I really think I picked the wrong career. If you don’t mind skirting (or straight up ignoring) ethics rules you can make some nice money as a politician. Tom Price, Judson Hill and Karen Handel are all perfect examples of this.
Tom Price, the congressman turned Health and Human Services Secretary from Georgia, continues to affirm his belief that he did nothing unethical, even as reports continue to surface about just how much money he made off of healthcare stocks while influencing legislation in the healthcare industry.
Price did, finally, sell off all his stocks (as is required to meet the stricter standards of being a cabinet member versus just a member of congress) and netted himself as much as $1.1 million, according to a recent financial disclosure.
One of the more controversial deals was with Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian firm that was looking to break into the American market and offered sweetheart deals on their stock to select congressmen (our very own Tom Price and Chris Collins, a New York Representative). This deal netted him between $250,001 and $500,000, at least triple his investment.
Price, unfortunately, squeaked through the Senate confirmation process by a vote of 52 to 47.
His former congressional seat, Georgia’s Congressional District 6, is up for grabs right now in a special election. District 6 covers parts of Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, John’s Creek, Milton, Sandy Springs and even a smidge of Marietta and Smyrna.
You may have heard about this race with it’s #FlipTheSixth hashtag and progressive, Better Georgia-backed candidate Jon Ossoff earning quite a few headlines for his unexpected rise to the top of the pack in a historically conservative district.
The other top candidates in the race have their own dirty laundry to deal with, both Karen Handel and Judson Hill have faced ethics complaints for some of their own mis-spending and under-reporting of funds during previous campaigns. Like I said, if you don’t mind skirting (or straight up ignoring) ethics rules you can earn some nice perks as a politician.
Only a year ago, Atlanta Unfiltered, a small investigative journalism outlet, published that Judson Hill had over $34,000 of previously undisclosed donations since 2013. His campaign blamed this on a clerical error.
But, really, don’t we all misplaced $34,000 thanks to “clerical errors,” every now and then?
He also got in hot water for using over $4,000 in campaign funds to pay for a trip to Germany. The AJC reports that this was apparently part of a Georgia Department of Economic Development-sponsored trip, and portions of it may have been allowed under law. At the time, there were discrepancies between what his campaign reported happened and what his lawyer said happened.
Karen Handel has also been in trouble for the way in which she spent funds when she previously ran against Nathan Deal for governor. Back in 2010, she faced allegations that she illegally used $13,200 from her secretary of state campaign to fund activities related to her gubernatorial aspirations.
What a fun group.
Better Georgia is closely watching the politics unfolding on both a federal and state level. As always, follow the blog and connect with BG on Facebook for the latest.