CHOOSE FREEDOM! #COBBFIRST
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jason Shepherd
October 19, 2020 Chair@CobbGOP.org
Cobb GOP Files Ethics Complaints Against Democratic Sheriff Candidates Craig Owens and Jimmy Herndon
Complaints Outline Numerous Violations of the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act
(Marietta, GA) – The Cobb County Republican Party filed ethics complaints today with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission against Democratic Sheriff candidates Craig Owens and James “Jimmy” Herndon, alleging multiple violations of Georgia’s Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act (“Campaign Finance Act”).
The complaint against Owens, the Democratic nominee for Sheriff, highlights numerous violations of the Campaign Finance Act, including failing to disclose thousands of dollars in campaign donations and/or expenditures, failing to file a Personal Financial Disclosure Report as required by law, as well as late filings of his Campaign Finance Reports. The complaint against Herndon, who filed challenges to incumbent Sheriff Neil Warren and his other Democratic opponents to get them thrown off the ballot on technicalities, but lost the Democratic Primary on June 9, highlights his failure to file any Campaign Finance Reports after his April 30 report.
“Craig Owens is asking Cobb voters to elect him to a position to run a 3,500 bed jail in a one million square foot facility with a $95 million annual budget, but he cannot even file a simple campaign finance report correctly,” said Cobb County Republican Party Chairman Jason Shepherd. “How can Cobb County voters entrust him to handle the job of Sheriff when he cannot follow basic campaign finance laws?”
Despite running on a campaign slogan of “Truth, Trust, and Transparency,” Owens’s campaign finance reports show his campaign is anything but transparent. Absent from Owens’s disclosures is the representation of his campaign by Marietta attorney Cindy Yeagar of the Yeagar Law Firm, which represented the Owens campaign in an appeal to the Cobb County Superior Court from the unanimous decision by the Cobb County Board of Elections to remove Owens from the ballot after fellow Democrat James Herndon alleged Owens did not correctly qualify for the Office of Sheriff. The Owens campaign challenged the Board’s decision, and the Cobb County Superior Court reversed the decision of the Board.
The Owens campaign hired three law firms, including the Yeagar Firm, which also appears on Owens’s Campaign Finance Report as providing free office space for the Owens campaign, but Owens’s original April 30, 2020 Campaign Finance Report makes no mention of his legal representation by Yeagar or either of the other two firms that represented him. Four months later, on September 1, Owens filed an amended April Report showing payments of $3,000 and $5,000 to the other two firms, but still nothing regarding the Yeagar Firm, which is listed in Court documents as having filed and participated in the appeal.
“Whether it is an oversight or an intentional omission to hide his legal representation from the voters remains to be seen,” said Shepherd. “However, it is hard to be truthful, trustworthy, and transparent while withholding whether the Yeagar Firm represented the campaign as an in-kind contribution or if he had to pay the law firm like he did the others, or a combination of both.”
However, that is not the only area where the Owens campaign has failed to be transparent. Each candidate for public office is required by law to file a Personal Financial Disclosure Report detailing the candidate’s personal finances and whether the candidate might have a financial conflict of interest the voters need to know about. The Campaign Finance Act requires the Personal Financial Disclosure Report be filed within 15 days of qualifying for the office, which happened back in March. To date, Owens has not filed a Personal Financial Disclosure Report.
“It’s ironic that Craig Owens’s party has been demanding that President Donald Trump disclose his tax returns, which is not required by law, but are silent about Craig Owens failing to file his Personal Financial Disclosure Report, which is required by law, said Shepherd. “Just more Democratic hypocrisy.”
This is not the first time that Craig Owens has come under fire for lack of honesty and transparency. It was a failure to file a required affidavit during qualifying that lead the Cobb County Board of Elections, including the Democratic members of the Board, to unanimously vote to disqualify Owens, but he has also received flak for misusing his military uniform on his campaign pieces, a likely violation of Department of Defense rules and regulations.
According to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, members of the Armed Forces, including retired members, may NOT, in campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements) use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.
Throughout his campaign, Owens has used photos of himself in uniform as the primary graphic of himself on his partisan campaign mail, his campaign website, and campaign Facebook page.
“Owens owes our men and women in uniform an apology for his misuse of the uniform,” said Shepherd. “It is clear that he either is choosing to ignore the laws regarding his campaign finances and use of his uniform, or is ignorant of the laws, which any good cop will tell you, is no defense.”
