Political Insider

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Two Georgia House lawmakers take aim at Speaker's top aide

The feud between Georgia GOP political director Brad Hughes and House Speaker David Ralston's top aide has worsened.

We told you last week about the tirade Spiro Amburn unleashed at Hughes at the Georgia GOP victory party over what Hughes called a misunderstanding. Two Republican House lawmakers, among a cadre who regularly oppose Ralston, are now targeting Amburn for what they call inappropriate behavior.

First, there was this post from state Rep. John Pezold, R-Columbus:

Ralston spokesman Kaleb McMichen referenced a part of the parking policy that restricts House lawmakers from letting an "unauthorized" person use a parking space or permit.

"The Speaker's Office has many responsibilities including ensuring the safety and security of House members and staff with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety," McMichen said. "On Monday, a suspicious vehicle was reported to our office and we, in turn, notified DPS personnel.  While no member has contacted our office on this matter, we are happy to review parking policies or answer questions for members."

Shortly after this post was published in the Jolt, state Rep. Kevin Cooke sent over a lengthy - and harsh - statement. Here are his full remarks:

I, an elected member of the General Assembly from the 18th House District of Georgia, instructed Brad Hughes to display my permit and park in my place since I was driving both of us to a legislative event. His vehicle was neither unauthorized nor suspicious since a valid parking tag was clearly displayed in the windshield. For all intents and purposes, the vehicle parked there was mine for the purpose of legislative business. It is no different than any other member who, at some point, has driven a rental car or the automobile of a spouse, child or friend to the Capitol and parked in the deck. Further, there are 236 members of the General Assembly. It is highly doubtful that anyone has committed every member and his or her most frequently driven automobile to memory. Considering there was a valid parking permit in the vehicle, one could be puzzled how it could be labeled and reported suspicious, particularly considering my campaign bumper sticker (with my name clearly displayed) is on the back window.


Let's call this what it is- another example of an unelected staff member from the Speaker's office embarrassing the caucus by causing issues for elected officials and unelected Georgians alike. Obviously it's become a common occurrence for these people to lash out at members of the State House, members of the State Senate and Party leadership. It's time for a change!"

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.