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Georgia Media Consultant Says Collins Owes Him $15K

A campaign vendor recently filed a lawsuit against former Rep. Mac Collins (R), seeking payment for media consulting work he claims he wasn’t paid for during Collins’ unsuccessful 2004 Senate bid.

Leland Gregory filed the suit Oct. 20 in Georgia, charging Collins and his campaign with “breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment and other wrongful conduct” for not paying media consulting and production services.

He is seeking $15,000 plus interest, attorney’s fees and other damages.

“This was definitely a last resort,” said Gregory attorney Matt Reeves of the Lawrenceville-based firm Andersen, Tate, Mahaffey & McGarity.

According to the suit, Collins hired Gregory in December 2003 to do media consulting and production services for his GOP primary campaign against then-Rep. Johnny Isakson and businessman Herman Cain. Isakson eventually won the primary and the general election.

The suit claims that Gregory worked for Collins through the July 2004 primary, producing television, radio and Internet political advertisements for his campaign.

It also claims that Gregory was paid $5,000 each month during January, February, March and April, but that he was not paid for his services during the final three months of the race.

“To date, defendant Mac Collins and defendant Collins for Senate have failed to pay Plaintiff for his work during the home stretch of the 2004 U.S. Senate primary in Georgia,” the suit states. “[Gregory] is a hardworking small businessperson who has been detrimentally impacted by the loss of three months’ pay during a major election year.”

Reached Monday, Collins described the matter as “a little dispute” over whether Gregory is owed money, and sounded confident that it would be resolved in the end.

“It’ll all be worked out,” Collins said.

Seeking to return to Congress, Collins is challenging Rep. Jim Marshall (D) in 2006 and as of Sept. 30, his House campaign showed a little more than $300,000 in the bank. At the end of the third quarter, his old Senate account had a balance of $1,176. Collins also reported $130,000 in debts to himself remaining from a personal loan to his campaign last year.

In addition to his media consulting work, Gregory, who lives in Nashville, is the author of several books. They include “America’s Dumbest Criminals,” “Great Government Goofs!” and “What’s the Number for 911 Again?”

— Lauren W. Whittington

In Indictment’s Wake, VP Stumps for Ex-Members

On a day when his top aide was indicted and forced to resign, Vice President Cheney traveled to the Peach State to raise campaign funds for two former Members seeking political comebacks in 2006.

Cheney attended events on Friday for former Reps. Max Burns (R) and Mac Collins (R), who are challenging incumbent Democrats next year.

Burns, who will face off against Rep. John Barrow (D), welcomed Cheney to a $250-a-plate luncheon in downtown Savannah.

Later, after attending an afternoon rally at Robbins Air Force Base, Cheney headlined a 6 p.m. fundraiser in Perry for Collins, who is trying to unseat Rep. Jim Marshall (D) next year.

Each event raised an estimated $140,000 for the former Congressmen.

— L.W.W.

Sheriff Re-enters Primary He Abandoned Earlier

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard on Monday entered the Republican primary for the right to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) next year — for the second time.

“As many of you know, I briefly pursued a candidacy for the U.S. Senate earlier this year, until my doctor put me on the sidelines,” Bouchard said in a statement. “But after adjusting my diet and increasing my exercise, I have a clean bill of health, my family at my side and a clear vision of the historic challenges that face us as a country.”

The Rev. Keith Butler, who had been the favorite to secure the GOP nomination before Bouchard got in, issued a terse statement in response.

“Michael Bouchard has clearly responded to the lobbyists and powerbrokers in Washington who have recruited him with the promise of financial support,” Butler said. “These individuals are uncomfortable with my candidacy. I have not spent years hanging out with and being entertained by Lansing and Washington, D.C., lobbyists.”

Butler added that he is “in the race to stay.”

Adding to the perception that Bouchard was wooed by the national, not state, party, state GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis kept his language neutral.

“The name of the Republican who will replace Stabenow is yet to be known,” he said, speaking confidently of his party’s chances of beating Stabenow. “The primary is a healthy process that will result with the best candidate winning. I expect a spirited primary that will focus on our shared mission: electing a new, responsible Senator for Michigan.”

Anuzis also called on Republicans to focus their negative energies on Stabenow and unite behind the eventual primary winner.

