Posted by: The Last Liberal Gwinnettian | October 12, 2010

Nathan Deal’s Road to Nowhere (Updated)

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario:

A Congressman files an application to rezone 137 acres of property in order to use it as a solid waste landfill so that he can use the property as a junkyard adjacent to his auto salvage yard. Not long after, the same Congressman files an application to have a small private road that services the aforementioned property, his business, and two other businesses turned into a public road so that taxpayer money can be used to maintain the road. Then, when the applications weren’t approved fast enough, the Congressman sets his chief of staff to the task of pushing the applications through. The chief of staff utilizes his House email account to contact county officials during business hours in order to inquire about the issue. A series of emails is sent arranging face to face meetings between the Congressman and the county officials. The meetings take place at the Congressional offices during the workweek.

This would be a case of gross misconduct by a public official. House ethics rules mandate that no Representative can use his office for personal gain.

And this is exactly what Nathan Deal did.

In a report that aired on Fox 5 Atlanta today, Nathan Deal’s attorney defended these actions by claiming that Deal’s chief of staff didn’t specifically ask for anything. He further defended the actions by claiming that they were undertaken on behalf of a constituent. Who was this unnamed constituent? Well, given that the only people who would benefit from turning the private road into a tax funded public road would be Nathan Deal, his business partner, and the owners of the other two businesses on that road, it seems to be a pretty narrow pool of people. One can only assume that the constituent in question was most likely Nathan Deal himself.

More importantly, Deal’s attorney really ought to get his arguments straight. Either Deal never asked for anything or Deal asked for something on behalf of a constituent. You can’t have it both ways.

When you add this most recent ethically questionable finding to those already examined in the House Congressional Ethics Committee investigation of Nathan Deal’s no-bid contract with the state of Georgia, you begin to see a pretty ugly picture.

Nathan Deal used his position to protect a lucrative no-bid contract paid for by Georgia taxpayers. The ethics investigation concluded that there is “substantial reason” to believe Deal may have violated house ethics rules when he and his chief of staff used House email accounts to arrange meetings between Deal and Georgia officials regarding the state’s salvage inspection program. Deal used his position AGAIN in order to arrange a scenario in which Georgia taxpayers would be forced to pay to maintain a road leading to that same salvage yard. He also used his position to push through an application to rezone 137 acres of property in order to turn it into a landfill. The former Mayor of Gainesville said that, as a citizen, she had issues with rezoning the land. Perfectly understandable, given that landfills aren’t generally considered desirable in your area — particularly when they aren’t necessary for the public good but only for the private gain of a prominent citizen.

Nathan Deal seems awfully free with taxpayer money. He doesn’t seem to mind pocketing taxpayer dollars while he benefits from a no-bid contract. He doesn’t seem to mind asking the taxpayers to foot the bill for maintenance for a road leading to his business. If he is elected Governor, will he continue to use his position to add to his personal coffers?

No Deal, Georgia.

 

UPDATE:

The AJC’s Jim Galloway posted this AP excerpt earlier today:

While in Congress, Republican Nathan Deal lobbied Georgia’s attorney general and top environmental officials to approve a landfill that he and his business partner wanted next to their Gainesville auto salvage yard. That’s according to e-mails and memos obtained by The Associated Press.

Deal, now the GOP nominee for governor, was part owner of some property contained in the landfill proposal and signed applications for it. Deal denies any financial interest in the project.

The documents, obtained through open records requests, show Deal tried in 2005 to persuade Attorney General Thurbert Baker to interpret state law so the landfill could move forward. They also indicate Deal’s top congressional aide was keeping close tabs, communicating with state officials through his U.S. House e-mail account.

