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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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Memo To SOS Brian Kemp

by Bill Simon

Honorable Brian Kemp:

Due to a conversation I had yesterday with your legal counsel, Vincent Russo, I took it upon myself to do a little bit of research on Mr. Russo.

Mr. Kemp, according to the Georgia State Ethics Commission Website, Mr. Russo has made significant contributions to Gubernatorial Candidate Karen Handel, his former superior. Specifically:

December 16, 2009: $1000 contribution paid to Karen Handel for Governor, Inc.
June 25, 2009: $1000 contribution paid to Karen Handel for Governor, Inc.

Additionally, Mr. Russo has demonstrated that he is actively involved in supporting Ms. Handel for Governor by putting his name on a Host Committee for a fundraiser last Fall (not that there’s anything wrong about that per se), which may also indicate something more than just financial support:

“Young Professional Kick-Off Event a Huge Success

Last week we kicked-off the Young Professionals for Karen with an event in Atlanta. It was a huge success with almost 200 young professionals attending and showing their support for Karen.

We want to send a special thanks to the host committee for putting together such a strong event, and to all those who attended and joined Karen’s “Bring it On” campaign.

The hosts for the event were: Charlene Marino, Sarah Hawkins, Brian Stimson, Andrew Allman, Daniel Allman, Charlie Ozburn, Hunter Hill, Vincent Russo, Bo Keatley, Clay Cheshire, David Gordon, Andre Egros, Ginger DuBose, Rob Fortson, Steve Rickman, Danielle Simms, Jennifer Tommasello, Amy Salloum, Steve Butler, Jason Lunsford, Tray Guepet, Mike Kerfeld, Chris Wagner, Baoky Vu, Emily Culbertson, Craig Cancienne, Glenn Harvin, Amy Shultz, Lesley Newell and Chad Wingate.”

Source: http://republicancandidates.blogspot.com/2009/09/handel-for-governor-e-update.html

Mr. Kemp, I do not know what your office policy is, or if there is any state law regarding an employee being prohibited from contributing money to a political office, or actively participating in support of a candidate.

Whether there is or is not such a law is irrelevant, as I believe Mr. Russo, in any advice or counsel he gives you, will be giving you advice designed more to cover the actions of the former SOS (i.e., Karen Handel, and the person who originally hired him), than look out for your best interests.

I am also concerned with the possibility that he has been leaking information to the Karen Handel campaign about my (and anyone else’s) Open Records Requests sent to the SOS over the past few weeks.

In short, you may not have a general counsel in your employ who is truly looking out for your best interest. Please consider this a friendly notice whereby my only intention is to help protect your future endeavors as Georgia’s SOS.

Kindest regards,

One Response to “Memo To SOS Brian Kemp”

  1. Linda Ellis Says:

    I worked for the SOS for 16 years as an inspector for the cosmetology, barber boards. Never had problems until Karen Handel and Shawn Lagrua came about. I retired on 10-30-2009 because I could not take it anymore, I have never worked under conditions like this in my 16 years. Shawn combined the cosmetology,barber inspectors with the 2 funeral inspectors ( who are licensed embalmers)the used car inspectors,etc. When I was hired along with the other cosmetology, barber inspectors, you had to have at least 5 years of experience as either one or the other to do our job. Make’s sense doesn’t it? Funeral home inspectors were licensed, then she decided to mix all of us up and try and train each person to do each other’s inspections. This should have never been allowed as you shouldn’t be doing inspections out of your field. These people don’t really know anything about each other’s job, they are just guessing. I do not consider a cosmetologist authorized to inspect a funeral home. What a big mess she has made of the PLB. There have been about 25 or more been fired, retired or quit since she took over, I would think this would tell you something. She also had tracking devices put on all vehicle’s, which by the way messed up some of the car’s. They did not even have approval from DOAS until it was all said and done. Shaw even fired about 3 supervisor’s while I was there just to get rid of them, anything she could use she did it. Some us had to travel about 3 hours every Monday to go to Macon to the office to carry our reports and had to stay until 5:30. Had to be there by 9:00 a.m. and she said our traveling time was not state time. We were in state vehicles so who’s time were we own? We put in about 14 hours every Monday. There is so much more but I cannot put it all in this comment. I do hope you will change things as they are real deep.

Today's Deep Thought

Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at the word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: 'mank' and 'ind.' What do these word mean? It's a mystery and that's why so is mankind.


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