Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Marriage amendment sponsor in hot water over morals

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) introduced H.J. Res. 89, the Marriage Protection Amendment, in May. It now seems that he needed to do so to shore up his right flank. Rep. Broun is something less than an ethical paragon (unless serving as a negative example counts). From yesterday's Athens Banner-Herald:

The Athens Republican declared bankruptcy, didn't pay his taxes and fought with an ex-wife over alimony payments while living in Americus in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to records unearthed by GOP opponent Barry Fleming's campaign.

In his four previous runs for federal office, rumors circulated but politicians and journalists considered him a fringe candidate and didn't delve too deeply into his past. Sumter County and federal court documents offer detailed information about his transgressions....

Broun falsified financial documents in an effort to obtain a loan and misrepresented his assets and debts during bankruptcy proceedings, a federal judge ruled in 1983....

Broun also went to court with an ex-wife over whether he was paying all of the alimony and child support required by his divorce settlement. In 1984, a Sumter County judge ordered him to pay $467 plus interest.

Broun's financial troubles stemmed from a bad economy and some business failures, he said. He has been married to his fourth wife, Niki, for 23 years and has a good relationship with his ex-wives and children by a previous marriage, he said.

According to Friday's CQ Politics, it's clear that Broun still hasn't earned the support of party regulars:

...Broun won his seat in northeastern Georgia with a stunning upset in a July 2007 special election runoff. He defeated a much better-known Republican candidate, former state Sen. Jim Whitehead, who had the support of the state party establishment — including the family of the late 10th District Republican Rep. Charlie Norwood, whose death in February of that year created the vacancy filled by Broun.

Broun barely had time to settle into Congress before drawing a challenge for this July’s primary from Republican state Rep. Barry Fleming, who quickly rallied support from colleagues in the state legislature and local party officials.

Broun's Republican detractors contend that he won the Republican-vs.-Republican runoff with support of Democratic voters who had no candidate of their own, and that he is not a genuine conservative. Broun, who has amassed a nearly solid party-line voting record during his short time in Congress, denies these assertions.

At least each of his four wives liked him -- at some point, anyway.

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