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.”
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.
“He goes out and he does their bidding,” Long said, “He’s working for them instead of working for the 650,000 Georgians who don’t have insurance at all or access to the Medicaid expansion.”
“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 of the companies that pay into the PAC are doing business with the state of Georgia on some level. The PAC’s treasurer, former state ethics chairman Rick Thompson, protested that the PAC money is not just for Deal’s re-election, but for “Republican causes.”
Last week, state insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens was caught on tape boasting to a crowd of supporters that his office is deliberately obstructing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As Floyd County Republicans called out “Amen!” and applauded, Hudgens said that his office is interfering with the certification of the ACA’s insurance policy “navigators,” individuals hired to help consumers choose policies on the open market.
“Let me tell you what we’re doing (about Obamacare),” he said. “Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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