- Created on 13 January 2013
It has been more than a year since Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of her presidential bid and she still refuses to pay five staffers, according to a former top campaign official.
According to reports by Salon, Peter Waldron, Bachmann's former national field coordinator, said that the dispute started when former Iowa poll staffers refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent them from discussing any "unethical, immoral, or criminal activity" they witnessed on the campaign.
Although Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, Waldron says the staffers are owed nearly $5,000 each and Bachman refuses to pay them unless they sign the agreement. Payment negotiations with Bachmann's finance chairman, James Pollack, fell through and Waldron decided to go public with the issue on Thursday evening. He posted a press release on Christian Newswire.
In the press release, Waldron said, "I feel a moral obligation to see that my Christian brothers and sisters are paid for work performed in good faith. I've continually communicated by telephone and email with Mr. Pollack for 1 year but he broke every promise made to me to pay the staff. I appealed to Dr. [Marcus] Bachmann for help. I appealed to Representative Bachmann's Chief of Staff Robert Boland to intercede with Mrs. Bachmann on behalf of her loyal Iowa staff — all of whom are married, all have children."
Salon also reports that Waldron confirmed the details via phone and said the nondisclosure agreement stems from the campaign's alleged misuse of an email list. The Bachmann campaign was accused of stealing the list from a home-schooling group. The list was allegedly stolen from a volunteer's laptop and used to fundraise for the campaign. Subsequently, the home-schooling group sued the campaign.
Waldron went on to tell Salon that "It's just immoral what they're trying to do. They're trying to shut us up. You want to get paid? You gotta sign this agreement and not talk to either the police or lawyers."
Although he never specifically addresses the non-disclosure agreement, in a recent email to Salon, Pollack called Waldron's charges about the non-payment "false and inaccurate."
- Created on 11 January 2013
If Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is right, it won't be long before red state Georgia turns blue and turns for good.
In a meeting with the Atlanta Press Club Thursday, Reed, a Democrat, predicted that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and that she will carry the state of Georgia.
"Georgia is on an irreversible path to a Democratic majority," Reed said.
That would make Hillary the first Democrat to carry Georgia, which went overwhelmingly for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, since her husband, Bill Clinton, did so when he was elected president in 1992.
"The Clintons have a special affection for Georgia," Reed told the Atlanta Press Club.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle's Dave Williams first reported Reed's comments to the group. Reed will meet with the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists on Saturday in a special meeting with WSB's program director, Condace Pressley.
Currently the Georgia House of Representatives has 116 Republicans and only 63 Democrats, with one Independent. The state senate is similarly in firm Republican control, with 34 Republicans and 20 Democrats.
Reed said his prediction for a Clinton victory in Georgia was based on changing demographics in the state that favor Democrats regaining power here after more than a decade of Republican control.
Georgia's Hispanic population is growing much faster than that of any other group, and Hispanic voters in recent years have tended to support Democratic candidates.
As for his own political future, Reed repeated his intention to seek a second term as mayor this fall, despite some "friendly calls" from the Obama administration.
"I got my dream job," he said. "Y'all are stuck with me for another five years."
- Created on 11 January 2013
- Created on 11 January 2013
(CNN) -- Planned Parenthood in Texas heads to federal court Friday, looking for a temporary injunction that would allow it to take part in the state's revamped Women's Health Program.
Late last month, a Texas judge denied the group's request for a temporary restraining order that would have extended the organization's ability to participate.
A state law that went into effect with the new year requires the state to fully fund women's health clinics with the exception of those that are affiliated with abortion providers. With that new law, Texas is no longer eligible for federal funding and, therefore, Planned Parenthood and other such establishments in the state will no longer be able to receive federal funding.
Previously, such establishments in Texas obtained 90% of their money through the Social Security Administration and other federal funding.
Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions at some of its clinics, and fellow plaintiff Marcela Balquinta of McAllen, Texas, filed the request for a temporary restraining order seeking exclusion from the new law, arguing the organization provides preventative women's health care not associated with abortions to nearly 50,000 Texas enrollees annually.
"I have denied the request for a temporary restraining order at this time," Judge Gary Harger said in late December. "I did not find that there would be an irreparable harm in waiting nine days for the injunction hearing."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement at the time welcoming the move.
The "ruling finally clears the way for thousands of low-income Texas women to access much-needed care, while at the same time respecting the values and laws of our state," he said. "I applaud all those who stand ready to help these women live healthy lives without sending taxpayer money to abortion providers and their affiliates."
Planned Parenthood vowed to fight the ruling.
"It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women," Ken S. Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas said at the time. "This case isn't about Planned Parenthood -- it's about women like Marcy Balquinta who rely on us for basic, preventive health care."
- Created on 10 January 2013
Mayor Kasim Reed has announced that the City of Atlanta has $126.7 million in its general fund reserves, an increase of more than $119 million since January 2010 when he was inaugurated. The unrestricted fund balance is $107.1 million. The audited data was released as part of the city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2012.
"Under the stewardship of my administration, the City of Atlanta's cash reserves have grown to more than $126 million from just over $7 million since January 2010," said Reed. "Despite challenging economic conditions, we have cut unnecessary expenses and invested in public safety and our city's young people. We have sensibly managed our finances, hired more than 700 police officers and expanded services for our residents. And we have done all of this without raising property taxes and having a balanced budget every year. Atlanta's fiscal house is in order and we will continue to make substantive strides which make the city stronger."
"We are committed to adhering to the reserve targets of the city as well as conservative budgeting and spending practices," said Jim Beard, chief financial officer for the City of Atlanta. "With our unrestricted reserves at 20 percent of our annual budget, the finance team is looking toward tackling other critical needs of the city, such as long-term investments in infrastructure. KPMG is a renowned firm and we are pleased to have their clean audit opinion that our work at the city reflects the highest standard and conforms to accepted accounting principles."
State law requires that all general-purpose local governments publish, within six months of the close of each fiscal year, a complete set of audited financial statements, presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.
The city's FY 2012 financial statements were audited by KPMG. The goal of the independent audit is to provide reasonable assurance that the city's financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, are free of material misstatement.