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Playing the odds: The rise of Sen. Chip Rogers

Playing the odds: The rise of Sen. Chip Rogers
December 4, 2012 --

Dec. 5, 2012 — Sen. Chip Rogers resigned Tuesday, a month after winning re-election, to take a job at Georgia Public Broadcasting. For those curious about what might have led to his decision — or those just looking for a fascinating read — we re-present our exclusive May 25 report about Rogers’ prior broadcasting experience:

Years before Chip Rogers became majority leader in the Georgia Senate, the Woodstock Republican was “Will ‘The Winner’” Rogers, advising callers for a fee how to bet against the pointspread on pro and college football. Once billed as one of the nation’s “premier handicappers,” Rogers says today he was nothing more than on-air “talent” reading a script for a client. Our nine-month investigation – a collaboration with The News Enterprise, a student reporting initiative of Emory College’s Journalism Program – reveals how Rogers got started in the industry and how he met the veteran handicapper who would take a $2.2 million eyesore off his hands two decades later.

Did Senate reimburse majority leader for $8K paid by campaign?

Did Senate reimburse majority leader for $8K paid by campaign?
September 19, 2012 --

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.

Graves, Rogers on hook for $1.5M after sale of ‘Meth 6’ motel

Graves, Rogers on hook for $1.5M after sale of 'Meth 6' motel
September 5, 2012 --

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.

Rogers played larger role in pitching casino, handicappers

Rogers played larger role in pitching casino, handicappers
July 26, 2012 --

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, while serving as a freshman legislator, regularly oversaw production of promotional mailings that advertised over-the-phone sports handicapping services and an offshore casino, Atlanta Unfiltered has learned. Two Atlanta-area printing companies worked closely with Rogers between 1998 and 2004 to produce the promotional booklets, called Schedules USA, according to a former employee and former owner. Previously, Rogers has said his role in the handicapping industry was limited to voice and television work reading scripted promotions.

IRS files new lien against business owned by congressman, state senator

IRS files new lien against business owned by congressman, state senator
March 14, 2011 --

The IRS has slapped another tax lien on a business co-owned by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. Graves said his accountant has cleared up the lien as well as a previous one over a total debt of $8,965.

Simons lobbies lawmakers, raises $$$ for them, too

Simons lobbies lawmakers, raises $$$ for them, too
July 20, 2010 --

Lobbyists, more than anything else, sell access to politicians. Political fund-raisers sell candidates on their ability to generate boodles of campaign cash, frequently from donors that want, well, access to politicians. Put the two jobs together, and you get Dave Simons.

Report: 2 ethics attorneys ran private practice on state’s time

Report: 2 ethics attorneys ran private practice on state's time
July 15, 2010 --

Two attorneys for the State Ethics Commission improperly used public resources to operate their private law practice, Inspector General Elizabeth Archer has found. Attorneys Yasha Heidari, who resigned in April, and Tom Plank used state-issued computers to research clients’ cases and abused sick leave, she said, and they created a potential conflict by representing a business operated by a man who offers his services as a lobbyist, a profession regulated by the ethics commission. UPDATE: The Ethics Commission said today it will implement the inspector general’s recommended remedies immediately and will “take appropriate action” after reviewing the findings regarding Plank.

Bank: Candidate Tom Graves trying to evade $2.25M debt

Bank: Candidate Tom Graves trying to evade $2.25M debt
May 27, 2010 --

A North Georgia bank is accusing congressional candidate Tom Graves of attempted fraud for trying to escape a $2.25 million debt. The complaint, filed last week by Bartow County Bank, alleges Graves transferred his home and adjoining properties worth $657,000 into a trust last year to protect it from the debt. For that, the bank would like punitive damages.

21 legislators took $5K+ in freebies from lobbyists

21 legislators took $5K+ in freebies from lobbyists
January 15, 2010 --

Twenty-one Georgia legislators accepted gifts valued at $5,000 or more from lobbyists last year. Led by Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, the 21 legislators accounted for 10 percent of the $1.5 million in lobbyist handouts last year. We’re talking gift baskets, food and drink, golf, sports and concert tickets, lodging and airfare. These are the lawmakers who can’t say no.

37 Georgia legislators skipped filing ’08 financial disclosures

37 Georgia legislators skipped filing '08 financial disclosures
July 20, 2009 --

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Rep. Calvin Smyre, House minority caucus chairman, are among 37 Georgia legislators who have failed to file required disclosures of their personal finances this year. In fact, six lawmakers still haven’t filed disclosures for 2007 that were due more than a year ago. They are …

Burkhalter tops Richardson in campaign fund-raising

Burkhalter tops Richardson in campaign fund-raising
July 8, 2009 --

Rep. Mark Burkhalter, not House Speaker Glenn Richardson, appears to be the Georgia Legislature’s top campaign fund-raiser for 2009. The Johns Creek Republican, who serves as speaker pro tem, collected $94,250 in campaign funds for the first six months of 2009. Richardson reported raising $88,150 in the same period.