Political Notes — Here’s one Georgia congressman who will hold town hall meetings

[private]While most of Georgia’s Republican congressmen are studiously avoiding any town hall meetings in their districts, there is one of them who is going against the grain.

Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter has scheduled nine town hall meetings this week in his 1st Congressional District.

Carter said in an email Monday that he’ll hold the meetings at locations in Wayne, Ware, Clinch, McIntosh, Camden, Glynn, Effingham, Bryan, and Chatham counties, with three meetings apiece held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

These are not the first town hall meetings Carter has staged this year, either.  He held live meetings in February in Savannah, Jesup, Waycross, and Brunswick, where he fielded quite a few hostile questions (Carter is an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act and thinks it should be repealed).

Most of Carter’s GOP colleagues are staying away from live town hall meetings, largely out of concern that they’ll have to deal with angry people who support Obamacare and want to keep the healthcare law in force.

Sen. David Perdue has refused to hold any meetings at all, while Sen. Johnny Isakson has done a few telephone town hall meetings, where hostile questioners can be screened.  Rep. Rob Woodall has also held telephone meetings, but Rep. Karen Handel, the newest member of the congressional delegation, is limiting her meetings to “invitation only,” according to the Marietta Daily Journal:

“The Roswell Republican made her remarks during a special meeting of the Marietta-based Georgia Tea Party. The Monday evening event, held at the Cobb GOP headquarters, was by invitation only and saw a turnout of about 70. Yet Handel said she prefers speaking to constituents through such town hall-style formats rather than through the media, anyway.”

Religious Liberty question

The Georgia Republican Party’s state committee passed a resolution at a weekend meeting supporting “religious liberty” legislation but decided not to make the party’s gubernatorial candidates sign a pledge of support for the controversial measure.

The push to pass a resolution was seen as an attempt by some party factions to strike back at Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the front runner for the GOP nomination.  Cagle’s fervor for religious liberty legislation has cooled off somewhat in recent months, while his opponents Brian Kemp, Hunter Hill, and Michael Williams support it.

Wells Fargo pays $108 million in whistleblower case

Wells Fargo Bank has signed off on a settlement that will pay the federal government $108 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that Wells Fargo cheated military veterans out of millions of dollars by deliberately hiding illegal fees in veterans’ home mortgage refinance loans and then trying to collect on void government loan guarantees when there was a default.

The whistleblower lawsuit was brought by two former mortgage brokers based in Atlanta, Victor Bibby and Brian Donnelly. They were represented by the law firms Butler Wooten & Peak and Wilbanks & Gouinlock, both of Atlanta, and Phillips & Cohen of Washington D.C.

The lawsuit was originally filed against eight lenders, but six of the banks settled in 2012.

“Wells Fargo decided to mount a ‘Stalingrad defense,’ denying the undeniable, and fought for almost five years after the other banks settled,” said James E. Butler Jr. of Butler Wooten & Peak.  “Facing trial, Wells Fargo chose to settle.”

Jere Wood ousted, but will appeal

Jere Wood has been ordered out of the mayor’s office in Roswell by a Fulton County judge, but the colorful politician indicated last week he will appeal that ruling and hang on to his elected position.

“I have decided to appeal the court’s decision in this matter,” Wood said in a statement. “However, I will not be seeking reelection this coming November. I will continue to serve the city until my current term comes to an end or the appellate court rules on Judge Schwall’s decision.”

Fulton Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall ruled that under Roswell’s city charter, Wood, the mayor since 1997, should have been term limited out of office in 2013. He ordered Wood to vacate the office immediately, but stayed the order pending appeal.

Personnel moves

Sam Hall, the media spokesman for the Georgia Labor Department for nearly 25 years, has retired as of July 31.

“I realized in June, it’s time for me to quit doing this,” Hall said. “Enough is enough.”

Hall, who had been a TV news anchor, first went to work for the department when it was headed by David Poythress and continued to work for subsequent labor commissioners Marti Fullerton, Mike Thurmond, and Mark Butler.

His interim replacement is Amanda Lucey.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Buddy Carter , Jere Wood , Jim Butler , religious liberty , Sam Hall , whistleblower lawsuit