Last week Georgia's Insurance Commissioner proudly came out as an Obamacare obstructionist, bragging that Georgia would require "navigators" - people hired to assist individuals sign up for Obamacare -- to be licensed by the Georgia Department of Insurance.
That was bad enough, but now it gets really ugly. Via Raw Story:
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R)’s family and business partner have been receiving payments from a secret Political Action Committee called Real PAC. Half a million dollars of the money donated to the PAC has come from corporate health care interests which — like the governor and Georgia state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens — oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”
According to investigative reporter Jim Walls of Atlanta Unfiltered, the PAC hasn’t filed taxes or the required financial disclosures in two years, and the information it did file for 2011 was incorrect.
Contributors to Real PAC include Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross, United Health care and other interests that want to keep health insurance premiums and other costs as high as possible. Bryan Long of activist group Better Georgia told Raw Story that the list of donors shows who Gov. Deal really works for.
While I'm certain Governor Deal will say there's no quid pro quo, AtlantaUnfiltered proves that to be wrong:
Major benefactors of the committee, Real PAC, include health-care interests seeking tens of millions — even billions — of dollars in business with state government. One donor, WellCare of Georgia, gave Real PAC $50,000 on the same day that state Medicaid officials said they planned to extend WellCare’s $1 billion-a-year contract for two years.
Let's also pay attention to the Big Donors here: United Health, Aetna, Humana and Blue Cross. United Health and Aetna have declined to participate in state-based exchanges in states where they're actually regulatedlike California and New York, opting instead to hand off some payola to a corrupt Georgia governor in order for him to behave like an obstructionist.
This PAC hasn't filed any disclosure reports since 2011, claiming it wasn't required to because it hadn't made any donations to political candidates. That hasn't stopped them from making substantial payments to Deal and his family.
“What’s remarkable about this isn’t that there’s money in politics,” he continued. “We all know there’s money in politics. He knew that this was so wrong that he didn’t want to tell anyone. He tried to keep it a secret for two years.”
Deal’s office made financial records publicly available on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, hoping, Long said, that no one would pay attention. The AP reported Friday that among its outgoing costs, the PAC “paid $30,000 to Southern Magnolia Capital, a fundraising firm founded by Deal’s daughter-in-law, Denise Deal. It also paid Ken Cronan, who co-owned a Gainesville salvage yard with Deal, more than $10,000 in December for pilot and plane expenses.”
All they want in exchange is for the good governor to obstruct Obamacare. No problem there, he's happy to accomodate them, bragging about his obstructionist insurance commissioner and obstructionist ways.
When I saw this story, my very first question was to ask how many other governors are getting the payola for obstructing. Stay tuned while I look into that a little bit closer. I'll let you know what I discover.