Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) acknowledged in a secretly recorded conversation that he backed a bill that he described as “bad public policy” because he believed it would deprive a rival in the state governor’s race of campaign donations.
In the recording, which was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News, Cagle can be heard telling former Republican gubernatorial rival Clay Tippins that his decision to support a measure increasing tax credits for private school scholarships to $100 million was not “about public policy.”
“It’s about [expletive] politics,” he continued.
Cagle said he backed the measure in an effort to stop the Walton Family Foundation, a group that has backed charter school initiatives nationwide, from giving millions of dollars to the gubernatorial campaign of former state Sen. Hunter Hill, a vocal supporter of the foundation.
Hill came in third in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary.
Tippins, who recorded the conversation with Cagle, said he taped the meeting because he was frustrated with the lieutenant governor. Tippins’s uncle is state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Republican who was the chairman of the state Senate Education Committee at the time.
Cagle acknowledged in a statement reported by the Journal-Constitution that the bill wasimperfect, but said that he had vowed to support legislation that expanded educationopportunities. He said he spoke “open and honestly” with Tippins.
“The bill wasn’t perfect – and I said that to Clay – but we reached a broad agreement while no side got everything it wanted,” he said.
But in the recording, Cagle explicitly says that the measure was “bad public policy.”
“Is it bad public policy? Between you and me, it is,” he can be heard saying. “I can tell you how it is a thousand different ways.”