Local News

April 16, 2014

Pennington says Deal can't handle governor's duties (Updated 4:30 p.m.)

May need to leave office immediately

If Gov. Nathan Deal is having records with the state Department of Revenue stored elsewhere, David Pennington says Deal should leave office immediately.

“It’s eerie how history can repeat itself,” Pennington, the former mayor of Dalton who is challenging Deal in the May 20 Republican primary, said on Wednesday. Pennington was to hold a press conference in front of the governor’s office in Atlanta at 12:30 p.m. today to address his concerns about Deal continuing as governor.

“Forty years ago Richard Nixon so poisoned the well for Republicans we ended up electing Jimmy Carter,” Pennington said in a statement to be read at the press conference. “Now Nathan Deal has so poisoned the well that we don’t need to go on to elect Jason Carter.”

Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is running for governor as a Democrat.

Pennington said the difference between Deal and Nixon is that Nixon wasn’t benefiting financially from his actions that led to his resignation as president.

“It’s obvious Nathan Deal has,” said Pennington.

“He started his term as governor virtually bankrupt,” Pennington said. “Now with his latest financial disclosure he’s showing a net worth of $4 million.”

Last year, Deal and a business partner sold their salvage company to Texas-based Copart for an estimated $4 million plus $120,000 annually to lease the land, according to an article by Creative Loafing, an Atlanta-based publication, on April 7. Copart has since fought the Department of Revenue over $74 million in disputed back taxes.

“Now the Department of Revenue says they can’t produce the records for at least eight months at a cost to the news media for $4 million,” Pennington said. “I’ve got to believe these records are readily available, but they’re not releasing them.”

Pennington noted that this is happening at the same time as another controversy concerning Deal, including what Pennington called the “wrongful termination” of a state ethics commission executive secretary for investigating the governor.

“My first reform as governor is introducing a constitutional amendment where five members of the ethics commission are appointed by the judiciary,” Pennington said. “I will give them a budget of $7 million and they will receive raises as state employees are given raises.”

The state is in worse shape now than it was when Deal took office in 2011, Pennington said. He said there have been problems with food stamps, the prison system is ranked one of the most dangerous in the country, juveniles in youth detention centers face sexual abuse and 152 children have died under state care. He also noted the problems with snow and travel in the state earlier this year.

“It’s obvious Nathan Deal cannot perform the duties of the chief executive officer of the state of Georgia,” he said.


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