And no, it is not what you are thinking because he looks much older than 72 and looks to be living in one very soon. They love him because thanks to some sly maneuvering some of them hope to make a lot more money thanks to Nathan Deal getting rid of some board members opposed to a rate hike smoothing their way to a big payday.
This story seems to have slipped through the cracks and went relatively unnoticed when it broke a few weeks ago. I think it deserves much more attention and certainly an investigation into possible ethics charges. Deal has a very bad habit of enriching his cronies, donors, and especially his family. He bailed out one daughter from a failed sporting goods business thanks to funds he received from selling his
junkyard Salvage Yard to Copart at a very inflated price even though they owe Georgia $74 million in taxes and penalties they won’t pay.
He gave his daughter-in-law Denise Deal hundreds of thousands for “fundraising” and also possibly encouraged others to use her firm Magnolia Capital if they wanted to be on his good side. And last but not least we have this nursing home rate hike that was worded in such a way to specifically reward his top donors. The nursing home lobby have been involved in Georgia politics for a long time it seems having donated mostly to Democrats while they were in charge and quickly shifting allegiances once the elephants stormed the capitol with Sonny Perdue. They are expected to contribute in the neighborhood of around $1 million or more directly or to Deal PACs this year alone.
Clint Wilder, Deal’s son-in-law, started work Jan. 31 as the Georgia Health Care Association’s director of program development, according to the group’s president, Jon Howell. Yes, this is the same son-in-law Deal bailed out for the failed sporting goods business for millions. It seems he finally understands where the real money comes from now. Stick to the family business Clint and you won’t be poor again since Nathan will be a great mentor. He also filed bankruptcy back in 2001.
The GHC association hired Sarah Denise Ralston as an intern, and she is registered to lobby at the state Capitol. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ralston’s son, Matt, is being paid $1,000 a month to intern for GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group, one of the statehouse’s most prominent lobbying groups. You may remember me mentioning Dave Ralston due to his involvement with an attorney named Clint Bearden that works for his firm and was a key player in Pumpkingate which involved manhandling and brutalizing a female journalist at a Nathan Deal rally while Deal sat and did nothing.
Dave Ralston, the House speaker also has his own ethics issues with loopholes in an ethics bill he wrote. His law left a loophole allowing lobbyists to give money directly to a tax-exempt pro-corporate group like ALEC — and for ALEC to then spend the money providing travel expenses (“scholarships“) to legislators. And months after claiming his bill would “avoid gimmicks,” Ralston asked the state’s business community and lobbyists to do just that. His fundraising solicitation, sent out on ALEC letterhead, asked that they contribute to the group’s Georgia Legislative Expense Reimbursement Fund.
Over his career, Ralston has been among the state’s top recipients of lobbyist gifts, including a $17,000-plus European trip. He also received thousands of dollars in “scholarships” to attend ALEC events — though because the pro-corporate organization is not registered to lobby in Georgia, these are not considered lobbyist gifts.
This latest nursing home report was uncovered by the intrepid James Salzer of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. James in an investigative reporter. Boy do we ever need more reporters like this guy! As with most “ethically challenged” Deal stories this one is rather complex. I will try and provide a few highlights with links to the full articles at the bottom. I bolded some points of importance.
Basically nursing homes were looking for a rate hike which is money they receive from the state of Georgia. Two board members who supported the rate hike were reappointed. Jamie Pennington, who said last month that the rate hike “doesn’t make sense,” and William Wallace, who voted against the increase at a previous meeting, were told Thursday they wouldn’t be reappointed.
The DCH board was scheduled to consider final approval of the rate hike Thursday for nursing home owners who bought facilities between Jan. 1, 2012 and June 30.
About 40 nursing homes could see rate increases under the change, including several owned by top political donors to Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and leading lawmakers, according to a DCH report.
The industry has contributed about $900,000 to Deal’s campaigns and political action committee. Real PAC, the political action committee created to support Deal, received about 40 percent of its contributions from the nursing home industry. The nursing home lobby also hired Deal’s son-in-law just after the governor was elected in 2010
You have to begin to wonder how much longer before this house of cards falls in on itself. Will Holly Laberge reveal some secrets she surely knows now to save herself since she was fired? Will another unknown whistleblower bring it all crashing down? Will the Feds finally step in like they did with Robert McDonnell of Virginia? One thing is for certain, if all this smoke turns out to be a conflagration it will make the McDonnell story look like small potatoes.
We do things big in Georgia when it comes to corruption. We don’t do so well when it comes to per capita income, the unemployment rate, number of uninsured people, poor education rankings, shrinking cities, exceptionally high blight, environmental protection, marriage equality, medical cannabis, hospital closings, large numbers of homeless, high incarceration rates, high poverty rates…but by God we know how to to be corrupt and no one can take that way from us!