Monday, December 07, 2009

The Casey Cagle Rumors

In the past, I have chastised Erick Erickson for his predilection to rumor monger - particularly on matters involving Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. Today, I will not.

An alleged dalliance by Cagle has rumbled around the state for nine months, but Erick deserved previous vilification because there was little chance of confirmation of the story and I believed his motive was political. One of these reasons may remain true, the other likely will not.

Here's why.

On March 20, 2009, I received a tip from a trusted source that a rumor was circulating the Gold Dome about a staff member interrupting Lt. Governor Cagle while engaged in a certain activity with a female staffer. Knowing I had little possibility of confirming this story myself, I sent a note to a veteran political journalist. After some investigating, he replied "the rumor is afoot" but neither of us could get much further.

As the summer passed into fall, the rumor persisted but no one could get confirmation. Then more details leaked out. Still no one would go on record and no one could find the primary source. However, the fact that I heard additional details (including names) from multiple sources and these details never varied was all but verification.

Recently, another trusted source indicated that the local media finally had the story and for reasons unexplained spiked it at the last minute. However, this person clearly thought it was going to out. Probably this week.

So there it is. I won't go into further details (I believe the regular media will soon enough anyway) without additional confirmation. Erick and I have different standards and I believe our readers judge us accordingly.

However, no longer will there be chastisement on this particular issue - for I believe the story Erick tells is essentially true.

CORRECTION: Small change. I said intern when I meant staff. This was simply a case of mind working faster than keyboard. But it was already affecting discussions in the comment section and I regret the error.


Anonymous said...


lazermike said...

"However, the fact that I heard additional details (including names) from multiple sources and these details never varied was all but verification."

Be careful with this. Hearing the same story from multiple people just means a rumor has spread, not that it's true.

(I mean this in general. I have no idea about how well-sourced the Cagle story is.)

Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...

If I had a dollar for all the gossip I've heard about ____________ (fill in blank with name of any person with a pulse) I'd be Anne Cox F-in Chambers. Show me the:

a.) video
b.) pictures
c.) aggrieved partner's intimate chat with Dale Russell

You just set your bar way way down. On Erick's fat ass. Yuck.

griftdrift said...

Yeah. I completely understand.

Perhaps this is a good time for some transparency of my own.

This is not the kind of story I would normally get into. I've been pretty good about steering away from the lurid. And I have sat on this for 9 months.

Also, I believe Casey Cagle is a good man and an effective politician. It's tough to put up accusations about that kind of person, especially when just about everyone down there should be re-read the verse about casting stones.

But here's the difference in now and then (some of what I pointed to in the piece).

First, Richardson essentially spewed chum into the water. Things that were kept out of daylight are starting to pop to the service.

As to your point Mike, you are 100% right. And I've tried to be careful to avoid it. However, the difference is in the situation you speak of, the details, the little things get mixed up and confused and conflated and so forth. It's like the telephone game. That didn't happen here. Critical details stayed the same no matter who told the story. And these were details that were not known to those beyond certain circles. Like I said in my piece it's all but verification. Not verification, but all but.

The final piece is what I believe is coming next. I believe we will hear from more voices from inside the GAGOP confirming these details and I believe that a local station will roll out a story pretty soon.

If these things don't happen, I'll have egg on my face and I'll probably deserve it. These things do require restraint and good judgment and I understand that I am tip toeing very close to that line.

griftdrift said...

Love ya too, Spacey!

And it won't be Russell this time.

Sara said...

I'm worried about the possibility that Erick is driving the story here. By going public on the rumors, did he just give some news outlet that little extra they needed to go live with the story? We know he has an agenda and supports a gubernatorial candidate who benefits from this sort of housecleaning. I understand your motives (even if I might not have done the same), but I am just very worried that this is becoming one of those situations I hate--a story being built not out of well-sourced research, but the publicizing of rumors. Will the media now be able to report on it because they're actually reporting on the spreading of the rumors, rather than the story? I hate that end-around. Maybe they'll have actually done their homework and talked to the intern or the secretary who caught them, or at least have something more than Capitol scuttlebutt to back it up, if they do ever run the story.

