On the campaign trail: Carter calls for reopening of ethics probe

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State Sen. Jason Carter is calling for Attorney General Sam Olens to reopen an investigation into the complaints filed against Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign – the complaints that launched an ongoing ethics commission controversy and legal settlements totaling more than $3 million.

He sent a letter to Olens this week “asking him to appoint an independent Special Assistant Attorney General to reopen and complete the investigation,” Carter said.

“Georgia’s top ethics officials were forced from their jobs after drafting subpoenas as part of an investigation into whether Gov. Deal’s 2010 campaign used contributions to personally enrich Gov. Deal and his friends and family,” Carter said.

Carter was joined in the call for a new investigation by Greg Hecht, the former legislator who’s running on the Democratic ticket against Olens for attorney general.

“It’s time to hold Sam Olens accountable for leaving Georgia taxpayers on the hook for almost $3 million in settlement costs associated with an alleged coverup into Nathan Deal’s campaign for governor,” Hecht said.

Olens has not yet responded to Carter’s request, but his spokesman indicated there would be a response at some point.

The attorney general is expected to turn down the request, most likely citing the fact that Deal’s attorneys negotiated a 2012 settlement of the complaints with the state ethics commission in which the governor agreed to pay $3,350 to settle three ethics complaints.

Hice defends Islam statements

Congressional candidate Jody Hice says his controversial remarks about Muslims and the religious nature (or not) of Islam should be considered part of his “God-given right to free speech and freedom of religion.”

“To clarify, the comments made in my book were only directed toward radical Islamists that plot to wage war on our country and harm our people,” said Hice, who’s running in the 10 th Congressional District Republican runoff against Mike Collins.

Hice has generated a lot of media attention in recent days as reporters and pundits have dug up some of his inflammatory remarks about people of the Muslim faith.

For one thing, Hice has declared that Islam is not really a religion and therefore does not have to be protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” Hice wrote in a book published two years ago. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”

That comment, in particular, has prompted even some conservative websites to criticize Hice.

A Peach Pundit blogger wrote Monday: “The comments show a fundamental misunderstanding of one of the most important documents in American history. It also happens to be the basis upon which our government runs. Such a gross misunderstanding of how government works does not elicit thoughts of confidence from me.”

Hice is no stranger to making provocative political statements. When he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, he leased a billboard in Gwinnett County that asked, “Had Enough of Obama’s Change?” with the the socialist symbol of a hammer and sickle replacing the letter “C.”

Whither Paul Broun?

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has been silent since finishing fifth in the Republican Senate primary, but he broke that silence this week with an email talking about his plans for the future and his need for money.

“Although we came up short this time, I know that God is not done with me as I continue to have a burning desire to do whatever it takes to save this nation from the path of economic ruin that this President and Congress are taking us down,” Broun wrote.

But he added: “We put all we had into our U.S. Senate campaign, leaving it all on the field, and because of this our campaign is left with some debt. Before I can begin the next chapter in our fight for our nation and our Constitution, I must do all I can to retire this debt.”

He is asking supporters to help him raise $15,000 online to pay off that campaign debt.

Carter gets key endorsements

State Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) snared major endorsements Wednesday for his Republican runoff campaign against Bob Johnson in the 1 st Congressional District.

The National Rifle Association threw its support to Carter because of support as a legislator for gun carry legislation.

“I have always supported the rights of gun owners and the right for any American to bear arms,” Carter said. “As a member of the state legislature, I always voted in favor of pro gun-legislation.”

Carter was also endorsed by Savannah-area heavyweight Eric Johnson, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010.

“Buddy Carter is a family man and a man of great faith,” Johnson said. “Buddy has a proven conservative track record that has produced real results.”

State GOP adds staffer in South Georgia

The Georgia Republican Party has hired Valdosta State graduate Natalie Jones as the state party’s southeastern regional director.

Her primary duty will be to organize field support for Rick Allen, the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. John Barrow in the 12th Congressional District race.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Buddy Carter , Eric Johnson , ethics complaints , Jason Carter , Jody Hice , Nathan Deal , NRA , Paul Broun , Sam Olens