December 04, 2020

Georgia on My Mind

Part of the problem with the election coverage is there is no disinterested coverage. Which means it’s up to the individual to try to sort out truth from fiction while having a very small base of background knowledge in which to do it. You could call it amateur hour but then our elites are amateurs too, at least in terms of competence.  So we all try to ferret out the truth because we rightly don’t trust elected officials. 

It does sort of come down to that in some ways. Do we trust, for example, the governor and Sec of State in Georgia?  We could trust them in two ways: for their competence and integrity and obviously both are important.

I have no way of knowing their competence as I don’t know their jobs. So that’s not a fruitful avenue for sleuthing. 

What about integrity?  I don’t know their hearts but I can look for clues. 

1999-20?: Raffensperger accumulates a lot of debt, reportedly over $860k. No sin there. But did he cover it up? His opponent for a 2015 Georgia House seat was Kelly Stewart. Her campaign claimed

Raffensperger refuses to show proof that he's "paid 21 tax liens, legal judgments and lawsuits he's incurred over the last 17 years that total more than $860,000."

"It seems as if Brad's entire defense is: 'Everyone else is lying except me,’ [Stewart campaign manager] continued. 'Are over a dozen of private companies, courts, and government jurisdictions across four states really lying about his failure to pay his taxes and debts? Is this some conspiracy they dreamed up over 17 years just to keep him out of public office? And if they are lying, where is the proof that these issues have been resolved?'

Raffensperger said his opponent has 'knowingly stated factually untrue things' about him, his family and his business. He also said he's responded to Stewart's mailings concerning his 'business setbacks.'

'Business setbacks do occur in the free enterprise system — they are a fact of life,he said." 

2002-2010: (Now Gov) Brian Kemp wins Georgia State Senate in “stunning upset campaign” run by Jared Thomas, later Chief of Staff when Kemp was Sec of State, and later a Dominion lobbyist.

2007-2008: Kemp gets into financial difficulty and acquires large “insider” loans when getting loans was difficult; but not fully paid off as of 2018. No proof of any graft other than a refusal to reveal the terms of such loans, which can be helpfully gentle.

2010: Kemp appointed by Sonny Perdue, who had ethical violations around a conflict of interest and taking campaign contributions in amounts that exceeded state limits from several donors — including a political action committee run by SunTrust, the Georgia-based bank. Unclear if the ethical violations were “ticky-tack” fouls or how intentional they were. SunTrust later donated $14,000 to Kemp’s 2018 run for governor ($2,500 to his opponent). 

2018: Kemp wins close election against Stacey Abrams* while remaining as Sec of State during the run. Brad Raffensperger, a civil engineer, wins his Sec of State office after just four years experience in Georgia House and six years as a politician. Raffensperger appoints fellow Fulton County resident Gabriel Sterling, as COO of the Secretary of State. However, by April 2020, Raffensperger is referring the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to Sterling by giving Sterling’s personal gmail account instead of a state account email.  So perhaps Sterling was short-lived appointment?  His LinkedIn is extremely long and seemingly comprehensive but lacks Sterling Innovative Solutions, a LLC with himself as registered agent.

Sterling was a city councilman and is a business owner. Raffensperger said at the time: “I have worked with Mr. Sterling on several projects, and have found him to be knowledgeable and insightful to the intersection between the political and business communities.”  The claim to fame for Sterling’s council was privatizing almost all city work (although a few years later was mostly undone).

July 2019: Dominion is awarded $107 million contract with former chief of staff Jared Thomas as lobbyist.

Nov 2019: Kemp falls out with Trump over appointing newcomer Loeffler as senator instead of Trump-favorite and known quantity Doug Collins, a former salesman, pastor, Georgia House member and then U.S. Congressman who said in July 2019: “We will need to... ensure that government intelligence and law enforcement powers are never again used and turned on a private citizen or a political candidate as a result of the political leanings.”  Loeffler is a wealthy businesswoman involved in financial services and owning exchanges.

Apr 2020: Letter to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from Secretary of State Raffensperger announces grant of $10+million towards election. Not clear yet where the money went and there’s a FOI request recently outstanding towards an auditing.

Nov 2020: Attorney Sidney Powell accuses GA state officials of corruption. Loeffler and Perdue issue joint statement: “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately."

* - humorously, four of Abrams top ten donors had donations of $21,000 and shared the surname Soros, one being George of course. 

No comments: