Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

The Georgia government domains found in the Ashley Madison data dump


A couple dozen workers in government offices across Georgia may be perspiring more than usual today.

The hackers behind July’s raid on the Ashley Madison dating/cheating website have dumped 10 gigabytes of wide-ranging data. From arstechnica.com: Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

Researchers are still poring over the unusually large dump, but already they say it includes user names, first and last names, and hashed passwords for 33 million accounts, partial credit card data, street names, and phone numbers for huge numbers of users, records documenting 9.6 million transactions, and 36 million e-mail addresses.

While much of the data is sure to correspond to anonymous burner accounts, it's a likely bet many of them belong to real people who visited the site for clandestine encounters. For what it's worth, more than 15,000 of the e-mail addresses are hosted by US government and military servers using the .gov and .mil top-level domains.

Which prompted us to make a quick scan of Ashley Madison accounts registered through email addresses with Georgia government domains. What we found:

-- atlantaga.gov: 7

-- augustaga.gov: 5

-- dot.ga.gov: 3

-- savannahga.gov: 3

-- greenecountyga.gov: 2

-- mariettaga.gov: 2

-- cityofdalton-ga.gov: 1

-- columbiacountyga.gov: 1

-- dekalbcountyga.gov: 1

-- fayettecountyga.gov 1

-- glynncounty-ga.gov: 1

-- meriwethercountyga.gov: 1

-- pickenscountyga.gov: 1

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The great Veronica Waters of WSB Radio kindly sent us the sound of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s encounter with reporters at the Varsity in Atlanta on Tuesday. Listen here:

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If you're a fervent supporter of the "religious liberty" proposal and have about eight and a half hours to spare, have we got the offer for you.

The Citizen Impact group is holding a seminar from noon to 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 at a Lilburn church so that "average citizens can learn about the importance of defending our religious liberties."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will send a personal message and former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who has become a hero of the religious liberty bill's supporters, will keynote the event.

We assume they allow bathroom breaks.

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Speaking of Ted Cruz: If you want to find out where the Texas senator got his rhetorical chops, head to Villa Rica on Thursday. The GOP president candidate’s father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz, will the main attraction at a noon lunch at the Olive Tree restaurant, hosted by Villa Rica City Councilmember Leslie McPherson and Jim Beck, chairman of the Georgia Christian Coalition.

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Bob Barr, the former Georgia congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate, has gone into full anti-Trump mode. His Townhall.com column includes this:

Leaders of the GOP inside and outside the Washington Beltway can blame Trump all they want for the deep-seated rage that is his fuel. But such blame falls hollow at Trump’s feet; he did not create this acrid environment -- they did. Trump is simply taking advantage of it. In a sense, it was only a matter of time before someone came along with the unbridled chutzpah and unlimited money of a Donald Trump, to cash in on the anti-Establishment anger that has long-simmered among the voting electorate.

In fact, a Donald Trump was forewarned us a century ago by the political satirist, H. L. Mencken. As the acid-tongued essayist from Baltimore noted, in an emotionally-driven and rationality-starved environment such as we find ourselves in today, “all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.”

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Georgia's economic development guru is about to head off for a long journey.

Chris Carr is leading a two-week mission to China and Japan that kicks off this weekend. The visit will include stops in the Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Qingdao and Shenzhen. The Japanese leg of the trip will swing by Osaka and Tokyo.

Recall that state officials openly fretted about strengthening ties with China after Volvo, controlled by a Chinese firm, picked South Carolina over Georgia in May for its first U.S. plant. This trip may be another step toward rebuilding relations.

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There's an election on Thursday worth watching: The 92 people working at the Virginia Park office of PruittHealth will vote on whether to form a union.

The AFL-CIO is citing an investigation by our AJC colleague James Salzer that found PruittHealth and other select nursing homes are getting another shot at a $27 million rate increase in Medicaid funding as a rallying cry.

"Would it surprise you that the workers at PruittHealth are paid just a little more than minimum wage?" the AFL-CIO release asks.

Comes the response from PruittHealth spokesperson Sam Dawkins: 

"PruittHealth offers competitive wages because it considers its employees as partners and because it's necessary to retain the skilled, dedicated workforce needed to serve our clients' needs. We feel confident our partners will reject unionization, which would merely serve to reduce take-home earnings for partners forced to pay union dues. In a third party survey, employee satisfaction ratings are on the rise and all employees received a raise last year, regardless of their union status. We respect union members' rights to free speech, but for the sake of our clients wish that speech wasn't through a bullhorn."

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Stacey Abrams gathered her staff this week for a quiet retreat. We are told the Democratic House leader focused the talk on 2016 and not a potential 2018 bid for governor. Not yet, at least.

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U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., takes a step onto a national stage at a conservative gathering on Friday, when he's scheduled to speak at Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Columbus, Ohio.

Like the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, Perdue will be squeezed between a bunch of presidential candidates. The only other non-presidential candidate U.S. senator on the bill is hometown favorite Rob Portman of Ohio.

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As Jeb Bush stopped by Atlanta on Wednesday -- read the full F.O.-soaked report here -- he picked up a couple of Gold Dome endorsements.

GAPundit Todd Rehm reports that Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, are on board with the former Florida governor.

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After Georgia's recent flood of presidential candidates, now Alabama is getting its turn in the SEC Primary spotlight. Here's what is going on next door:

Monday, Aug. 17 --  Ohio Gov. John Kasich picked up Gov. Robert Bentley's endorsement in Birmingham.

Friday, Aug. 21 -- Billionaire Donald Trump will hold a rally in Mobile.

Saturday, Aug. 22 -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at an Alabama GOP luncheon in Talladega.

Tuesday, Aug. 25 -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at a Lincoln-Reagan dinner in Tuscaloosa.

Tuesday, Aug. 25 -- Neurosurgeon Ben Carson will be in the Montgomery area.


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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.