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE COMPLAINT AGAINST OWENS: Page 1, Page 2
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD COMPLAINT AGAINST HERNDON: Page 1
CLICK HERE FOR DoD Directive (see page 6)
CLICK HERE FOR EXAMPLE OF OWENS USING HIS UNIFORM FOR PARTISAN CAMPAIGN PURPOSES
ABOUT THOSE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS:
I know Democrat House candidate Caroline Holko was hoping I would focus on her this newsletter, but today is the first day of Early Voting and I wanted to focus this column on something more important, the Amendments and referendums on the ballot this year. I have received numerous questions on the Constitutional Amendments that are on the ballot this year. Here is an explanation for what each would do:
Georgia Amendment 1:
Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law
"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?"
Sometimes when the Georgia General Assembly creates a new tax or fee, they will dedicate all or part of that tax or fee to a dedicated purpose, like a portion of the tobacco tax going to fund programs to prevent youth tobacco use. There is a small problem, the Georgia Constitution does not require that fee or tax to actually go to that purpose. Instead, the funds go into the general fund and can be budgeted for any purpose.
If passed, the state's constitution would be changed to limit funds that are dedicated to those statute-specific projects.
In addition, the agency responsible for those funds would have to provide an annual report on the funds involved.
The tax or fee which generates those funds would also have to expire within ten years but could be renewed if the General Assembly wants to renew it.
Once the dedicated fee or tax is passed and enacted, the legislature would not be permitted to re-allocate revenues from those funds to the state's general fund unless the governor suspends the fund to which they are dedicated for, which could happen in the case of a budget shortfall due to an economic downturn or other financial emergency.
The Amendment defines a financial emergency as when total state revenue in the most recent fiscal year is 3% or more below revenue estimates or when the state has three consecutive months of declining revenues.
Georgia Amendment 2:
Waives state and local sovereign immunity for violation of state laws, state and federal constitutions.
"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?"
The best explanation comes from Rep. Andy Welch, the amendment’s author, who posted his reasoning behind the amendment on Facebook:
“So, what is sovereign immunity? It is an age-old legal doctrine that says the King can do no wrong and thus cannot be sued unless the King consents. Our Georgia Supreme Court has correctly said that our State Constitution includes the protection of sovereign immunity. As a result, citizens cannot petition Georgia courts to declare a governmental action unlawful and issue an injunction to stop the government from continuing the unlawful action. But what does that mean?
Let’s say that the State passes a statute that says Georgians may have only one political sign in their yards, or a local building director refuses to issue building permits for any new churches in your area; or a state or local official begins issuing land disturbance permits in environmentally protected areas, or a local government passes an ordinance that prohibits the licensed carry of firearms. Without the amendment, you may not sue the State of Georgia or your local government in Georgia courts to stop such action. (The only way you could get justice is to sue in Federal Court or sue the elected officials or the public employees personally which may be very difficult, costly and prolonged.)
If you think the doors of Georgia Courts should be open to allow her citizens to sue and protect their statutory and constitutional rights against government intrusion, then you should vote for this amendment. If you think our state judiciary should serve as a check on legislative and executive actions of the State and local governments, then you should vote for this amendment.
While the amendment allows Georgians to sue to STOP unlawful governmental action, it does NOT grant monetary judgments, court costs, or attorneys’ fees. This amendment will allow suits to be filed against the government itself as opposed to suing individual members serving or working for these governments. (It is already hard enough to get good people to serve in public office or public employment; they shouldn’t have to worry about being sued personally.) The amendment will apply to actions taking place on or after Jan. 1, 2021.”
- State Rep. Andy Welch, Amendment Author
Georgia Referendum A:
Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities.
"Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest?"
This referendum will provide an exemption from property taxes for property owned by a public charity that is already exempt from federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) -- such as Habitat for Humanity -- if the property in question is owned specifically for the purpose of building or rehabilitating single-family homes.
Currently, charities like Habitat have to pay property taxes even before transferring the home to the new homeowner. The Amendment would exempt charities like Habitat and the collection of property taxes would only begin when the home is transferred to the new owner.
In addition, the charity would have to provide interest-free financing to those purchasing the home.
