Political Notes — Harp will replace McIver on state election board

[private]Former state senator Seth Harp of Midland is the choice to replace Claud “Tex” McIver as the state Senate’s appointee to the State Election Board.

McIver, an Atlanta attorney who has been charged with shooting and killing his wife, stepped down from his post on the election board several weeks ago.

The choice of Harp to serve a two-year term on the election board was disclosed in SR 403, a resolution that was dropped in the Senate hopper Thursday and will be voted upon later.

Harp, an attorney with the Columbus law firm Harp Poydasheff Post and Sowers, served 10 years as a Republican in the Georgia Senate before stepping down in 2010 to run unsuccessfully for state insurance commissioner.

The Times tears Sonny Perdue a new one

Former governor Sonny Perdue is still awaiting a confirmation hearing and vote on his appointment as agriculture secretary, but the New York Times certainly didn’t do him any favors in Thursday’s editions.

The front page article by Eric Lipton and Steve Eder provides a lengthy recounting of the ethical mishaps that dogged Perdue during his two terms as Georgia’s governor.

One of the highlights of the piece is a summary of the scandal originally exposed by James Salzer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2006 about Perdue’s mysterious $100,000 tax break:

The focus of the controversy was a piece of property in Florida that Mr. Perdue purchased in 2004. The purchase allowed him to defer paying federal capital gains taxes on a separate piece of Georgia land — which he had previously sold at a profit.

When that transaction was completed, Mr. Perdue still owed Georgia about $100,000 in state taxes.

Then, Mr. Perdue signed a bill the following year eliminating that state tax obligation — as state law was changed to allow so-called rollover relief on capital gains, even if the new property being purchased was out of state.

During deliberations on the legislation, Larry O’Neal, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives who also worked part time as a personal lawyer for Mr. Perdue, intervened to make the change in that provision retroactive. That meant it would cover Mr. Perdue’s 2004 land deal, saving the governor $100,000, The Journal-Constitution reported at the time.

Happy birthday, Mr. Speaker

March 10 would have been the 93rd birthday of Thomas B. Murphy, the man from Bremen who ran the Georgia House for a record-breaking 28 years as speaker.

Murphy, who died in 2007 after suffering a stroke, was arguably the most powerful man at the state capitol in his years as House speaker, controlling the lower chamber with an iron fist and a hot temper.

The current speaker, David Ralston, made note Friday that Murphy’s son, Superior Court Judge Mike Murphy, was a guest in the House gallery.

“Today would have been another birthday for Tom Murphy, the greatest speaker that ever got to stand where I stand,” Speaker David Ralston said.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

Tags: Seth Harp , Sonny Perdue , state election board , Tex McIver , Tom Murphy