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Oct. 20, 2016 –– Bob Gibeling has politics in his blood. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather served on the Waycross City Council, and his great-grandfather served in the Georgia House from 1927 to 1930. This is Gibeling’s second race against Rep. Beth Beskin, who won in 2014.
Oct. 20, 2016 — Rep. Joyce Chandler and her husband owe more than a half-million dollars in back income taxes, federal tax collectors say, and the amount appears to be growing.
The IRS in July filed a lien for $519,000 including interest and penalties, just the latest development in a decade-long attempt to collect taxes from the legislator and her husband, Martin.
“It was all my deal. She had nothing to do with it,” Martin Chandler said.
Oct, 20, 2016 — Donna McLeod — a plaintiff in a suit alleging political gerrymandering of local posts in Gwinnett County — says district lines were also redrawn to help her opponent in a state legislative seat.
McLeod is running against Rep. Joyce Chandler, a Republican who’s won two close elections by about 550 and 800 votes. A 2015 redistricting removed a majority-minority precinct where Chandler lost by more than 600 votes the year before and added two precincts where white voters outnumber minorities by more than 3-to-1.
July 21, 2016 — Alan Cole has not disclosed ownership of three limited liability companies that are the actual owners of rental homes that he lists on his personal financial disclosure. They are: Ashwoody Leonard LLC, Fancher LLC and The Harts Mill Barn LLC. Each one lists Cole’s home address as its principal office address in filings with the Georgia secretary of state.
July 21, 2016 — Matt Gurtler’s most generous campaign donor has plunked down $4,000. But a Washington-based advocacy group for school choice and privatization dropped eight times as much to support Gurtler’s bid for the House. The American Federation for Children reported spending $20,850 on direct mail, media buys and online ads before the May 24 primary and nearly $13,000 more in advance of the July 26 runoff. Those are considered to be “independent” expenditures and thus are not subject to Georgia’s campaign contribution limits.
July 21, 2016 — Kent Woerner has raised $56,000, mostly from local donors, for his race for the seat of retiring Rep. Steve Allison. Woerner also has the support of House Speaker David Ralston from nearby Blue Ridge; he and other House Republicans have chipped in more than $13,000 to the retired educator’s campaign.
July 20, 2016 — Voters in House District 62 can choose between two runoff candidates with substantial federal tax debts. The IRS last year filed a $32,610 lien against William Boddie for seven years of unpaid taxes dating back to 2006. In February 2016, the Georgia Department of Revenue filed an income tax lien of its own for $15,043.
Boddie, in an interview, said he is taking care of the debts under an approved payment plan and hopes to have it all paid off this year. He blamed the matter on a payroll system at his law firm that was “not quite working.”
July 20, 2016 — Valerie Vie, like her opponent in House District 62, has a significant federal tax debt. The IRS last year filed a $11,554 lien against her for unpaid taxes. Another IRS lien for $4,175 has remained on the books since 2009. Georgia’s Constitution bars tax delinquents from holding state office unless the debt is contested or subject to a payment plan.
Vie also has no personal financial disclosure on file with the state ethics commission. In a brief telephone conversation, Vie said she was unsure why and referred us to her campaign manager, who told us nothing because we couldn’t him. His voicemail box was full and his website’s email was not functioning.
July 20, 2016 — Alcohol and tobacco interests have showered campaign donations on Dickson by virtue of his eight years on the House Regulated Industries Committee. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers in those industries have given more than $64,000 to Dickson’s campaigns, or about one-fifth of all his contributions.
He’s also benefited from fellow Republican legislators, who’ve donated more than $47,000 to his campaign in 2016.
July 20, 2016 — Jason Ridley’s runoff campaign was $2,720 in the red July 1, leaving him at a financial disadvantage in his bid to unseat Rep. Tom Dickson. However, Ridley benefited in May from an independently funded mailer calling out Dickson for supporting a sales tax exemption for tickets to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta. The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity paid for the mailers, which went out a few days before the May 24 Republican primary. No cost has been disclosed, as the mailers are not considered political materials.
July 19, 2016 — Labor and lawyers — two traditional Democratic constituencies — are funding the campaigns in House District 59. Labor is backing Janine Brown, a former staffer of both the AFL-CIO and Communication Workers of America. Unions and union officials have donated more than $56,000 to Brown, or roughly 40 percent of all her contributions.
July 19, 2016 — Lawyers make up the largest bloc of donors by far for David Dreyer, an attorney specializing in commercial litigation at Chamberlain Hrdlicka. They’ve given him more than $113,000, or more than half of all his campaign contributions. He needed it in the race for House District 59, perhaps the most expensive Georgia House race of 2016, with the three candidates collecting more than $446,000 in contributions through late July.
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Some criminals have their photos and crimes plastered all over the Internet, so people know who they are and what they did. Not politicians -- until now. The Crooked Politician Registry is an archive of info on public servants who crossed the line.
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Most public corruption cases in Georgia are prosecuted in federal court. The U.S. attorney for North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, has an excellent Web site with archived news releases on prominent cases.
Federal court files may be searched online for a nominal fee through PACER. (The first $10 a year of searches are free.)
With the right keywords, online search engines will also turn up news releases or court rulings on a particular case at no cost.