Progressive, Donzella James, Opposes US Rep. Scott (D-GA), Centrist

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(APN) ATLANTA — Former State Sen. Donzella James is challenging US Rep. David Scott (D-GA) in this July’s Congressional Primary Election. James is offering a progressive alternative to the last five years of Scott’s dismal voting record on issues of concern to working families.

In a detailed analysis below, Atlanta Progressive News reveals Scott’s support during the most recent Congressional Sessions for making it more difficult for families to file bankruptcy; making it harder to file class action lawsuits; permanently abolishing the estate tax [which did not pass]; funding the US Invasion of Iraq; supporting more coal and nuclear power plants; and eliminating habeus corpus by denying due process to detainees allegedly suspected of terrorism.

“On everything you just said, I differ completely with his vote. I supported things to the contrary,” James told Atlanta Progressive News.

“I’ve been opposed to the war. I thought defunding the war and bringing the troops home was the only thing they should do with the war,” James said.

“They would have had to show me, proven to me that there were weapons of mass destruction or I never would’ve voted for it. I never agreed with the war. I never wanted to send our troops to what I felt was an unneeded war,” James said.

“I know we can’t just leave the troops there without any money. You don’t have no timetable either. Sometimes you have to fund it enough to make sure they have the equipment they need to protect themselves, and that’s the limit of what I would’ve funded. That bill, I may have had to amend it,” James said.

“Everybody deserves due process. And you just said suspected [terrorist], not someone who is caught red-handed and there is no doubt. They should be innocent until proven guilty. I want to be protective of this country like everybody else. HoweverÂ… I want to look at it to make sure justice is served for everybody,” James said.

“I’m for safe, clean air, not for nuclear weapons, nuclear anything, for us to be exposed to, no toxins in the air, as few as possible. I definitely don’t want any nuclear plants around us. There’s alteratives to it and it’s much safer, so I’m opposed,” James said.

“Right now, so many of our jobs are being outsourced overseas. People are being laid off who’ve worked at the same place for years. The GM and Ford Motor Company both located in the 13th District have closed within the past two years. Military bases, Fort McPherson, Fort Gilliam had closed up, in our District,” James said.

“People in the 13th District have lost jobs and have no way to get a job right now because the fields they were in don’t exist here in Georgia anymore. For the first time these people who were proudly paying taxes and raising their children in the 13th District, find themselves in a situation where they might have to take bankruptcy in order to survive. The way bankruptcy used to be is not available anymore because, now, you file bankruptcy, you still have to figure out how to pay the bills, there’s no new start. You owe the bank. The bill helped the banks but didn’t help people that might need it. People don’t go file bankruptcy just to file it. These people worked hard and found themselves in a bad situation,” James said.

“My goodness, you need to make it easier for people to [file class action lawsuits]. There are so many people suffering with pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. That only favors [the companies] and banks being sued. I would want to leave it the same or make it easier instead of harder. There are people who get a serious illness from something. Alone they can’t make their case strong enough. Because there’s strength in numbers, they make their case solid and firm. Why would we want to take that right away from them?” James said.

James criticized Scott for not even living in the 13th District.

“I live in this community. I pay tax. My husband and I married here and brought a house 31 years ago. I offered myself to serve in the State Senate and worked to improve the quality of life in our area and throughout the State of Georgia. Now that I’ve left the Senate, I see many of the strides we made being reversed, being turned around,” James said.

“With the society the way it is right now, with a near-recession and the problems in education, too much testing and not enough teaching, it’s time for a change. It’s time for someone who cares about the community, who cares about the children, not just somebody who will say that they care, but someone who has shown it,” James said.

“By learning as much as I could at the State level, learning what I found at the municipal and city level, I’m prepared to use the negotiating skills I’ve developed and the knowledge of developing policy, and I’m ready to use them at a higher level in the US Congress,” James said.

“The main reason that I’m running is because David Scott’s voting record is contrary to what I would’ve supported, it’s not progressive at all. It favors special interest groups. He has supported George W. Bush’s failed economic policies that have helped to put us in this near-recession. And also he does not have a vested interest in our community in that he lives in another District. I am the only one who can vote for myself. He cannot vote for himself,” James said.

