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An early backer of Rep. David Ralston, Benton supported the Blue Ridge Republican’s unsuccessful 2008 effort to unseat Glenn Richardson as speaker of the House. After Richardson later resigned, the GOP Caucus chose a new speaker in Ralston, who named Benton to chair the House Human Resources and Aging Committee.
Benton’s top campaign donors — including trade groups for teachers, highway contractors and trucking and billboard companies — reflect his longstanding assignments to the Education and Transportation committees.
Lumsden is one of many freshmen lawmakers who rely heavily on other Republican legislators as campaign donors. He raised $36,300, or 60 percent of his entire 2012 campaign account, from other House Republicans.
Tru-Vision Security Consultants, Tanner’s private security business, gave up its six-figure contract with Lanier Technical College in January 2013 on the day he took the oath of office to serve as a state legislator.
Tanner said he did his research and found Tru-Vision could have continued doing business with the college if it won a new contract through a competitive sealed-bid process. “However,” he wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to a university official, “I feel it best that I turn this work over to another company to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”
Dickson, who retired in 2003 as Whitfield County school superintendent, has stayed busy since then as a part-time legislator and as chairman of Georgia United Credit Union, which has become one of Georgia’s largest, quadrupling in size in the last decade.
Georgia United converted from a federal- to a state-chartered institution in 2010. Soon thereafter, it merged with six other credit unions, including the State Employees Credit Union, making potential members of all employees of state government, state universities and Georgia’s 159 county governments.
When he wasn’t riding his Harley, Maxwell, an Allstate insurance agent, has chaired the House Audits, Retirement and Regulated Industries committees. His service since 2005 on the Insurance Committee, though, has attracted the lion’s share of his political donations. Roughly half of the $200,000 raised over the years by his campaign committee has come from insurance and health-care interests.
Collectively, Maxwell’s fellow board members at Georgia Heritage Bank top his donor list from other interests. A 2009 federal cease and desist order accused the Dallas, Ga.-based community bank of employing risky lending practices under lax board supervision.
Coomer’s most generous campaign donors include fellow legislators and a number of local businesses in his district. Since he ran for the House, though, proponents of free-standing surgery centers, including the Harbin Clinic in Rome, Cartersville surgeon Dr. John Perry, Resurgens P.C. and the Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, have given nearly $11,000, the largest bloc of campaign money that Coomer has collected from a single interest.
The Georgia Industrial Loan Association, represented by former Rep. Charlie Watts, treated Coomer to an $1,148, three-day weekend at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla., for its 2012 annual convention.
Jasperse, a retired extension agent, has been a frugal campaigner, spending about $41,000 since 2010 to win three elections AND pay some of his legislative office expenses.
In 2011, Rep. Jay Neal paid $900 in fines and late fees for filing his 2006 personal financial disclosure three years late and leaving a fiduciary position off his 2007 disclosure. As part of the consent order that closed the investigation by the state ethics commission, Neal acknowledged that he also failed to file copies of five campaign disclosures from 2006 with local election officials, as the law then required.
Neal’s single most generous campaign donor over the years has been former Rossville used car dealer Carey V. Brown, whose Internet-based payday-lending businesses have been sanctioned by regulators in California, New Hampshire, Oregon and Pennsylvania for charging excessive — and illegal — interest rates. Neal said he has known Brown, whose last donation came in 2008, from their involvement in a women’s counseling center before Neal entered politics. “Our relationship was not a business relationship in any way,” he said.
Rep. Trey Kelley, a freshman who knocked off a three-term Democratic incumbent in 2012, has drawn nearly one-third of his financial support from other Republican legislators. Other major donors include principals in a Cedartown-based construction firm and Buchanan businessman Ronnie Ridley, former head of the Georgia Amusement and Music Operators Association.
Rep. Jay Roberts says he played no role in managing his father’s Fitzgerald-based modular-home business. But the relationship was enough to scuttle a 2008 request for $1 million in state loans to help it expand.
Rep. Tom Weldon did not disclose payments of $2,432 from the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council in fiscal year 2010. Legislators may do business with state agencies under limited circumstances. The sum paid to Weldon falls below the amount, currently $10,000, that legislators must report on their annual Personal Financial Disclosures. Another law, though, requires that public officials disclose payments from state agencies if any single transaction exceeds $250.
A past president of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, Broadrick has drawn most of his financial support from other pharmacists. His personal financial disclosure for 2011 omitted partial ownership of a Dalton condominium and a fiduciary role in a pharmacist organization that he said has never been active.
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