“In the end I look forward to coming together and all supporting our nominee — whomever it may be … the stakes for Michigan are far too high to have it any other way.”

In the meantime, a third GOP hopeful, Grand Rapids minister Jerry Zandstra, piled on Butler and said the Bouchard news only helps his long-shot bid.

Two county chairmen shifted their endorsements from Butler to Zandstra recently.

“This demonstrates that Zandstra’s message is resonating with the grass-roots and county chair[men],” a Zandstra news release declared.

— Nicole Duran

Ryun’s Press Secretary to Challenge Rep. Obey

A young Capitol Hill press secretary is returning home to the Badger State to challenge veteran Rep. David Obey (D).

Nick Reid, the 25-year-old press secretary to Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), has been contemplating the race for five months.

Reid launched an exploratory committee in May. He and his wife bought a house in Rice Lake, near Eau Claire, last week.

“Overwhelmingly we’ve been hearing the message that people are ready for a change and a new face in Washington to represent their concerns,” Reid said in a news release.

Before working for Ryun, Reid worked at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Reid faces a daunting task as Obey won an 18th full term last year — meaning he has been in Congress almost 12 years longer than Reid has been alive — with 86 percent of the vote.

— N.D.

LCV, New York Times Slam Pombo’s Record

The League of Conservation Voters is targeting House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R), urging his 11th district constituents to call the Congressman and voice opposition to his environmental policies.

Together with the California League of Conservation Voters, the LCV accuses Pombo of supporting oil drilling to benefit his “friends and family network” of corporate and special interests.

“From proposing the sale of our national parks to the highest bidder to … attempts to drill off our own coastline, Rep. Pombo has abused his power in Congress to pay off his ‘Network of Family and Friends’,” Susan Smartt, CLCV executive director, said in a written statement.

The LCV and the CLCV want Pombo’s constituents to use their extra mobile phone minutes to ask why they are not a part of this “friends and family network,” which is a riff on a mobile phone plan that allows callers to talk for free to people in their “friends and family network.”

Pombo has even registered the attention of The New York Times editorial board, which published an editorial Sunday joining in on the attack of the Congressman’s environmental policies.

Wayne Johnson, Pombo’s political strategist, said Democrats are targeting Pombo because it’s a good way to inspire their base and raise money. He added that the Congressman’s push to develop more domestic sources of energy is needed at a time when Americans are paying $3 per gallon for gasoline and facing a winter of expensive home-heating rates.

Pombo’s policies are “supported not just by Republicans but across the board, when people are paying $3 for a gallon of gas,” Johnson said. “Reasonable people can disagree on the nuances, but people who stick their head in the sand are doing damage to this country and its people.”

— David M. Drucker

Secretary of State Won’t Take Flight Against Byrd

West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland (R) announced last week that she would not challenge Sen. Robert Byrd (D) in 2006.

Ireland was on the GOP’s short list of possible candidates after Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), viewed as the party’s strongest possible nominee, said that she would not run.

Former West Virginia University basketball coach Gale Catlett is still mulling a bid.

Byrd is seeking an unprecedented ninth term next November. Next spring he will become the longest-serving Senator in history.

— L.W.W.

House Using State Funds to Fight Remap Reform

State House Speaker Allan Bense (R) plans to use up to $50,000 in taxpayer funds to fight a Democratic-led effort to take the process of redistricting away from state lawmakers, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.

A coalition of Democratic groups is leading a petition effort to get a constitutional amendment onto the November 2006 ballot that would remove the redistricting responsibility from partisan state lawmakers and give it to an independent commission.

They must get 611,000 signatures to make the ballot, and the state Supreme Court must rule that the proposed amendment is not inaccurate or misleading and that it only deals with a single subject.

In October, Bense hired a Tallahassee-based attorney to help block the proposed amendment. Under the contract, attorney George Meros will be paid $250 an hour up to $50,000, plus expenses.

Bense told the newspaper the move was necessary because the redistricting measure — creating a 15-member commission appointed by both parties and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court — threatens the powers of the state House.

Democrats say the independently drawn districts would more accurately reflect the state’s political makeup. While Democrats have an edge in voter registration, Republicans hold 18 of the state’s 25 Congressional seats and also control two-thirds of the state legislative seats.
— L.W.W.

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