“I want to see the State of Georgia and the nation move forward. With the voting record of David Scott, time stood still or we moved backward. I’m running to give the people a voice, to bring honesty and integrity back to the 13th District,” James said.

“We ended up with David Scott because he reports that he’s doing one thing and most people don’t do their research to see that it’s not true. They don’t hold him accountable because they don’t know he’s voting that way,” James said.

The Drum Major Policy Institute rated Scott an F for his voting record on issues affecting middle class families in 2003. He received a C in 2004, a C in 2005, and an A+ in 2007.

“If he’s swinging back it’s only because we called him out in the last campaign,” James said.

“I think we have a majority of progressive Democrats in this District and I feel the people have been deceived and they think they’re voting for a progressive. As I go door to door from different forums, they ask, what’s the difference between you and Scott. I say, look at my record and please do the same for him as well,” James said.

James is a strong advocate of elections integrity, having filed as a plaintiff in the VoterGA lawsuit which seeks to abolish electronic voting in Georgia, unless the machines have a voter verifiable paper audit trail.

Former State Sen. James authorized over 170 pieces of legislation which passed, while in the Georgia State Senate.

James worked to close landfills in the 13th District and prevent new ones from opening.

She improved the Driving Under the Influencce laws in Georgia; made it possible for mothers to breastfeed their babies in public without violating the law; authored a child endangerment law; eliminated unfunded state mandates; made it a felony to pimp or pander underage girls and boys; made it easier for small businesses to do business with the State of Georgia; established that a pedestrian who has entered a crosswalk has the right of way; required public swimming pools to have chemically treated water, life guards on duty, and drains which can no longer pull and tangle the hair trapping the swimmer under water.

James also recently said she supports the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

The Politico newspaper broke the story of US Rep. Scott’s controversial campaign payments to family members and the existence of tax debts and liens in May 2007. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reported that it had been approached months earlier with the information and chose not to run a story.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Scott one of the 25 most corrupt politicians in September 2007.

“Google me and put corrupt behind my name and zero entries come up. Google him and see how many entries come up,” James said.

Scott’s current scandals have provided ammunition for Scott’s Republican challenger in the General Election, Deborah Honeycutt, to argue why voters should support her instead of Mr. Scott. Honeycutt supports abolishing income tax and creating a regressive, national sales tax, a Libertarian economic policy.

Honeycutt writes on her website that Christian values are under attack by organizations with socialist agendas.

Republicans have funneled a million dollars to Honeycutt’s campaign. Honeycutt has been sending out literature about Scott’s scandals to residents of the 13th District.

If Scott wins the Primary again this year, he will face a difficult battle against Honeycutt, although Martin Matheny, Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman, did not seem worried.

“That’s a Democratic District and it’s going to continue to be a Democrat District. The Republicans drew it that way so they’re going to have to live with it,” Matheny told Atlanta Progressive News.

James told Atlanta Progressive News she expects to win this race and is getting an enthusiastic response from voters.

Matheny did not seem worried about the controversy surrounding Scott. “I think that’s something the voters in the 13th are going to have to make up their mind on. That’s something that he has to talk about with his constituency.”

If James is successful in unseating US Rep. Scott, it would be another recent example of a progressive unseating a corporate, centrist Democrat.

Recently US Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) beat former US Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) in a 2008 Primary in Maryland. In the 2006 Primary in Connecticut, progressive Ned Lamont beat incumbent US Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT; erstwhile, D-CT). However, Lieberman left the Democratic Party and went on to win the General Election as an independent.

SCOTT’S TROUBLING VOTING RECORD

Scott was elected in 2002 and entered office in 2003.

In May 2007, Scott voted for HR 2206, to fund the US Invasion of Iraq without setting a timetable for withdrawal. US Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), and Jim Marshall (D-GA) also voted yes. US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) voted no on first round and missed the vote on the final version. US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) voted yes on first round and voted no on the final version.

In September 2006, Scott voted for S. 3930 the Military Commission Act, which created military tribunals for alleged suspected terrorists, detained by the US, and eliminated the right to habeas corpus, a previous cornerstone to US civil liberties. Scott’s Office proudly announced the vote to constituents in an email obtained by Atlanta Progressive News. US Reps. Barrow (D-GA), Bishop (D-GA), and Marshall (D-GA) also voted yes. US Rep. Lewis (D-GA) did not vote, while former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) voted no.

