The blog.


How the GOP used Twitter to stretch election laws –

Washington (CNN) — Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, CNN has learned, a practice that raises questions about whether they violated campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.

The Twitter accounts were hidden in plain sight. The profiles were publicly available but meaningless without knowledge of how to find them and decode the information, according to a source with knowledge of the activities.

The practice is the latest effort in the quest by political operatives to exploit the murky world of campaign finance laws at a time when limits on spending in politics are eroding and regulators are being defanged.

Posting the information on Twitter, which is technically public, could provide a convenient loophole to the law — or could run afoul of it.

Beyond coordination, the social media operation could also raise questions about whether the polling data contained in the tweets constituted a donation to the NRCC that should have been reported. The groups could have violated election rules by not reporting the information in the tweets as a donation.

The tweets captured by screenshots stretched back to July, but the groups have communicated in this manner for four years, the source said. Staffers for each group deleted individual tweets every few months, so only the past few months of data were available when CNN first viewed the Twitter accounts.

Despite the questionable nature of the Twitter communications, experts doubt the FEC will do much to act. Members of the commission have been deadlocked along party lines for years and attorneys for these groups often develop legal arguments before engaging in such practices to avoid acting outside the bounds of the law, Ryan said.
“In many instances, we have very sophisticated political players with really good lawyers who know where the legal lines are and know where to push them to their client’s advantage,” he said.

via How the GOP used Twitter to stretch election laws –


The (increasingly) complicated relationship between Facebook and politics – The Washington Post

There is at least one study that suggests that Facebook advertising may have helped influence an election. Journalist Simon Owens pointed to a 2011 Facebook post that outlined an evaluation of ads in a Florida ballot measure in 2010. The group Vote NO on 8 bought Facebook ads in Dade and Broward Counties to argue against the proposition, which then failed. Not only was there a big difference in the vote in the two counties where ads ran (19 percent more opposition), but people who were exposed to more online advertising voted 17 points against the proposition than those who saw fewer spots. Owens notes the results from a poll taken after the fact: “heavy web users who were on Facebook were 10 points more likely to vote no on 8 than Democrats (who may or may not have seen the ads) were.”

We already knew that Facebook could drive people to the polls. In 2010, its experiment with an “I Voted!” button increased turnout by 340,000 during that year’s midterms. In 2012, a different experiment ensured a select group of users saw more hard news as Election Day approached. The group that saw more hard news apparently turned out 3 percentage points more heavily.

via The (increasingly) complicated relationship between Facebook and politics – The Washington Post.


AUDIO – Sen. Johnny Isakson Talks With Ga Pundit About His 2016 Campaign

Your Washington Desk

Your Ga Pundit correspondent had the opportunity to interview Senator Johnny Isakson  at his 2016 Kickoff announcement. 


Senate Majority Caucus Supports a Second Term for President Pro Tempore David Shafer

ATLANTA (November 17, 2014) | Sen. David Shafer (R – Duluth) has released the following statement on the vote today by the Senate Majority Caucus nominating him for a second term as President Pro Tempore:

“I am grateful to my fellow Republicans in the Senate for their vote of renewed confidence today. I look forward to working with Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert and our new Caucus leadership team in making Georgia the best place to work, worship and raise children.”


AUDIO – Gov. Nathan Deal: On Sen. Johnny Isakson’s 2016 Kickoff & Rick Richardson

Your Georgia Desk

Your Ga Pundit correspondent had the opportunity to interview Governor Nathan Deal at the Senator Johnny Isakson 2016 Kickoff announcement.  We discussed Senator Isakson, Rick Richardson, and several policy issues impacting Georgia.



AUDIO – GA GOP Chair John Padgett: On Sen. Johnny Isakson & Rick Richardson

Your Georgia Desk

Your Ga Pundit correspondent had the opportunity to interview Georgia Republican Party state Chairman John Padgett at the Senator Johnny Isakson 2016 Kickoff announcement.  We discussed Senator Isakson, Rick Richardson, and his palns to seek re-election as GOP state Chair.



