I mentioned this article yesterday. A federal grand jury is asking questions about Nathan Deal’s business deals (pun intended).Deal, for his part, says he is not the subject of any federal investigation — which either means he is right or United States Attorneys are randomly subpoenaing people to talk to federal grand juries about Nathan Deal for no reason other than politics. Riiiigggghhhhtttttt.This will be the first election since passage of the Voting Rights Act that Republicans do not control the White House during redistricting. That makes solidifying Republican majorities in as many states as possible crucial as we head into redistricting in 2011.A federal grand jury investigating Nathan Deal could seriously undermine the Republicans’ chances in November should he be the nominee. But to understand why, we need to back up to March 29, 2010.On that day,
[T]he Office of Congressional Ethics released its report [despite Deal’s resignation], concluding that Mr. Deal appeared to have improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials to continue a vehicle inspection program that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his family’s auto salvage business.The 138-page report details how Mr. Deal and his chief of staff intervened in 2008 and 2009 on behalf of the company, Recovery Services Inc., also known as Gainesville Salvage and Disposal. The report also said Mr. Deal had improperly failed to disclose that he was a corporate officer at the company, meaning that the $75,000 he earned from the business in 2008 violated a House limit on members’ outside income.
Certainly the Deal campaign can say this was a partisan move. Once a congressman resigns, the ethics show is over. But, were Deal to do that, the next question must become: did Nathan Deal resign to pre-empt ethics report?If you remember, Deal intended to resign sooner than he did. But the outcry over him leaving before the health care fight kept him in. Ironically, in doing so, it also kept the Ethics Committee’s investigation going.And what did House Ethics Committee find? Six ethical violations of House Rules.That brings us forward to now. A federal grand jury is investigating now. When the House Ethics Committee takes the unusual step of laying serious smack down on members of congress for outside business dealings personally benefiting the members of congress, federal investigations typically ensure. Those federal investigations are generally serious.With a lot at stake headed into the general election, including Georgia picking up a congressional district, the Geogia GOP is taking a serious gamble against the odds in choosing Nathan Deal to challenge Roy Barnes.Word of the federal investigation is only the beginning. The Democrats will use it to get independent voters on their side. With dissatisfaction toward Washington at an all time high, the Georgia GOP might want to think carefully before choosing a 20 year Washington insider under a federal investigation as its horse on which to ride into November.