A message from Gov. Nathan Deal:
“Our success as leaders of Georgia depends heavily on the public’s ability to trust us.”
These are nice words.
Gov. Deal said these words just a few months ago while signing legislation to cap lobbyists’ gifts to just $75.
But at the same time Gov. Deal sent out this statement, he was actively hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from lobbyists and corporations that encouraged him to fight against access to affordable health care.
Gov. Deal funneled that money – up to $50,000 at a time — into Real PAC.
And he got to work blocking health care access for more than 650,000 Georgians. He supported “massive rate increases” for private health insurance and did nothing while three of our rural hospitals closed their doors.
Gov. Deal thought we’d never find out about this connection between the big money and his work against Georgia’s middle class.
Today, with increasing media scrutiny over his relationship with the secret million-dollar PAC, the public learns once again that Gov. Deal’s words too often ring hollow.
When an investigative reporter first uncovered Real PAC, Gov. Deal and his team claimed the political fund operates independently of the Governor’s Office.
That story has now changed.
Yesterday, the governor’s attorney admitted that “Governor Deal has tremendous influence” over Real PAC.
Here’s why this is so wrong for Georgia:
Georgia has laws that limit the amount of donations individuals can give to political candidates like Gov. Deal.
Gov. Deal is using Real PAC to get around those laws. Many corporations have donated more money to Gov. Deal’s PAC than most Georgia families earn in a year.
Lots of politicians have PACs. But they don’t brazenly use them as a slush fund to pay family and friends. And, by all accounts, PACs are required to report contributions and expenses in a timely matter not just when a politician gets caught red-handed.
The governor’s attorney casually brushes aside these requirements as if the rules are only for others … as if they are for smaller people, you know, those who aren’t governor.
But if Real PAC hasn’t done anything improper or illegal, why did the governor’s team keep the donations and expenses secret for two years?
Why did they change the story about the governor’s involvement?
And — now that it’s been exposed — why are they shutting down Real PAC?
We agree with Gov. Deal’s words saying the public must be able to trust our leaders.
But his actions make it clear that we can’t trust HIM.
Georgians deserve a governor who can’t be bought — a governor who will fight for all of us. We don’t have to shrug our shoulders and simply accept this behavior as the best we can expect.
It’s time for Georgians who care about our family and neighbors more than corporate profits to make our voices heard.