Cobb's 2022 SPLOST Renewal
Also on the ballot in Cobb County is the renewal of the current Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The current penny tax is set to expire in 2022 and voters are being asked to renew it until 2028.
The list of projects the SPLOST is dedicated for can be found on the County Government's website.
If this passes, we will not see a change in our current 6% sales tax, but if it fails, we will see our sales tax decrease by $0.01 to 5%. Likely, the Cobb County Commission will seek other ways, like increasing property taxes, to make-up for the funds that had come in via the sales tax.
Undoubtedly, if there was any year worthy of stealing the title to Stanley Kramer’s 1963 classic comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it would be 2020. The passing last week of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a.k.a. “The Notorious RBG”) has dropped a bomb on the political landscape less than 50 days before the election. The Democrats who were demanding a vote on Merrick Garland in 2016 are now demanding no nominations or confirmation until after the election.
While he may be splitting hairs, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had vowed to move forward with a confirmation before the vote, justifying his change on the issue of “nominations in an election year” on the fact that the government was divided then, but not divided now.
In 2016, McConnell couched the primary reason for waiting until after the election in 2016 was the fact there was divided government in 2016, with the White House controlled by the Democrats and the Senate by Republicans. By waiting until after the election, as the editors of National Review point out in an op-ed, “the voters should be asked to break the deadlock between two branches they elected.”
That is not the case in 2020. In the last Presidential election (2016) and the last three Senate elections (2014, 2016, and 2018), the voters have chosen to back Republicans.
But the argument is not really about which party controls what and when. It is about the Senate’s role to “advise and consent.”
Yes, the President nominates, which Barack Obama did in 2016 and Donald Trump will do in 2020, but it is up to the Senate to “advise and consent,” not just “rubber stamp” the President’s wishes. The President’s right to nominate is absolute, but so is the Senate’s right to vote or not vote on that nomination.
Democrats are convulsing about the possibility that between now and January 20, even if Biden wins on Nov. 3 (or 4, or 5, or 6, or Thanksgiving), Donald Trump will be able to cement a conservative majority on the Court for a generation.
They are mad about the lack of Republican respect for RBG’s “dying wish” that Donald Trump not appoint her replacement.
However, Ginsburg herself said in a 2016 interview with the New York Times regarding Merrick Garland’s confirmation, “There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year.”
To put it another way, as a friend of mine on Facebook quipped, “I have reviewed my copy of the Constitution and I cannot locate the ‘dying wish’ clause.”
The fever-pitched, over-the-top (dare I say “mad”) reaction of the left has brought up the “I” word again, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreeing with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that the House could move to impeach President Trump or AG Barr as a “stall tactic.”
The absolute arrogance of the Democrats and disrespect for the Constitution and rule of law is maddening! Impeachment is only for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” not a trigger to be used as a “stall tactic” to stop the President and Senate from exercising their Constitutional obligations.
Yes, a bit of politics was played with Merrick Garland, however, the so-called “Biden Rule” about Supreme Court appointments in a Presidential Election year is politics as well. It was well and good for Mitch McConnell to use the short-sighted pontification of the then Vice-President against him when Biden, as a Senator in a Democratic Majority Senate was looking down Pennsylvania Avenue at a Republican President George H. W. Bush, and was chomping at the bit for the first Democratic controlled government in 12 years.
It was the Democrat’s rule, and we used it against them. That is how politics is played. Or as my mother often said, “Be careful what you wish for.”
That is why elections matter.
For now, the President and Senate should move forward with a nomination. That was Ruth Bader Gingburg’s and Joe Biden’s wish in 2016 (be careful what you wish for). The people have spoken, and they have put the Republicans in control of the White House and Senate. If they wanted divided government, that opportunity came and went in 2018.
If the voters are upset with the President and Senate’s decision, they can elect Joe Biden and a Democratic majority in both chambers in 2020 and the Democrats can move forward with their promise to increase the Supreme Court by four to six seats, allowing Kamala Harris Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer to pack the court and create a 9 to 6 liberal majority…assuming no conservatives leave the Court in the next four years, giving the Democrats a chance to appoint two or three more liberals to the Court.
It’s a mad, mad, mad mad world, and in the next 45 days, it is going to get a lot madder.
