A brief note from the enemy of the people: A Colorado-based political action committee that sent a fundraising appeal in Karen Handel’s name claimed she would help Donald Trump build a wall on Mexico’s border and “end Muslim immigration” has no ties to the candidate, Handel’s campaign reports.
Save the American Way sent the email pitch on Friday, allegedly in support of Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state who is one of 18 candidates in the April 18 race to replace U.S. Rep. Tom Price. The solicitation included this passage:
“If elected to Congress, she will work to build a wall on the border and end Muslim immigration. She is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a huge advocate for balancing the budget. As a conservative Christian, she is also 100% pro-life.”
Handel said in a statement that she has no connection to the group — and does not aim to end Muslim immigration.
“I support aggressive, legal and constitutional means to protect our country and secure our borders,” she said. “I do not, however, support the use of a religious litmus test in determining an individual’s immigration status.”
The PAC didn’t return a request for comment, but a growing number of political action committees with dubious links to candidates or causes, and with a target of raising small-dollar donations, are cropping up.
For her part, Handel also said shortly after formally qualifying for the race last week that she would be willing to defy Trump if necessary.
“If nothing else, I’m independent. My job, first and foremost, is to represent the best interests of the 6th,” Handel said. “There will be many times when I’m supportive of the president’s initiatives, and when I’m not, my job is to make them work better for the Sixth.”
The Sixth District isn’t ground where a ban on Muslim immigration would necessarily appeal. A more moderate brand of Republicanism flourishes here. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida placed first in last year’s Republican presidential primary. Trump carried the district, but just barely.
But speaking of the Sixth District race. In terms of average income, the north metro Atlanta enclave may be a pay-grade or two above the rest of us. Evidence has arrived in the announcement of a forum for congressional candidates, sponsored by the Fulton County Republican Party Chairman’s Council.
The March 5 event is to be held “at the estate of Kay and Jack Kent.”
On the subscription side, our AJC colleagues Kristina Torres and Aaron Gould Sheinin have a piece on the state Senate’s struggle to stay off-line in an online world:
The Georgia Legislature has long tried to control public access to its inner workings, but a battle over transparency issues has spilled into the open this year.
And it involves something as simple as a camera, a mobile phone and a $20 desk tripod.
Rogue senators are using their own phones and streaming apps such as Periscope to live-cast committee meetings that the chamber does not broadcast online, causing some committee chairmen to announce new rules about if or how people with cameras can record meetings.
Here’s a video snippet from Jack Staver, a private citizen who clashed with authorities in a Senate Rules Committee meeting last week:
Our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin reports that gaming is likely to be the topic of the week in the state Capitol:
Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said Friday that his Senate Bill 79 will see its first vote in committee on Thursday. Also, Beach on Friday introduced Senate Resolution 249, the proposed amendment to the state Constitution legalizing casinos.
Opponents are stirring. Among them is a member of the state Public Service Commission:
Mike Griffin, lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, has a column in the Christian Index that includes these lines:
I have been told, on more than one occasion, not to make moral arguments when it comes to opposing the efforts of the gambling industry at the Capitol. What makes this hard to swallow, is it comes from legislators who are professing Christians.
The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, too, intends to get in on the discussion. On Wednesday, it will sponsor a public hearing on gaming in CLOB Room 415.
The record $25 billion state budget that passed the House last week – the highlights can be found here – also included two priorities for the chamber’s Democrats.
The spending plan includes $600,000 in funding for six staffers – four scientists and two lab technicians – assigned to help erode the backlog of evidence kits from victims waiting to be tested. They found very willing allies across the aisle for the bipartisan initiative.
After much outcry last year, Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb and House Republicans banded together to require law enforcement to more speedily pick up the rape kits and submit them to the state for testing.
There’s also a $14.9 million item in the budget to fund programs supporting kinship care — the care of children by relatives or close friends — long a priority of House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
She has introduced two kinship-related measures this year. House Bill 330 would require that kinship caregivers are notified in writing about resources available to them, as well as the contact information of a kinship care specialist. And House Bill 331 would create an educational consent form in hopes of making it easier for kinship caregivers to enroll children in school.