In other words, in order to protect Deal’s Gainesville salvage business, Mr. Deal is evidently guilty of:

  1. Lying about income from Recovery Services, Inc. (the auto salvage business) in his House of Representatives financial disclosure
  2. Taking more money in salary from his salvage business than House ethics rules allow
  3. Using his position in the House of Representatives — including his House email account, offices, and working hours — to pressure STATE officials to continue a non-competitive state program that provides roughly $300,000 worth of business per year to Deal’s salvage yard (all of which comes from our taxpayer dollars)
  4. Using his position in the House of Representatives to pressure COUNTY officials to convert a private road servicing only his business and two others into a public road, which would mean that the taxpayers — and not Mr. Deal — would have to pay to maintain the road.
  5. Using his position in the House of Representatives to pressure the GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL to reinterpret state law in such a way as to allow Mr. Deal to convert property in Hall County into a solid waste landfill.
  6. Using his position in the House of Representatives to lobby environmental officials to support his efforts to create a giant landfill in his salvage yard’s backyard.

And yet, through all of this, Mr. Deal expects Georgia voters to believe that he had absolutely no financial gain from any of these actions.

He claims that he did not wish to protect his business’s $300,000 per year state income when he tried to keep the state from turning that business over to the private sector.

He claims that he was not defending his own private financial interests when he lobbied to have Georgia taxpayers foot the maintenance bill for his private road to nowhere.

He claims that he was not hoping to benefit financially by creating a giant and unwanted landfill adjacent to his salvage yard (a landfill which would have provided a very convenient junkyard in which his business could store junked cars…).

How stupid does he think we are???

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Responses

  1. The media is getting tough… As an aside, Deal who likes to say King Roy conceded he would have done the same thing on the flag.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/candidates-for-governor-spar-679578.html?cxtype=rss_georgia-politics-elections

    Gimme a break.. Coming from Mr. Ghetto Grandmothers.

  2. He probably thinks we’re about as stupid as you accused GA voters of being in another recent post. 😉

  3. In other news, Matt Towery from InsiderAdvantageGeorgia is getting scared.

    The last IA survey showed Barnes slowly improving his numbers among the critical independent swing vote. The trend was not necessarily reflected in the top line results of that poll once the weightings were done for other demographic groups. I’ll be keeping an eye on the independent numbers in the next poll of the race, and also on how Barnes is faring among whites. If he somehow can creep into the upper 20 percentile of whites, reach parity or take a slight lead among independents, and see the turnout among African-Americans reach at least 25 percent of the turnout on Nov. 2, then the two to three percent that Libertarian John Monds is likely to receive might shove Deal into a runoff.

    Conventional wisdom would say that such a runoff would mean a Republican victory in the second contest. Certainly it’s generally accepted that GOP voters, and those voters inclined to vote Republican, tend to gravitate back to the polls in a runoff in higher numbers than voters for the opposition.

    But consider this too: What if Republicans win the US House, enjoy some upsets in congressional races, see the US Senate come close to going Republican, and decide they’ve sent their message to President Obama?

    If that’s the case, Deal’s organization would have to find a way to pull happy, satisfied GOP voters back to the polls.

    See that there, they didn’t like the results, so they weighted the poll to get their favored top line result.

  4. […] from them. Nathan Deal wants what’s best for Nathan Deal – be it illegal campaign money, an illegal landfill to service his business, taxpayers supporting his private road to nowhere, or a no-bid agreement paid for by […]

  5. […] candidate who has already shown absolutely no compunctions about using his public office to benefit himself and his […]

  6. […] Nathan Deal’s North Georgia Business: Not only was Nathan Deal placed under investigation for ethics violations related to his Gainesville salvage yard while still in Congress, not only did he leave Congress before the investigation could be completed in a clear attempt to avoid the inevitable outcome (which happened anyway after he left Congress), not only did he repeatedly lie about his business’s relationship with the State of Georgia, not only did he use his public office to protect a lucrative agreement with the State, not only did his business charge more for its services than any other salvage yard in the state (while paying the state less in commission), not only did he use his public office to force officials to rezone land for use as an illegal solid waste dump, not only did he use his public office to attempt to force the taxpayers to pay for upkeep on the business’s private road…he also lied about ALL of it. For more on these various allegations, please look at some of these links: From Atlanta Unflitered on Nathan Deal’s “contract” with the state; from us (with plenty of links supporting allegations) on Nathan Deal’s agreement with the state, and on Nathan Deal pressuring officials to rezone land and pay for his private road. […]


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