Walmart heirs’ groups deny role in georgia governor’s race – new jersey herald – data recovery hard drive software

Representatives of the Walmart company heirs deny any involvement in the Georgia governor‘s race after a candidate was secretly recorded saying he backed a school choice law because campaign money from the family’s non-profit foundation was at stake.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle admits making the remarks that surfaced in the past week. His campaign issued a statement Friday calling it "old news" that stemmed from a "purely political conversation" Cagle had in his campaign office. Cagle is heard saying he supported a bill in the recent legislative session expanding tax credit vouchers for private schools because millions of dollars in Walton foundation money were at stake in the gubernatorial race.

Cagle faces Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a July 24 runoff vote for the Republican nomination for governor.

Both Republican and Democrat officials in the state who support Cagle’s rivals have called for an investigation. State campaign finance reports show Cagle hasn’t received money from Walton family members for his gubernatorial campaign.

The Walton family — through personal campaign contributions, their non-profit private foundation and a political affiliate group — are leading supporters of the charter school movement in America. Charter schools are run privately but get public dollars to educate students whose families choose to enroll them there instead of traditional neighborhood schools. The Waltons are also prominent supporters of giving scholarship vouchers funded by tax credits to students going to private schools.

The foundation is a private non-profit that is legally forbidden from wading into partisan politics because it does its work using tax-exempted dollars. Foundation spokeswoman Daphne Moore said in a statement: "As is the case with any other private foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, by law, cannot and does not engage in political activity."

"Any speculation about Walton investments in the Georgia governor’s race is unfounded," said Joe Williams, director of the Walton Education Coalition that vets and advises Walton members on political candidates and ballot issues across the country.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV reported last week on the audio clip, which was secretly recorded May 24 and leaked by Clay Tippins, a failed candidate in the governor’s race. Cagle is heard explaining that the lieutenant governor engaged in political maneuvering for a "bad public policy" bill for tax credit scholarships program. Cagle said he was "playing defense" because he claimed that the Walton foundation was preparing to give $3 million in campaign contributions to another rival, Hunter Hill.

The newspaper also reported another allegation this week that Cagle was working with Walton in mind when he backed another law that gives more money to charter schools. Clay Tippins’ uncle, state Senator Lindsey Tippins was a Cagle ally who recently resigned from leading the senate’s education committee over the law. The senator told the newspaper that the two had a tense conversation toward the end of the legislative session, when Cagle declared that he would get money from the foundation if the bill passed.

Williams said the Waltons have also given to the American Federation for Children, which has supported individual candidates in Georgia. The federation was previously led by now U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a staunch school choice advocate.