With Georgia primaries around the corner, July 20, Georgia’s largest print media mouthpiece, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), and television news are pressing hard on the Republican front-runner in the Georgia gubernatorial race. The attacks are not just from the left, Republican contender Karen Handel is also out to expose Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s dirty laundry.
John Oxendine has become the object of media scrutiny and the target of political mud-slinging Insurance Commissioner Oxendine is alleged to have been the subject of a state investigation that escalated to a federal investigation. Commissioner Oxendine refuses to sign documents allowing the federal government to release documents related to the federal probe. This is fueling the attack on Oxendine and raising suspicions about his ethics and credibility among Georgia voters.
Oxendine is alleged to have pressured insurance companies to hire attorneys who supported his campaign, according to the AJC.
Oxendine and his campaign adamantly deny his having ever having been under investigation, at least to his knowledge. Instead, Oxendine claims he is the victim of a political payback stunt based on a long-running dispute with former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers. It should be noted that Bowers has endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel.
Handel, the media, and political constituents have picked up the story and are running with it. This may be putting the Republican front-runner at risk of losing his place as front-runner in the upcoming Georgia primaries. This only prompts the question of why Oxendine refuses to sign a release, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, to allow the AJC to have a look at any federal files related to an investigation.
While the U.S. Attorney General’s office will not comment regarding any investigation involving Oxendine, there are individual, interviewed by the AJC who confirm that they were contacted by the U.S. Attorney General’s office in the late 90s.
Oxendine’s assertions that he knew nothing of the probe may be true, but they are difficult to swallow. Undercurrent of political talk surrounding John Oxendine leans toward believing the allegations over the word of John Oxendine.
Oxendine’s campaign has astutely made one observation, the political uproar that has resulted from the allegations against him could split the Republican vote, allowing Nathan Deal to win the primary and essentially handing the Governor’s race to former Georgia Governor, Democratic candidate Roy Barnes.
Teegardin, Carrie. “Oxendine target of mid -90s probe,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, July 11, 2010.
GOP Candidates for [Georgia] Governor spar over ethics, AP, The Augusta Chronicle.