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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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The State Ethics Commission Is, Itself, Comprised of Unethical People

by Bill Simon

Who Is James C. Gatewood?

According to the State Ethics Commission Website, Mr. Gatewood is the Chairman of the State Ethics Commission. His bio reads as follows (from that same link):

“Mr. Gatewood is an attorney and partner at Gatewood, Skipper & Rambo, PC. He is president of King’s Real Estate, Inc. and owner of Gatewood Farms and Thronateeska Bluffs Plantation, LLC.”

Gatewood, Skipper & Rambo, PC are located in Americus, Georgia.

In 2006…Mr. Gatewood and his firm made several contributions to several Republican candidates and interests. Some of those contributions were made in Mr. Gatewood’s name, using an address different from his firm’s address. Here are two contributions that tell me everything I need to know about where Mr. Gatewood’s bias on the current SEC might lie:

Contribution #1
Contributor Name: James Gatewood
Contributor Date: 6/20/2006
Contribution Amount: $1000
To: Ginger Starlin Campaign Committee
For: Primary
Occupation: Attorney Gatewood, Skipper & Rambo, PC
Address of Contributor:
PO Box 488
Americus, GA 31709

Contribution #2
Contributor Name: James Gatewood
Contributor Date: 8/09/2006
Contribution Amount: $500
To: Georgians for Karen Handel
For: General
Occupation: Attorney, Self-Employed
Address of Contributor:
PO Box 488
Americus, GA 31709

James Gatewood is the same person at that same PO Box address. Now, why the Handel campaign back in 2006 failed to classify Mr. Gatewood as who he really was (i.e., a partner in Gatewood, Skipper & Rambo, PC), I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.

The point is that Mr. Gatewood has a demonstrated bias in favor of a competing candidate (Karen Handel) and he will be sitting in charge of a hearing that will examine one of Handel’s direct opponents, John Oxendine.

Yes, by contributing money to her campaign in 2006, that is physical evidence of a guaranteed bias he will hold. He cannot get away from it. When people contribute to a candidate, they are making an emotional commitment to that candidate. Gatewood knows who Handel is, and therefore, has an emotional connection with her that he does not have the ability to ignore when it comes to him being placed in position in which he can help her.

I guarantee you folks that if there was a member of the SEC who had ever given money to Oxendine, everybody on the Handel Bandwagon would be screaming for that person’s recusal or even resignation.

PV’s Note to Mr. Gatewood: Do you have the balls to recuse yourself, Sir? Or, do you wish to be known as the “Unethical SEC Commissioner?”

These Questions Should Be Asked Of The SEC:

1) Who started the conversation about when a hearing should be scheduled regarding John Oxendine? Was it Mr. Gatewood, or was it one of the other 3 commissioners (Bill Jordan, Patrick Millsaps or Kent Alexander…none of whom, by the way, have ANY financial contributions to the Handel campaign), or was it the new Executive Secretary? (Do keep in mind that those conversations should have been recorded via e-mail traffic…which is subject to the Open Records Act, so any reporter can file for those right now)

2) How many commissioners are required for a quorum?. If Mr. Gatewood does the honorable thing and resigns/recuses himself, the Commission may not be able to meet.

3) Are there any rules of the commission that would cause Mr. Gatewood to automatically be disqualified from sitting on the board for any part of any hearing against ANY opponent of Karen Handel’s because he has a proven personal and emotional connection with her, and her candidacy?

These are just a few of the questions to get you ethical folks in the media going when it comes to asking the right questions of the SEC with regard to Mr. Gatewood’s clear bias he will hold (and, this means Jim Galloway, who has proven himself to be quite biased in his favoritism of the Handel campaign, going so far as to share notes with Dan McLagan of at least one definite question he would ask and when he would ask it of the gubernatorial candidates at the Sixth District Forum several weeks ago, is NOT one of those ethical folks in the media.)

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Today's Deep Thought

If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing, I'd glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. 'Wait a minute! I thought we won!'



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