The 20th annual Golden Sleaze Awards 

Page 4 of 5

Gov. Sonny Perdue: Halfway through his final term as the state's chief executive, Perdue couldn't resist peeking his head out of his office and fucking everything up. The state's chief executive, who just months prior bestowed praises upon the Georgia Department of Transportation's 13-member board, made an about-face and decided to snip the agency's jewels. His new plan: Create an entirely new transportation agency, one helmed by a sophisticated-sounding – and Perdue-appointed – "secretary" and a board handpicked by the state's leadership. Perdue, who reportedly considers this rearranging of the deck chairs a legacy move, promises to block any transportation funding proposals unless he is given his new toy. He even considered paying for phone call and e-mail blasts to sway on-the-fence lawmakers. And while Gold Dome insiders haven't been able to determine why Perdue proposed the plan, they agree it was unnecessary and a distraction.

The I'm Not Crooked, I'm Just Dumb Award


Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn: If you have to ask a journalist for advice on a piece of legislation, you obviously haven't thought it through. Cox admitted as much after an AJC reporter asked him to explain House Bill 622, a legislative Hail Mary that would've curtailed the authority of the regulatory council that oversees private probation companies. Accompanying legislation would've eliminated the council. Cox, you see, makes his living by asking people to pee in cups. (If you're on probation in Gwinnett County, you help put food on his table.) And his firm, Professional Probation Services, recently had a run-in with the regulators. Cox, who hadn't notified any other companies about his intention, was red-faced. ("Do you want me to pull this bill?" he asked the reporter.) After the news hit the papers, Cox decided to withdraw the bill.

The Bringing Georgia Back to the Debtor's Colony Days Award


Rep. Roger Lane, R-Darien: Common-sense legislation might satisfy the most red-blooded and thick-skulled of constituents, but it never really seems to make sense. Lane should remember this before he wastes everyone's time introducing bills that would earn him two seconds of kudos on Fox News yet ultimately turn Georgia's correctional institutions into debtor's prisons. Earlier this session, the Charles Bronson-esque Lane introduced a bill that would charge the state's incarcerated souls $40 a day – a meager $14,600 a year – for their luxurious room and board. Health care? Pay up. Can't pay the tab? Can't leave till you can, hoss! Lane obviously doesn't understand that the black market for cigarettes and girlie magazines in the joint isn't what it once was. That, and the fact that many people who get sent to prison weren't exactly ballers prior to the cell door slamming shut. Lane's bill, which he said was aimed at white-collar criminals, is collecting dust.

The Bidness Booster Award


Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla: It's not uncommon – or always unethical – for lawmakers to propose or tinker with legislation that affects their paychecks. The Gold Dome is filled with bankers and lawyers – hell, even nursery owners – who debate tax bills, legal issues and water conservation. But Roberts got a bit too specific. He introduced a bill that was like the Equal Employment Act for industrial-manufactured homes. Roberts' legislation, House Bill 516, stated that a city or county couldn't prohibit manufactured homes within their jurisdictions. Sounds fair, right? Mass-produced homes need love too, don't they? You wouldn't know it from reviewing his campaign website or legislative page, but buried deep in Roberts' campaign finance forms, the lawmaker's employer is listed as Georgia Modular Systems, a maker of – you guessed it – industrial-manufactured homes. Roberts said the bill wouldn't benefit his company – his company doesn't sell too many homes in Georgia, he claims. But it was enough to raise eyebrows.

The Panderer in Chief Award


Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah: If this is what folks gotta do to win the GOP primary in this state, we could do with a little less ambition around here. Johnson spent the session sucking up to any special-interest group he thought might help his chances for becoming the next guv-lite. He offered a ridiculous bill to give home-schoolers access to public-school honors programs; he sponsored Senate legislation aimed to help create Milton County, even though his own district is four hours away; and he pushed a measure to release the names of lawmakers who have disputes with the state Department of Revenue – possibly in violation of privacy laws. By the time his pet school voucher proposal – a blatant attack on the public school system, by the way – was ready for a vote, Johnson's fellow GOP senators were so fed up with his antics, they torpedoed the bill.

The I'm Frowning on the Inside, Too Award


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