Ga. lawmakers press forward on medical cannabis |

[State Rep. Allen] Peake said recently he expects to have a draft bill soon and it will allow for a limited number of businesses to obtain a state license to grow and process marijuana for the sole purpose of providing the cannabis oil under a system in which people of all ages with certain medical conditions would be able to obtain it under the supervision of a doctor. The amount of the psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, would be limited and facilities would be subject to regulations, lab testing and security measures.

“I feel very confident that my colleagues want to move forward with a public policy that provides a very tightly restricted, very regulated delivery system for cannabis oil in Georgia,” Peake said, adding he’s aware of 15 families who have left Georgia for Colorado and other states for access to the cannabis oil and three children have died while lawmakers have been debating the issue. “We can’t move fast enough.”

Law enforcement’s top concerns include security at the facilities and specific civil and criminal penalties for violators. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association also indicated they would oppose a bill if law enforcement agencies weren’t granted warrantless access to the facilities for monitoring. Association President, Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin, said members worry the bill could send mixed messages to the public.

“We want to be there to help,” Griffin said at an Oct. 1 hearing. “That is our job to help people, but we are also very, very concerned about the perception that this bill would lead to people thinking you could smoke marijuana for medical purposes.”

Peake said he feels confident the bill will address those concerns. Much more difficult might be confronting concerns of some in the medical community who first want to see the results of various clinical trials underway nationally and soon in Georgia. Dr. Cynthia Wetmore, director for clinical and translational research at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, advised lawmakers to be cautious.

“To give something as powerful as cannabidiol oil really needs to be done initially within the confines of a clinical trial so there are medical professionals able to help these children monitor liver function, monitor their psychiatric outlook so we are able to do it safely,” Wetmore said at a Nov. 12 hearing. “I would only do it within the realm of a clinical study until it’s proven safe.”

via Ga. lawmakers press forward on medical cannabis |


County Republican vice chairman files complaint against commissioner-elect – The Brunswick News: Local News

The vice chairman of the Glynn County Republican Party has filed a state ethics complaint against Glynn County Commissioner-elect Mark Stambaugh, his brother and business partner Scott Stambaugh and outgoing Commissioner Mary Hunt for what he says are violations of the state’s campaign contribution laws.

Jeff Kilgore, 1st vice chairman of the Glynn County Republican Party, filed the complaint last week with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission alleging that the Stambaughs’ three separate contributions of the maximum of $2,500 to Hunt’s campaign through three different corporate holdings exceeded what is allowable by law because he contends the businesses are affiliated.
Mark Stambaugh disputes that.

“I disagree with his interpretation of common ownership,” Mark Stambaugh said.

Stambaugh said each of the three companies is owned by a different group. Stambaugh Aviation Management is owned by his brother Scott Stambaugh and his wife Audrey. Mark said he and his wife Emelia own EJC Investments, LLC and he and Scott own Aviation Sales and Maintenance, Inc.

“There are four people involved here, not just two,” Mark Stambaugh said.

via County Republican vice chairman files complaint against commissioner-elect – The Brunswick News: Local News.


Savannah City Council eyes water rate hike |

City of Savannah residents will pay more for water service and garbage collection next year, while Savannah-Chatham police will have additional opportunities for advancement and increased pay under the city’s proposed 2015 budget.

Residents will pay an additional $1.50 a month, on average, for water and sewer, Chief Financial Officer David Maxwell said during the second day of the City Council’s budget retreat Thursday.

The revenue is necessary to cover the cost of infrastructure needed to serve an increased need for treated surface water, due to additional restrictions on ground-water use, Maxwell said.

Also, sanitation rates will go up by $1.50 a month to pay for a $17 million landfill expansion that’s expected to begin next year, Maxwell said.

via Savannah City Council eyes water rate hike |


Tybee Island council considers public swimming pool vote |

Tybee Island officials want to let the voters decide if the town should build a public swimming pool.

The city council on Thursday discussed a resolution that, if backed by the local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly, would place a referendum on a ballot sometime in 2015. As proposed, the referendum would give Tybee voters a voice in whether they would support city officials moving ahead with finding sources of funding to build the pool.

Mayor Jason Buelterman said the vote would mark the second time voters weighed in on a public pool for Tybee. The first vote in 2004 was paired with a millage increase. Tybee voters said no.

via Tybee Island council considers public swimming pool vote |