In July 2005, Scott voted for HR 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, authorizing loan guarantees and billions in direct government funding for nuclear and coal power plants, among other things. US Reps. Barrow (D-GA), Bishop (D-GA), and Marshall (D-GA) also voted yes. US Rep. Lewis (D-GA) and former US Rep. McKinney (D-GA) voted no.

The effects of Scott’s vote on HR 6 are currently being felt in Georgia, where energy companies are trying to open new coal and nuclear plants, despite environmental and health concerns.

In April 2005, Scott voted for S. 256, to make it more difficult for families to file bankruptcy. The only other Georgia Democrat to support this bill was US Rep. Bishop (D-GA).

In April 2005, Scott voted for HR 8, to permanently repeal the estate tax, which the bourgeoisie refers to as the “death tax.” The only other Georgia Democrats to support this bill were US Rep. Barrow (D-GA) and Bishop (D-GA).

In February 2005, Scott voted for S. 5, to make it more difficult to file class action lawsuits. The only other Georgia Democrat to support this bill was US Rep. Marshall (D-GA).

The Black Commentator called Scott “The Worst Black Congressperson” in a 2005 cover story. Scott had at the time voted with Republicans more than any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Commentator noted, citing techpolitics.org

Scott received the fourth most campaign contributions than any other Black Congressperson, the Commentator reported. 76% of his PAC contributions came from corporations in the 2003-2004 campaign cycle, according to opensecrets.org

Republicans did not challenge Scott in the 2004 General Election because “he’s their guy,” the Commentator speculated.

SCOTT ENTANGLED IN CONTROVERSY, INVESTIGATION

“A close look at his personal, campaign and business financesÂ… reveals a tangled web of loans, debt, more than $182,000 in unpaid taxes and an intermingling of his political and private funds — including more than $643,000 in campaign payments to his family, their company and its employees,” The Politico newspaper reported.

Payments to his family, their company, and its employees increased each year US Rep. Scott was in Congress: “$52,370 in the 2002 election cycle; $218,000 in 2004; and nearly $344,000 in 2006,” the Politico reported.

“Though Scott hasn’t faced a serious challenge since 2002, those payments became larger and more frequent the following year — around the time Scott, his wife and their company began slipping behind on their taxes. Combined, they owe more than $182,000 in local, state and federal taxes, according to documents on file in Atlanta’s Fulton County Courthouse,” the Politico wrote.

During the time Scott and his company grew farther behind on taxes, Scott and his wife spent over $700,000 on a new home in Washington, DC, and increased their stock holdings by over $60,000.

Scott’s wife, two daughters, and a son-in-law have each received payments from the account. This is legal only if payments are made at market rate for bona fide services.

Scott’s company, the Dayn-Mark Company, has not paid its current year’s annual fee, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Scott’s wife, Alfredia Scott, is listed as CEO and Registered Agent. The company was reinstated in 2006, apparently having been previously dissolved by the State.

Incidentally, Alfredia Scott is the brother of baseball player, Hank Aaron, according to The Politico.

“In 2003, Dayn-Mark missed the first of a series of federal income tax payments that tallied nearly $154,000, according to an Internal Revenue Service lien filed against the company late last year. Dayn-Mark also has racked up more than $4,600 in unpaid local and state taxes since 1998, according to liens on file at the courthouse,” the Politico reported.

“Other liens show that since 2003, David and Alfredia Scott have failed to pay $23,200 in taxes on their home, a 5,000-square-foot stone house in the historic Inman Park neighborhood — which is also outside his congressional district,” the Politico wrote.

“If a company is merely acting as an intermediary between a campaign and its vendors, federal election laws require such services be offered in the normal course of business. That means the campaign pays fair market value for the service and that the company offers the service to other clients,” the Politico reported, adding it did not appear Dayn-Mark had done any other political advertising at the time.

A subsequent Politico article reported that a former Scott Congressional aide had alleged and provided emails showing that US Rep. Scott had Congressional aides working on his re-election campaign, using taxpayer dollars.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com

Revised syndication policy:

Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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