If they DON'T run the story, then I respectfully submit it's one we shouldn't be telling either, because the sources aren't strong enough.

griftdrift said...

I agree.

And if more isn't revealed, I understand my reputation will be appropriately stained.

As I said, this is the closest to the line that I've ever ventured.

I understand the consequences.

Rusty said...

Generally, like I said in the Richardson post, affairs are only interesting to me when they tell a bigger story than "so-and-so cheats on his wife/her husband/partner/etc."

I've heard the rumors too, and from a lot of the same people who were spot on about Glenn Richardson.

What I haven't heard is how it's a bigger story than just yet another politician having affair.

The story of Richardson's affair was about potential legal and ethics violations and abuse of power. What's this about?

Sara said...

I think it's the intern angle, Rusty. In addition to it being an unseemly power differential between Lt. Guv and unpaid college student, she's also an employee and he's her boss. So, it is also theoretically sexual harassment if he initiated things with a little come-on to the co-ed. That makes it more than just an affair.

Unknown said...

Good lord, what's with these guys? Don't they know how to get girls without the risks inherent in involving staff? A smart entrepreneur would see the opportunity here...

griftdrift said...

And I wrestled with it Rusty. Sometimes, I'm tempted to just say screw it and start a TMZ style site and publish every salacious tidbit I hear. The thought of the astronomical gain in notoriety is seductive.

But I will add this and I cannot emphasize this enough, this is unconfirmed and I wouldn't even mention it except I think it clarifies Rusty's point further. There is an allegation of abuse of power and cover up.

Unknown said... seems like basic story dilution, leading to falsely equating the two; however...

This may also explain why Cagle isn't running for governor, and if true, that would imply the presence of various agreements whose terms, parties, and statuses are now all in question.

Unknown said...

In either event, state politics now has the feel of a live-action game of Paranoia, in which we've reached the "party shoots itself" phase.

griftdrift said...

And as someone just emailed me to note and this relates directly to Sara's comment. This was not an intern, but staff. So not a college student.

I knew that and I just typed the wrong thing. I regret that as it colored the story wrong

Anonymous said...

The part of the rumor that I heard and not included in your careful description or the more salacious Erickson version is that the Secretary that witnessed the ordeal went straight to Eric Johnson and gave him a letter detailing what she saw. Instead of making the letter public, Johnson instead pocketed the letter and forced Cagle out of the Gov's race. This puts Johnson in a bit of a bind cause now he is involved in TWO cover-ups of extramarital dealings.

JMP said...

Amen on that last bit here from Anon. EJ has now participated essentially in the official cover-up (& relatively successful) of 2 major indiscretions that touched upon either an abuse of power (typical) or a direct conflict of interest with public corruption of the lowest order. The selling of access & ass to further your position & policy proposals.

Again nothing too unusual or uncommon here, but down here? It just seems it's easier to cover up for the GOP in the local press corps. Everyone knew the score with Glennzilla, and yet were too chicken to ever do much about it. Or even try to investigate it further. That was a political & command decision by our great & vaunted media. The DPG? They wanted a proper investigation. Eric Johnson did the proper job of the cover up and it all disappeared from view for more than a year. He was the GOP's 'good solider' & proper bag man here. That really needs to be noticed & have some real world consequences for any serious consideration of 'responsibility' here too. But then again the same might be asked of all the entire caucus, which were well informed on this score, as well as the miserable press & media. They were essentially MIA on this for years.

Tom Murphy could be a cranky SOB. But he was not corrupt. These clowns? They'd steal the nails & art off of the walls if they thought they could sell it all easily. And that's the bottom line here.

And yeah, I'd 2nd Catherine's point above too. JMP