Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has already faced a round of calls for a criminal investigation from allies of his Republican opponent. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s critics made a similar demand for prosecutors to probe possible “quid pro quo.”
The allegations center on Massage Envy clinics that face at least four complaints involving therapists groping women during massages. The Board of Massage Therapy, under Kemp’s purview, has not sanctioned or revoked any of the accused therapists.
After an AJC investigation revealed the owner of those clinics is a donor to Kemp’s campaign for governor, and Cagle backers pounced.
State Sen. Renee Unterman, in a letter to U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak, said there “appears to be a direct connection between campaign support from Massage Envy franchisees in exchange for non-action and suppression” of the complaints.
And Barry Morgan, Cobb County’s solicitor general, asked Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to launch an investigation and “advise your client on the best practices to protect victims in cases like these.”
Kemp’s campaign has said he did nothing wrong in taking campaign cash from the clinic’s owner, Dr. Patrick Greco, and that it has refunded hundreds of thousands of other donations from industries his office regulates. And Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney called Unterman “mentally unstable.”
“It is our hope that, for her own sake, she will retract these baseless, politically motivated statements before facing serious legal action,” he said. “We also hope that Sen. Unterman will seek immediate medical attention before she hurts herself or someone else.”
Greco has repeatedly declined to comment on the claims. And the company has said in a statement that it cannot comment on specifics of the investigations.
If this rings a bell, there’s a reason.
Several GOP legislators and Democratic leaders earlier asked Pak and Carr to probe whether Cagle offered to trade legislative action for campaign funding after he was heard saying in a secret recording he backed “bad public policy” to undercut another rival.
Another snippet of the covertly-recorded audio of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle emerged this morning - and this time it was released by Brian Kemp’s campaign.
In the 50-second recording, Cagle talks to Clay Tippins about the party’s shift to the right in the primary. Listen to it here.
“The issues you talk about are the issues I care about as well. The problem is in a primary - and you and I are just talking off the record frank - they don’t give a (expletive) about those things. Ok. In the general election, they care about it. Ok. But they don’t care about it in a primary. This primary felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”
It’s unclear what triggered his remarks, but it echoes a longer piece of the recording Tippins released in June. In that audio, Cagle said he backed expanding a private school tax credit that was bad in a “thousand different ways” to prevent Hunter Hill from getting outside support from a key charter school advocacy group.