Yours in Freedom,
Chairman, Cobb County Republican Party
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jason Shepherd
September 17, 2020 Chair@CobbGOP.org
Cobb GOP Chair Calls on Caroline Holko to Immediately Withdraw from State House Race After Racist Remarks Surface
Demands Cobb Democrats Join the GOP in Condemning Candidate's Racist Remarks
MARIETTA, GA – Cobb County Republican Party Chairman Jason Shepherd is calling on Democratic State House candidate Caroline Holko to immediately end her campaign for State House and withdraw from the ballot after the Atlanta Journal Constitution brought to light racist slurs posted by Holko on a blog in 2009.
According to the AJC, Holko, who is challenging Marietta Republican State Representative John Carson for the District 46 seat, wrote, “I do not agree that (n-word) should be banned from collective speech — I don’t hold with censorship of ANY kind, and if that means I have to occasionally listen to some (expletive) use mean words, so be it.”
“There is no question that she must immediately end her campaign for state house and withdraw from the ballot,” said Cobb GOP Chair Jason Shepherd. “There is no place in a community as diverse as Cobb County for an elected official who denigrates anyone based on their race.”
Holko has told the media she no longer holds those views and has “evolved,” however, Shepherd questions why at 35, she was still publicly saying things online like, “but the fact still remains that I have never been mugged by a white person.”
“Holko hasn’t ‘evolved,’” said Shepherd, “She just got caught. She is trying to spin this to save her political career, and it is not working.”
As the story has now gained national attention on FoxNews.com, Shepherd is also questioning why Cobb County’s other Democrats remain so silent.
In 2019, the Cobb County Democratic Party remained silently supportive of Erica Thomas when she told a Cuban immigrant to ‘go back to where he came from’ after falsely accusing him of accosting her, now Shepherd believes it is past time for Cobb Democratic Chair Jacquelyn Bettadapur, and elected officials like Lucy McBath, David Wilkerson, and the rest of the Cobb Democratic leadership need to finally stand up and stop being silent about the blatant bigotry that seems to run amuck in the Cobb County Democratic Party.
However, State Rep. Erick Allen (D-Smyrna) is openly supporting Holko telling the AJC, “what was said in 2009 is disturbing, I’ve worked with Caroline the last couple of years in the Cobb Democratic Party and I know that is not reflective of the person who she is today.”
Shepherd sees Allen’s comments as just another indication of Democratic hypocrisy. “Just like with Joe Biden’s often racist remarks and long voting record, Cobb’s Democrats are just planning to excuse Holko, like they did Erica Thomas, and sweep her bigotry under the rug if it will help them win,” said Shepherd. “Thankfully, Cobb County voters know better.”
The stakes in the 2020 Election for Cobb County have never been higher. While we tend to focus nationally, with the Presidential race capturing most of the attention of the press and electorate, this year, we must not neglect our local races.
Our entire county government it at stake on Nov. 3. In 2018, Democrats captured the majority of the vote countywide, with Stacey Abrams receiving 30,000 more votes than Brian Kemp in Cobb County. With most of our countywide Republican officials on the ballot, 2020 is a “make-it, or break-it point” for the GOP.
For decades, we have enjoyed good, conservative, Republican governance in Cobb. It has allowed our schools to become some of the best in not just our state, but our nation. It has kept our taxes the lowest in the metro area and has provided safety and public service for our residents.
That all can change Nov. 3.
As I told the Marietta Daily Journal, if Chairman Mike Boyce and Republican Fitz Johnson are defeated, then the Democrats control the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and they control the law enforcement in Cobb County. If they take the sheriff’s (office), they have the whole thing.
We have seen where the Democratic Party has gone when it comes to law enforcement, preferring to champion criminals over cops, chaos over safety, and seem to want to define lawlessness as a Constitutionally protected right.
Cobb Democrats want to try to say they are different, and in his response to my warnings, Democratic David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs), Chair of the Cobb Legislative Delegation had only one way to respond…in typical Democratic fashion, he lied.
“You will not hear anybody in our delegation talk about defunding the police. That is typical Trumpism where they’re going to try to scare people into voting for them when they’ve done such a poor job. We have been nothing but supportive of law enforcement,” Wilkerson claimed.
While Cobb’s Democrats in the House may have enough disciple not to use the magic words “defund the police,” their actions speak louder than their words when everyone one of them voted against giving law enforcement in Georgia more tools to go after human traffickers when they voted against SB 394.
