Political Insider

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

Tom Price refused to cooperate with insider-trading probe

You may remember that Collins' name came up repeatedly during Senate hearings on Price's nomination to become secretary of health and human services. Collins is a board member of the Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics and recruited Price and other House colleagues as investors. From the report:

"Evidence obtained by the OCE suggests that many individuals based in the U.S. purchased Innate stock prior to the “pink sheet” “market” Representative Collins discussed. These purchases were not part of any private placement offering. For example, former Representative Tom Price made three purchases of Innate stock in January 2015."

The ethics committee, after completing an initial inquiry, concluded on Thursday it has "substantial reason to believe" Collins broke the law and congressional rules as part of that work. Buried at the very end of the ethics report: Price refused to cooperate with the investigation.

(Tamar Hallerman)


President Donald Trump has decided to dismantle the Affordable Care Act through executive order. From the Associated Press:

In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will "immediately" halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.

The Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement in a statement late Thursday. "We will discontinue these payments immediately," said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma. Sign-up season for subsidized private insurance starts Nov. 1, in less than three weeks, with about 9 million people currently covered.

In an early morning Tweet, Trump suggested he was blowing up the exchanges in order to bring Democrats to the negotiating table:

In Georgia, Trump's move could result in massive premium increases for those getting health insurance through the ACA exchanges. Last month, state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens approved premium increases of more than 50 percent for the four insurers still participating in Georgia’s health care exchanges next year -- in anticipation that they would lose the disbursements that allow the companies to offset coverage offered to poorer Americans.


On the other hand, President Donald Trump will extend a March 5 deadline to end protections for young undocumented immigrants should Congress fail to reach an agreement, according to the Washington Post:

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Trump told him he was willing to “give it some more time” to allow lawmakers to find a solution for “dreamers,” unauthorized immigrants brought to this country as children, if Congress does not pass legislation extending protections before time is up.


On his Facebook page, Atlanta attorney and Newt Gingrich confidante Randy Evans says his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to the next U.S. ambassador Luxembourg has been tentatively set for next Wednesday.


In southwest Atlanta this morning, Atlanta mayoral candidate Ceasar Mitchell was in the middle of the production of a TV ad for his campaign, when he noticed something: Mary Norwood, doing the same thing. Photos courtesy of Billy Linville:


The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys sided with Ceasar Mitchell in the race for Atlanta mayor. But it wasn’t a cut and dry decision.

The organization’s PAC recommended in September that former City Council President Cathy Woolard get its stamp of approval, saying she has “exhibited high moral and ethical decision-making skills” and that she’s “perceptive, amicable and confident.”

Before the vote to back Mitchell, the chairs of the endorsement subcommittee and the PAC stepped down. In an email to campaigns, they expressed concern that candidates on the group’s ballot “did not meet all of the endorsement requirements and were not properly vetted by the committee.” Tori Silas, the group’s president, said the organization’s members followed proper procedures and it resulted in the vote to back Mitchell. (Greg Bluestein)


The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods on Wednesday will host a 7 p.m. debate among a winnowed-down list of Atlanta mayoral candidates: Peter Aman, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kwanza Hall, Ceasar Mitchell, Mary Norwood, and Cathy Woolard.

The debate site is the North Atlanta High School auditorium The selection was based on fundraising totals as of Sept. 30.

The next day, on Oct. 19, nine of the candidates have been invited to debate at Trinity Presbyterian Church.


Odd things may be happening in the District 8 at-large race for Atlanta school board, which features incumbent Cynthia Briscoe Brown, an attorney, and challenger Charlie Stadtlander, a teacher.

Next Thursday, the Atlanta Board of Education ethics commission will review a complaint made by Stadtlander, who alleges – among other things – that Brown offered an APS job to a Stadtlander campaign worker who knocked on the school board member's door.

Notice of the hearing came not through the BOE ethics commission, but via Rhonda Dauphin Johnson, election superintendent for the city of Atlanta. Here's what Brown sent us when we reached out for comment:

My political opponent sent his campaign worker to my home ostensibly to canvass voters. The worker’s affidavit expressly states she was sent to my home on purpose by my opponent, and she also admits she had someone secretly recording the conversation. It is interesting that the only portion of the alleged recording that could be “retrieved” is the portion that supposedly includes the job offer.

The malicious intent of the Stadtlander campaign is clear. I was told by this person she was soon leaving the campaign and would be out of a job, which was also false. I asked if the worker would be interested in coming to work on my campaign. At no time did I offer the person a paid position within APS. As a Board member I would not even have the power to grant such an offer.


The House on Thursday approved an additional $37 billion in emergency money to aid with recovery work following hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey and firefighting out West. The measure sailed through the chamber on a bipartisan 353-69 vote. Two of those 'no' votes came from conservative Georgia Republicans Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk. Hice's office indicated the second-term Monroe-based congressman was unhappy the emergency money was coupled with $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance Program, which they called a "bailout." Loudermilk also didn't like the flood insurance portion since the bill didn't include reforms to the system. He also objected to the legislation's funding not being offset.  (TH)


According to Kristal Dixon at Patch.com, state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, will resign as president and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce in order to become the executive director of the North Fulton Community Improvement District.

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.