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Special Interests vs. The People - case #Nov-2006, court of public opinion - Part 2.
by Mike Crane

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."

- Thomas Jefferson

To understand the extent of Special Interest influence on the Georgia Flag FAIR Vote Act and other issues that affect you and your family (See: Special Interests vs. The People - case #Nov-2006, court of public opinion - Part 1) requires a bit of background.

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 Georgia.

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 listed below.

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 business reasons.

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?

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For more information on the video: http://GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org

[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 10/28/02 ] 

SPOTLIGHT
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.

Coca-Cola, 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 said.

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 issue.

'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 Ritz-Carlton.

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 the change.

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 challenges. 

"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 requests. 

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," Johnson said. 

A public interest watchdog said the way business and political interests are moving money to campaigns is cause for concern.

"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."

 

Extracted from 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.

 

 

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