Then Wilkerson makes his most bizarre and false claim in the way of a personal attack, “They can’t forget, just a couple of months ago Jason Shepherd was doing the best he could to get rid of Mike Boyce because Mike Boyce was raising taxes. They raised taxes and continue to raise taxes.”
That claim is so ridiculous and odd that how can Wilkerson be trusted with ANYTHING he told the MDJ.
It is clear what the Democrat’s end game is, take control of the county commission, take control of the school board, keep control of the legislative delegation so they can gerrymander the GOP out of existence in Cobb for the next decade and beyond.
Friends, in Cobb County, this IS the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER!
In the legal profession, we call this “hearsay” evidence, and it’s not admissible.
In music, we say, “I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another you’ve been messing around...”
In journalism, the standard is, “if it makes Trump look bad...PRINT IT!”
Of course I'm talking about the recent article in The Atlantic claiming President Trump disparaged the military dead during a 2018 visit to the American Cemetery in Verdun to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
The article sent shockwaves as several anonymous sources claimed that the President called those who died in the war "suckers" and "losers."
Democrats and "NeverTrump" Republicans were quick to jump on the bandwagon, citing Trump's statements in 2016 regarding John McCain, a former Vietnam POW, "I like people who weren't captured" as proof he would have made those remarks.
Of course, the reason for Trump's snarky retort in 2016 was McCain's constant attacks on Trump and was aimed at the fact that McCain constantly used his wartime record and status as a POW as a shield to deflect criticism for his loathsome and divisive actions throughout his political career, and not a statement about POWs in general. But back to The Atlantic article.
While the anonymous sources also spoke to FoxNews, which validated the sources as being those inside the Administration, FoxNews also delve into John Bolton's highly critical new book about his tenure in the Trump White House, The Room Where it Happened, which covered the trip highlighted in The Atlantic article and painted a very different picture of events:
Bolton even went on FoxNews to go on record that the statements made in The Atlantic article were "simply false."
Since then, there have been renewed calls for the sources to "come forward."
While there should be protections for whistleblowers, there is no way for the American people to judge the credibility of the sources or determine if there is not a certain conflict of interest. Maybe they were fired and are making this up for revenge?
Also, why is a two year old story coming to light now?
When this "bombshell" finally fizzles out, we can expect the media to concoct something else to dump on Trump before November 3. At this point, however, the media's credibility is shot and the only voters who will be influenced are the ones who are already willing to believe anything they hear from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another that Trump has been messing around.
A few weeks ago I touched on State Representative Erica Thomas's ethics woes. After filing a complaint against her in August 2019, a preliminary hearing was finally heard on the complaint earlier this month.
Rep. Thomas, who also serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a position her fellow Democrats in the House, like Mary Frances Williams, Michael Smith, Erick Allen, and others elected her to, despite her long history of ethical lapses and controversies, failed too respond to the charges in the complaint and did not show or send a representative to the hearing showing her utter contempt for the legal process, despite the fact she wants to make laws that others must live under and abide by.
The silence from the Democrats is deafening! So is the media's lack of scrutiny of a high ranking member of the Democratic leadership. Trust me that if Thomas was a Republican, the issue would be front page news across Georgia.
Every Democratic incumbent and candidate should be forced to go on record as to whether they will vote to re-elect Erica Thomas the Vice-Chair of their caucus. Of course, Minority Leader Bob Trammel, who would be the next Speaker of the House if the Democrats took control in November, could always ask for her resignation.
Of course, we haven't heard a peep out of him.
It is typical Democratic hypocrisy...they want us to live under rules they have no intention of following themselves and then blame Republicans, calling us "deplorable" for wanting to enforce and uphold the laws they pass.
As for Erica Thomas, the matter has been referred to the Georgia Attorney General's Office for further prosecution.
Lawlessness has become the theme and campaign rallying point for the Democrats in the 2020 election. We see this in the burning cities run by them while their accomplices in the media blame Donald Trump when he does something, then blames him when he respects the wishes of the Democratic Mayors and Governors to let them (not) handle it as not doing enough.
A CNN reporter even called the recent riots in Wisconsin "mostly peaceful" as he stood in front of burning buildings.
Only a Democrat in 2020 would call acts of arson "a mostly peaceful protest".
