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Hopping down the money trail 

For 30 years, the Rev. Leon "Rabbit" Harris has been one of Atlanta's key "get-out-the-vote" operatives, the guy politicians call if they want to tap the gray-haired potential contained within Atlanta's 23 senior citizen high-rises.

This year, though, the Rabbit might have done some extra hopping around.

Harris was paid more than $1,000 to distribute campaign literature and rally the troops for Bob Whitelaw, the candidate for the state House seat representing Midtown, according to Anne Osborne, a Whitelaw consultant. At the same time, Harris was paid $600 by the campaign of Jeff Richards, Whitelaw's opponent for the House seat. (Richards captured just 3 percent of the vote, while Whitelaw has made it into a runoff against Pat Gardner.)

When Osborne called Harris to ask about the "double-dipping," she says, Harris had the cojones to ask Osborne what she wanted him to do for Whitelaw in the runoff. The answer was nothing. Osborne is skeptical that Harris even distributed the Whitelaw info in the first place, as the candidate's vote tallies in those precincts showed no spikes at all.

When contacted by CL, Harris didn't deny working for both candidates; nor did he seem to have a problem with divided allegiances.

"I don't know if they were competing or not," Harris says. "If they throw money at me, I do what I can for them."

Osborne says she's always had a friendly rapport with Harris but doesn't see herself working with him again. She adds that the problem with the reverend is that if you don't pay him, he'll work for your opponent.

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