Georgia predicted only about five percent of registered voters would go to the polls.
Poll workers around Metro Atlanta said that’s just about what they got.
“Turnout has been very low,” said Winston precinct poll manager Tina Martin. “But it’s basically what we expected.”
Lousy weather also played a part in the low voter turnout.
Things were a little better at Austell’s Trinity United Methodist Church where poll workers reported 50 voters by 4 p.m.
“Not as good as we wanted but more than we expected,” poll manager Stacey Waters told Elliot.
While she appreciated the 50 voters, she said it was a far cry from the 1,200 people who voted during the general election.
“We’ve been taking frequent snack breaks,” she said. “We’ve just been trying to pass the time the best we can.”
Some experts have estimated that because of the low turnout and high costs of setting up precincts, Georgia will have spent about $15 per vote in the runoff.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp and his commission on electoral reform need to take up the costs associated with conducting elections, and all options, including Instant Runoff Voting (even if it’s just for local elections), need to be on the table.
As I type, 65% of the Statewide results are in. Nahmias and McFadden both lead 2-1.
This is an open thread, but first I’d like to offer the following suggestions:
1. Instant runoff voting using some sort of ranking system. Make voting more fun!.
2. Random ballot order, especially in primaries and non-partisan races. I don’t see why we couldn’t program the machines to do it on a per voter basis, but at the very least I know some other states do rotate who is on top by precinct or country or at least draw for the privilege.
3. An “I have no opinion” option. In too many races, voters have no idea who the people they are voting for are. Why not nudge them in the direction of just saying I have no opinion. In my opinion, it’s better than a “none of the above” which implies a negative opinion about the candidates, but it also prevents someone named Michael Clinton or Billy Reagan who happens to be a total crook from winning an election that no one knows anything about.
Now…your ideas, predictions, dreams?
It’s Runoff Day. I voted at 8:50 AM and was voter #8 at my precinct in Lawrenceville. The poll workers had a contest amongst themselves to see if any voter with last names beginning in something other than a,b or c will show up. None have thus far.
Predictions I’ve heard say turnout will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 6% which would mean about 300,000 people voting statewide. Tell me again why we have runoffs?
What are you folks seeing out there?
As you know, each county has it’s own front page poster except for Hall. That’s just how we roll around here, and I’m the Cobb County guy, when I’m not the Fayette County guy. Or the Fulton County guy. Or,…
Anyway, I voted early last week as I’m out of town this week. Voted for Nahmias for Supreme Court, and McFadden for Court of Appeals. I’ll have to admit that there was one race I skipped on the general ballot as I didn’t know anything about the candidates, and didn’t start asking in time to get an informed answer. Read more
The Political Insider points us to this radio ad being run by ‘Georgia Women Vote.’ The ad asks women to go to the polls tomorrow and support women candidates. Specifically Toni Davis for Court of Appeals, and Tammy Lynn Adkins for Supreme Court.
Personally, I’ll be voting for Nahmias and McFadden but not because they’re men. I feel they’re the best candidates for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals respectively.
Don’t forget that there is a special election tomorrow for two statewide offices, Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals, as well as some local races. These are both low-profile offices, but they are still very important seats. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered both of the these races last week.
The first article, published on Wednesday, covered the Georgia Supreme Court race between David Nahmias, the incumbent (appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2009) and Tammy Adkins:
On Nov. 2, Nahmias led a three-candidate field with 48.2 percent of the vote, not enough to win the race outright. He now faces Tamela “Tammy” Adkins, a Lawrenceville family law attorney, who got 35.2 percent of the vote even though she did not accept financial contributions or campaign during the general election.
Since getting into the runoff, however, Adkins has changed tacks. She is accepting financial contributions and has hit the campaign trail. And while Nahmias has the advantage of being the incumbent on Tuesday, Adkins’ name will be first on the ballot.
Received this from the Chris McFadden for Court of Appeals campaign:
Chris McFadden, candidate for Court of Appeals has received the following endorsements from elected officials in Georgia.
Rep Elect BJ Pak
Rep David Casas
Rep James Mills
Rep Elect Buzz Brockway
Rep Ed Lindsey
Rep Elect Josh Clark
Former Rep Robert Mumford
Rep Jan Jones
Rep Chuck Martin
Rep Joe Wilkinson
Rep Mike Jacobs
Rep Ron Stephens
Rep and Labor Commissioner Elect Mark Butler
Rep Matt Dollar
Rep Earl Ehrhart
Rep Elect Lynne Riley
Fulton County Commissioner Elect Liz Hauseman
Former Fulton County Chairman Mike Kenn
Former Secretary of State Karen Handel
Rep Chuck Martin
Sen Elect Fran Millar
Rep Ben Harbin
Sen Jeff Chapman
Rep Don Parsons
Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren
Fayette Clerk of Court Sheila Studdard
Rep Jerry Keen
Don’t forget to vote Tuesday.
I was planning on voting on Friday. Apparently, I can not. And you can’t either.
If you’re going to vote in the Nov 30th runoffs, tomorrow or Tuesday are your last chances.
Please make a note of it.
Enjoy running for re-election with Obama at the top of the ticket. He only won your district by 3,000 votes last time.
Updated by Charlie: Jim Galloway says Ellis Black has switched too.