"Baghdad Bob", Saddam's propaganda minister who claimed there were no U.S. troops in Iraq as the tanks rolled by in the background wasn't as brazen as the modern U.S. media is in denying and covering up the truth.
In South Cobb, fliers distributed this week re-enforce the anti-law-and-order, anti-Public Safety message of the progressives running the Democratic Party today:
Mijente, which means "My People", is the group behind the fliers which say "Trump Out" all over them.
But their message is one demanding an end to bail and pre-trial detention. What is to stop someone from simply not showing up for trial, or having the opportunity to threaten, beat, or kill the witnesses who would be testifying against them? The left claims to be for victims, but, as we see with Joe Biden's frequent inappropriate touching, they will look the other way when it comes to one them, while they will decry and condemn a conservative, like Brett Kavanaugh, on nothing more than a rumor or unsubstantiated accusation.
Once again, where is the condemnation of Erica Thomas in the face of a mountain of evidence?
In Georgia, Democrats used to be different. As Democratic Governor and Senator Zell Miller used to say, he didn't leave the Party, it left him.
Now Georgia Democrats model their national counterparts on the radical left. In the waning days of the 2020 legislative session, every Democrat, including every Democrat in Cobb, voted against SB 394, a bill that gave the Attorney General's Office more authority to combat human trafficking, elder exploitation, and Medicaid fraud.
In today's Democratic Party, allowing law enforcement to have more tools to go after people who buy and sell children just doesn't play to their base.
Over 100 years ago, Mark Twain quipped, "I suppose all Democrats are on sociable terms with the devil."
He may have never been so right then as he would have been in 2020!
Marian E. "Bette" Tempest
October 18, 1930 - August 29, 2020
The Cobb County Republican Party is saddened to announce the passing of one of most dedicated and honored volunteers, Marian "Bette" Tempest, after her long battle with cancer.
Bette was a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and spent 15 years with the American Cancer Society in Miami, Florida before moving to Georgia where she finished her career at the Cobb County CDBG Program Office.
Bette earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) and Masters of Science (MS) from Barry University in Miami, FL.
After retirement, Bette spent most of her time helping Republicans get elected, serving in numerous officer roles in the Cobb County Republican Women's Club and as Office Manager for the Cobb County Republican Party.
Bette's numerous awards and recognitions are a testimony to her dedication and commitment and her passing will leave a tremendous hole in the hearts of all Cobb GOP members who knew her and worked with her.
"Bette's dedication to the party was unquestionable," said Jason Shepherd, Chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party. "She was always the first to volunteer and the first to lead. She was a large part of the success of our headquarters as well as a mentor and trusted advisor to all of us."
We also pay special recognition to former Cobb VC of Membership Debra Williams and current VC of Membership Pamela Alayon. With no family to help her, these two amazing women spent the time to be with Bette, take her to her appointments, and stayed long hours with her, especially Debra Williams who was with her at the end. Please keep these amazing women in your thoughts and prayers as well.
This past week Cobb County Republican Party appointee to the Cobb County Board of Elections and Co-General Counsel Neera Bahl accepted a judicial appointment from Governor Brian Kemp and was sworn in last week, requiring her to submit her resignation from both positions.
I personally want to publicly thank Neera for her hard work, dedication, and service to the Cobb County Republican Party and know Georgia is getting a fantastic judge!
However, with the election being so close, now is not the time to place a novice in the position, so I have asked Patrick Gartland to once again serve as our representative on the Board of Elections, an obligation he willing accepted.
A Vietnam War veteran, Pat Gartland previously served on the Cobb County Board of Elections a decade ago. The former Chairman and Executive Director of the Georgia Christian Coalition, Gartland serves as Honorary Chaplain of the Cobb County Republican Party. In 2000, Campaign and Elections Magazine named him one of their "Rising Stars of Politics," an honor the magazine also gave to Ralph Reed, Laura Ingraham, and others.
Additionally, we recently lost another Cobb Republican elected official when Governor Kemp nominated and the legislature confirmed Cobb Clerk of the State Court Angie Davis to serve as the Clerk of the new State Business Court.
Angie Davis and her Chief Deputy, Robin Bishop, were unopposed in both the Republican Primary and the General Election, so Davis's resignation required the Cobb County Republican Party to open up qualifying again for a Special Republican Primary to be held on the same day as the General Election, Tuesday, November 3.
