Political Notes — Brass gets opponent in state senate race

[private]Matt Brass appeared to be home free as the new state senator from District 28, but he may have to wait a while before declaring final victory.

Brass, a former chief of staff to retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, won the GOP primary in May to run for the seat being vacated by Mike Crane and initially had no general election opposition. However, he now has a write-in opponent in the person of Jan Horne.

As reported by Sarah Fay Campbell in the Newnan Times-Herald:

Horne said she is “not a member of the establishment. I am just a concerned citizen who wants to continue the hard work Sen. Mike Crane has done during his time as our senator.”

“As your Republican representative in the Senate, I will fight every day to serve your needs and protect your freedom and constitutional rights,” Horne said in a press release.

“For years I have been involved in the community, particularly as a volunteer with various Republican events and clubs throughout the state.  I have never worked in a political office nor held a political position.”

Brass is still the favorite to win in the Metro Atlanta district that includes Coweta and parts of four other counties.

Retired GOP congressmen disavow Trump

A group of 30 former Republican congressmen announced Thursday they will not vote for their party’s nominee, Donald Trump, on Nov. 8.

Here’s part of their statement explaining why:

In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges. He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation.

None of the former House members are from Georgia.  The statement was circulated by former Oklahoma Rep. Mickey Edwards and former Missouri Rep. Tom Coleman.

Kingston a lobbyist for Syrian faction

Former Georgia congressman Jack Kingston has registered as a lobbyist for a coalition of groups that oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  The group does not include the Islamic State or al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front.

This isn’t the first time Kingston has had connections with Middle Eastern groups or individuals.  In the 2014 U.S. Senate race, there were politically damaging media reports on Kingston’s relationship with Palestinian felon Khalid Satary and two companies linked to Satary that were involved in a fundraiser for Kingston’s campaign.

Satary was sentenced in 2005 as the ringleader in a music piracy outfit that operated several CD manufacturing businesses around the state and served three years in federal prison. The media coverage of his link to Kingston was thought to be a factor in Kingston’s losing the GOP runoff to David Perdue.

Tenet to pay huge fine in Medicaid fraud case

The Tenet Healthcare Corp. hospital chain and two Atlanta-area subsidiaries will pay more than $513 million in fines to resolve federal criminal charges and civil claims relating to a scheme to pay kickbacks in exchange for Medicaid patient referrals.

The Tenet subsidiaries, Atlanta Medical Center and North Fulton Medical Center, have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. through the payment of healthcare kickbacks and bribes.

“Tenet cheated the Medicaid system by paying bribes and kickbacks to a pre-natal clinic to unlawfully refer over 20,000 Medicaid patients to the hospitals,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “In so doing, they exploited some of the most vulnerable members of our community and took advantage of a payment system designed to ensure that underprivileged patients have choices in receiving care.”

DOT official sentenced on bribery conviction

George H. Bell, an assistant area maintenance foreman at the Georgia Department of Transportation, was sentenced Tuesday to four and a half years’ imprisonment for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing more than 2,600 dump truckloads of unsuitable dirt to be dumped in DeKalb County, resulting in more than $1.5 million in cleanup costs.

“For less than $15,000 in bribes, Bell abused his supervisory position with the G-DOT by allowing others to dump massive amounts of unsuitable dirt throughout DeKalb County,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Bell’s greed and willingness to compromise the trust of his public office has left all Georgians with environmental damage and a clean-up tab of more than $1.5 million.”

“We are appalled by the corrupt actions of this individual that in no way reflect the hard work and commitment displayed by more than 4,100 GDOT employees,” DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said. “We have worked diligently to correct the damage to the impacted sites.”

Gwinnett acquires Olympic tennis center

Gwinnett County will acquire and demolish the facility that was the site of tennis competition in the 1996 Olympic Games through a land swap with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association.

As reported by the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Gwinnett will buy 34.95 acres of land next to Stone Mountain Park’s golf course in DeKalb County for nearly $1.2 million. That land will then be given to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, a group created by the General Assembly in the 1950s, in exchange for the 24.26-acre tennis property.

“As a Gwinnett taxpayer and SMMA board member, I believe this is a good transaction for both the county and the association,” Stone Mountain Memorial Association Board Member Perry Tindol said in a statement released by Gwinnett officials.

“The county obtains a property for future development in a strategic area, and the association is able to further protect the boundaries of the park.”

Georgia DOE gets charter school grant

The state Department of Education will get a $24.4 million charter schools program grant over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the growth of public charter schools.

“This grant will support Georgia’s strong commitment to improving student academic achievement and preparing all students to learn, live, and lead in the future,” state school Supt. Richard Woods said.

Kemp sponsors another peanut poll

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is holding his second “Georgia Presidential Peanut Straw Poll” at the Georgia National Fair in Perry through Oct. 16.

He’s asking fairgoers to stop by his booth in the Georgia Grown Building and vote for their preferred candidates for president and U.S. senator.

“Georgians’ high level of participation in the Peanut Poll last year shows that they are invested in the future of our nation,” Kemp said. “I expect the excitement to continue this year.”

Last year, the “Peanut Poll” became the largest straw poll in America after surpassing the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll by nearly 20,000 votes.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brian Kemp , Donald Trump , DOT , Gwinnett County , Jack Kingston , Jan Horne , Matt Brass , Olympic tennis center , Tenet Healthcare