Sometime in 2000, then governor, Roy Barnes had
meetings with agitators such as Jesse Jackson and the Downtown
Atlanta Business groups. At this time Georgia was in a growing
economy but the agitators and Chamber types wanted Governor Barnes
to buy into their political agenda. You would not think that
Atlanta Businesses and Jesse Jackson would not have much in
common, but they did have the same agenda in this case. Both the
agitators and the Chamber had an agenda to further political
correctness in Georgia.
Their main target was
to be the State Flag.
It did not matter that the State Flag was
simply a Memorial to Georgia veterans and had been flying since
1956. It did not matter that as a major component of the then
dominant Democratic Party the Black Caucus held enormous power in
the Legislature including many of the top committee chairmanships.
It did not matter that the Atlanta Business Establishment was
experiencing growth and profits. What mattered was a clear
demonstration of the power this unholy alliance had built up in
So the Governor and his
alliance of agitators and Chamber types began their plans.
The first thing that Governor Barnes did was to
publicly state that he was not planning on changing the State
Flag. So much for honesty!
As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
one such plan as for the Atlanta Businesses to form a PAC to build
a slush fund to help Legislators who could be persuaded to steal
the flag under false pretenses. The name of this Political entity
was the Georgia Business PAC. For those who might want to question
this, all I can say is go to the Secretary of State's web site or
office and look at the required campaign finance reports. They are
public record. Some of the
public record information is
The Georgia Business PAC dispersed just over
$142,000 in the 2002 campaigns and ALL candidate contributions
were disbursed to only Legislators who voted to steal the State
Flag under false pretenses. When contacted some of the
corporations sent replies that they made contributions evenly, to
both those who voted for and against. But facts are facts, it
takes a bit of time to print the actual vote records and campaign
finance reports and compare them. The Atlanta Corporations are
lying about this, so much for honesty!
But stop and think
about this aspect a few minutes.
What is the compelling business interest for
say Delta Airlines in forcing a new State Flag on the People of
Georgia? It is hard to find how the State Flag in any State can
affect the business of operating passenger jets. They do not use
them for fuel! They do not put them on jets. Passengers do not
have to show their State Flag to get through security.
About the only corporation that joined the
Georgia Business PAC that could claim that flags were part of
their business would be Home Depot, which does sell a few flags.
But it is a very small percentage of their sales and the True
Georgia Flag out sales all others.
The truth is - these
corporations did not get involved in the secret deals for
They were involved to exercise their power to
force a politically correct agenda upon the People of a whole
State. There is an operative word in that statement - power!
So in this article are the beginnings of a
pattern. It is Special Interests vs. The People and sadly is just
the beginning. As this series continues through the 2005 and 2006
Legislative Sessions, you will see how this pattern is affecting
many issues that affect your life. By the end of this series of
articles you will have quite a factual foundation to evaluate both
the 2006 Legislative Session and the candidates for elective
office in 2006.
In Special Interests
vs. The People, case#Nov-2006 you are the judge!
It will be up to you the citizens, will we
return to government of the people, by the people and for the
people? - OR - Will we continue government influenced by special
interests, paid for by the people and for the special interests?
Big business boosts flag-change backers
By JOHN McCOSH
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
SHINE YOUR OWN SPOTLIGHT ON GOVERNMENT
Your guide to open government on the Internet, with links to
valuable database searches.
Dozens of rural Georgia legislators went on a political limb
last year to support changing the state flag. Now many of
them are getting a re-election boost from those who
benefited from the change -- businesses.
Georgia Pacific, SouthTrust Corp., the
Georgia Business Political Action Committee and a
hospitality industry PAC are spreading hundreds of thousands
of dollars to candidates across the state who supported the
flag change, according to campaign disclosure records.
Charles Hood, who handles governmental affairs for
Atlanta-based Georgia Pacific, said his company used a list
of flag-change supporters to target nearly $43,000 it
donated to lawmakers this year.
"You understand what an issue like this can do politically
and you understand that these people may need help," Hood
Led by Gov. Roy Barnes, lawmakers moved quickly to change
the flag in 2001. Tourism officials say the state could have
lost $300 million if the NAACP followed through with a
threatened boycott over the old flag because of its dominant
Confederate battle emblem.
But "Let Us Vote" signs across the state calling for a
referendum offer evidence that some Georgians are still
unhappy with the change and plan revenge against the
legislators who voted for it.
The lawmakers most burdened by their vote to change, experts
agree, are rural Democrats who face GOP challengers. Many of
those Republicans are making the flag change a key campaign
'These folks need some help'
State Sen. Richard Marable (D-Rome), in a tough race against
Republican attorney Preston Smith, did not return phone
messages seeking comment last week. But he said last year he
knew his vote could cost him his seat: "For Georgia to move
forward, not as we were but as we want to be, it was in the
best interest . . . to change the flag. In my district, they
may choose someone who saw things differently."
This year, Marable was one of several flag-change supporters
to receive nearly $4,000 in contributions from Coke. (His
opponent favors a nonbinding referendum on the flag.)
The total amount of corporate support won't be known before
the Nov. 5 election because legislators have until next week
to send in final disclosure reports. But records show that
legislators who supported the flag change have already
gotten plenty of contributions from the business community.
Host, an Atlanta-based hospitality industry PAC, is funded
by companies with reason to reward flag-change supporters.