Robin Bishop, who as Chief Deputy was sworn in as the Clerk upon Davis's resignation, was the only candidate to qualify for the open position, which means she will begin her own four year term in January with her new Chief Deputy Rochelle Taylor.
Congratulations to all of our great Cobb County Republicans who show that Cobb County continues to lead the way in the State of Georgia.
Here in Cobb, we will continue to raise fantastic, conservative leaders that Governor Kemp, and any future Republican governors, would be proud to place in key positions of state leadership.
About a week and a half ago, I virtually attended a preliminary hearing held by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission regarding an ethics complaint I had filed last year against State Representative Erica Thomas, Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, outlining numerous abuses and violations of the Ethics in Government Act.
We all remember what happened last June when Rep. Thomas falsely claimed she had been a victim of racial animosity at a Publix supermarket in her district. The incident gained national attention as an example of the type of hostile environment towards minorities President Trump was supposedly creating in America and the left was all too eager to buy into Thomas’s hate hoax. Thomas, for her part, wasted no time getting out the fundraising emails begging for money to continue her fight against the obviously racist, anti-immigrant, Trump supporter who not only “made her fear for her life,” but also told her to “go back to where she came from.”
A couple of days (and press conferences) later, the man who spoke up to her because she had too many items in the express checkout line came forward. Instead of the towering ogre Thomas had described, the man was shorter than her, an immigrant from Cuba, and a Democrat. Video showed it was Thomas who actually told the Cuban-American to “go back to where you came from.”
However, I had wondered what kind of campaign bump the incident had given Thomas, so, once her June 30 disclosure was filed, I pulled it up on the Commission’s webpage.
Shockingly, according to her campaign finance disclosure, she had raised NOTHING. And when I say nothing, she reported she had not raised any funds at all during the reporting period. What is more, she showed no expenses and had no money in her campaign account.
Digging deeper, I found fundraisers she had with the invitations posted on her Facebook page, including a joint fundraiser with House Minority Whip William Boddie on January 10, 2019, just before the start of the 2019 Legislative Session where Thomas asked donors to contribute up to $2,600 to host and at least $101 to attend, but nothing was reported. Trying to go back to other disclosures, I found a number of them had not even been filed where she skipped reporting periods completely!
Nearly a year after filing the complaint, an investigation by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission detailed how Thomas allegedly has repeatedly failed to file campaign disclosure reports, repeatedly failed to detail her contributions and expenditures by failing to report a single dollar in contributions or expenditures on reports she has filed, and repeatedly failed to file personal financial disclosure statements.
This is even though, as the Commission's staff attorney shows in her report below, the filed campaign disclosures of other PACs and elected officials show Thomas has received at least $16,300.
In showing her contempt for the the Commission, Erica Thomas did not respond to the allegations, did not show up for the hearing, nor did she send a representative. The Commissioners voted to continue with the investigation after the preliminary hearing.
This is public corruption by a high-ranking member of the leadership of the Georgia House of Representatives and shame on Georgia’s and Cobb County’s Democrats for remaining silent in support.
Thomas is being challenged in the November Election by businessman, West Point graduate, and retired US Army Colonel Jim Hickey. Voters will have a real choice between a leader with the highest integrity in Col. Hickey or continue to be represented by someone who hides who is financing their campaign and what those campaign dollars are being spent on.
Just like her #HateHoax in June 2019, Erica Thomas is being blatantly dishonest and is deceiving her constituents and the people of Georgia.
It is hard to tell if her violations rise to the level of criminal activity, or if she is using campaign funds to support herself personally, but a full investigation may show just that.
It is time Erica Thomas stop her deceptions and left public office. Clearly, she belongs in no position of trust and it is time the Democrats, who always seem to find excuses and turn a blind eye to their own corruption, stood up against Thomas too. But the continued silence of the House Democratic Caucus screams their support for Thomas.
Not a single Cobb County Democrat has condemned Thomas's repeated and continuing pattern of deception after deception, but continue to support her as a leader of their Party.
Think about that for a minute when people say we need to put the Democrats in charge of our county, state, and nation.
Of course, this is the same Democratic Party, as I pointed out last week, that openly fantasized about Cobb Republicans dying of COVID-19, so we probably shouldn't hold our breath waiting for them to speak out.
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