A licensed real estate appraiser, Cooke’s top donors are executives with Chick-fil-a and East West Express Inc., a trucking company. Other donors include his employer, family members and Carrollton businessman Steve Adams.
Billing himself as a strict constitutionalist, Cooke in his first term co-sponsored a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment, which allows voters rather than state legislatures to select members of the U.S. Senate.
Sept. 26, 2012 — Rick Crawford was just nominated as a Democrat to serve another two-year term in the Georgia House, but he says he’s switching to the Republican Party if he wins re-election. Crawford, who had been pondering his party affiliation for a while, said the Democrats’ endorsement of same-sex marriage pushed him over the edge. “I thought, ‘My time here is done,'” he said. His timing precluded Democrats from fielding another nominee in 2012, but Crawford said there was no political calculation to his decision. (UPDATE: Georgia Democrats, based on this report, reportedly plan to try to get Crawford thrown off the Nov. 6 ballot.)
Sept. 26, 2012 — Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has reimbursed his campaign $8,500 even though his lawyer says he didn’t have to. The payment covers money that Rogers collected from his Senate expense account for costs paid by his campaign committee. Attorney Doug Chalmers said Rogers has loaned the campaign much more than that, but he cut the check “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
Barbara Massey Reece has reported collecting relatively modest sums of campaign contributions — less than $180,000 in 15 years of campaigning. Not surprisingly, since she hails from the same hometown as famed criminal defense attorney Bobby Lee Cook, Reece’s top campaign donors are trial lawyers.
Meadows said he worked hard during his first five years at the Capitol to build a campaign war chest of $41,000. Once he was named Insurance chair, he didn’t have to try so hard, collecting $77,000 in the summer and fall of 2010. Another $419,000 followed once he became Rules chair in 2011.
He’s given much of that away to other Republican candidates. “I have a lot more money than I ever thought I would,” he said.
Lobbyists, who spent less than $4,500 on Meadows in 2006-09, have lavished nearly $21,000 on meals, entertainment and other gifts for him since 2011.
Sept. 19, 2012 — Georgia taxpayers reimbursed Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers this year for $6,688 in expenses that appear to have been paid by his re-election committee. The Legislature also reimbursed him in 2003 and 2005 for $1,471 that his campaign had apparently paid. In each case, Rogers submitted a sworn statement that he had personally incurred those expenses. Senate expense accounts, at least until recently, have not been audited. UPDATE: Chip Rogers has since reimbursed his campaign $8,500 “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” even though the expenses were legitimate, his attorney says.
Paul Broun’s conflicting accounts of more than $300,000 in loans to his election campaign make him one of the most corrupt members of Congress, a Washington activist group says.
Unraveling campaign finance and lobbyist spending reports can be difficult if you don’t know the lingo. Trade associations frequently create political action committees (PACs) with names that mask, intentionally or not, the special interests behind them. Others are known only by obscure acronyms; some use the same acronym. So, as we continue to shine a light on special interests’ influence in Georgia, we’ve compiled this quick guide to who’s who among the PACs
Sept. 5, 2012 — State and federal agents seized documents and planned two arrests today in an investigation of alleged falsification and alteration of child-abuse intake reports in Muscogee County. Investigators are trying to determine whether reports were falsified to make it appear Georgia was opening abuse cases more quickly so DFCS could qualify for millions of federal dollars that had been withheld.
CALHOUN, Sept. 5, 2012 — The notorious “Meth 6” motel here has sold in foreclosure for pennies on the dollar, potentially clearing the way for lenders to pursue two Georgia lawmakers for a defaulted loan. On Aug. 16, after the abandoned motel brought $370,000, a Gordon County judge signed an order allowing a bank to seek payment on the rest of a $1.88 million debt from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and Sen. Chip Rogers. Graves says the order is merely a formality.
Sept. 4, 2012 — Glenn Richardson walked away from the Georgia Legislature with $220,000 in campaign funds to spend with little oversight. More than 2 1/2 years later, as he plans a run for the state Senate, he still hasn’t officially disclosed what he’s done with it. The former speaker of the House assures me, though, that he hasn’t taken a penny for himself. “I have received no checks from that,” said Richardson.