It sent nearly $115,000 worth of contributions almost
exclusively to incumbents in contested races who voted to
change the flag, including $2,000 each to Sens. George Hooks
(D-Americus), Rene Kemp (D-Hinesville) and Nathan Dean
(D-Rockmart). Host PAC's money came from such
tourism-reliant companies as the Hyatt Regency and
Bill Jones III, president of the Sea Island Co. on the
coast, is another member of the hospitality industry backing
legislators who voted to change the flag. In August he sent
$1,000 checks to 15 House and Senate members who supported
Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) is credited with helping to
get the legislators and the business community together to
help make the flag change happen. He is also chairman of the
state Democratic Party and has made calls to potential
donors on behalf of colleagues facing tough re-election
"I don't think there was a quid pro quo," Smyre said. "But I
think the conventional wisdom is that these folks are going
to need some help. And I've been a part of that."
Companies and their PACs often give to candidates, but this
year the usual donors dug a little deeper, according to
disclosure reports filed by candidates.
Coca-Cola, for example, typically sprinkles checks for a few
hundred dollars around the state. But this summer
Coke sent contributions of nearly $4,000 to several
high-ranking incumbents, including Marable, the Senate
majority whip, and Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman
Rooney Bowen (D-Cordele), who also voted to change the flag.
Coca-Cola's Connell Stafford, who sent checks to candidates
across the state in August, did not respond to interview
Party leaders dole out cash
Powerful incumbent legislators from both parties are also
taking a stand for and against the flag-change supporters.
Some are among the largest contributors to the legislative
campaigns, although they say they aren't targeting the flag
issue, just competitive races. But in many of those cases,
it's the flag issue that is partly responsible for making
the race competitive.
"I've helped lots of people, some who voted to change the
flag and some who did not," said House Majority Leader Larry
Walker (D-Perry). Walker faces no opposition Nov. 5 but
continues to raise money and distribute it to other
campaigns. This month he held a $1,000-a-head fund-raiser in
Buckhead where an estimated 150 people wrote checks.
Senate Minority Leader Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), who also
is unopposed, is donating his campaign money to many of the
candidates challenging the flag changers. Johnson opposed
the flag change.
"Most of my contributions are where we have competitive
races, whether the issue is the flag vote or redistricting,"
A public interest watchdog said the way business and
political interests are moving money to campaigns is cause
"With people who don't need the money collecting and
redistributing the wealth, I clearly take exception to
that," said Bill Bozarth of Georgia's Common Cause chapter.
"But if, in fact, legislators were voting for this issue
largely because of promised campaign contributions, that's
very disappointing even if the cause is just."
public record campaign
reports on the Secretary of State's web site:
Again as of July 1, the Georgia
Business PAC has given out $142,000 to candidates who
supported the change. Money has gone to 34 Democrats, and 10
Republicans, as follows:
State Sen. Rooney Bowen (D-Cordele): $4,000
State Sen. Nathan Dean (D-Rockmart): $4,000
State Sen. Doug Haines (D-Athens): $4,000
State Sen. Jack Hill (D-Reidsville): $4,000
State Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus): $4,000
State Sen. Rene Kemp (D-Hinesville) : $4,000
State Sen. Dan Lee (D-LaGrange): $2,000
State Sen. Richard Marable (D-Rome): $4,000
State Sen. Michael Meyer Von Bremen (D-Albany): $2,000
State Sen. Harold Ragan (D-Cairo): $2,000
State Sen. Faye Smith (D-Milledgeville): $4,000
State Sen. Terrell Starr (D-Jonesboro): $2,000
State Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland): $4,000
State Sen. Bart Ladd (R-Dunwoody): $4,000
State Rep. Terry Johnson (D-Marietta): $4,000
State Rep. Mary Hodges Squires (D-Norcross): $3,000
State Rep. Rene Unterman (R-Loganville): $2,000
State Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta): $2,000
State Rep. Mike Barnes (D-Hampton): $4,000
State Rep. Ken Birdsong (D-Gordon): $4,000
State Rep. Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah): $2,000
State Rep. Hugh Broome (D-Donalsonville): $4,000
State Rep. Gail Buckner (D-Jonesboro): $1,000
State Rep. Mickey Channell (D-Greensboro): $2,000
State Rep. Ron Dodson (D-Lake City): $4,000
State Rep. Gerald Greene (D-Cuthbert): $2,000
State Rep. Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain): $2,000
State Rep. Newt Hudson (D-Rochelle): $4,000
State Rep. Curtis Jenkins (D-Forsyth): $4,000
State Rep. Jimmy Lord (D-Sandersville): $4,000
State Rep. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta): $1,000
State Rep. Richard Royal (D-Camilla): $4,000
State Rep. Wallace Sholar (D-Cairo): $4,000
State Rep. Tracy Stallings (D-Carrollton): $4,000
State Rep. Jim Stokes (D-Covington): $4,000
State Rep. State Rep. Doug Teper (D-Atlanta): $1,000
State Rep. Don Wix (D-Mableton): $3,000
State Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth): $3,000
State Rep. Mack Crawford (R-Zebulon): $4,000
State Rep. Burke Day (R-Tybee Island): $2,000
State Rep. Paul Jennings (R-Atlanta): $4,000
State Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta): $2,000
State Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody): $4,000
State Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta): $4,000.
Note: Some of the candidates received checks without
any contact. They just appeared in their mail.