The Chairman of the Georgia Automobile Dealers' Association Georgia (GADA), which is the state's deep-pocketed trade lobby association for new vehicles, is unopposed State House District 160 candidate H. Lehman Franklin, III of Bulloch county. As Chairman of the Board, which is a lead fiduciary position, he also oversees the Georgia In Charge electric vehicle trade network, which is a 'well-fueled' initiative that Governor Brian Kemp has accelerated through the state joint development authorities and the corporate sector. Earlier this month, Franklin successfully leveraged his Kemp-endorsed, dual role to host a high-dollar campaign fundraiser for Kemp, and is shown here handing him a substantial package of GADA-backed money as Chairman.
Franklin uses his private and new public power to provide benefits for all parties. From his candidate platform, he marketed the news of this gubernatorial fundraiser for the benefit of both his campaign committee and the GADA lobby. Third party compensation counts, and, when he takes office he will not be merely an exceptional association leader or officer 'invited to furnish information upon the specific request of a public agency or government entity' to assist the legislators without lobbyist classification (GA Code 21-5-71(i)(3)(3.1)), he will BE A STATE LEGISLATOR. As more members are attracted to GADA, more money will flow in to fund legislative initiatives; more deals can be made to benefit Franklin, his GADA members, the corporations, the vendors, and, least of all, the citizens of HD 160.
Back in September, according to Franklin, he also "joined members of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in representing them at the National Automobile Dealers Association Conference in Washington DC [as a LEAD FIDUCIARY of the GA lobby]. There, we were able to discuss top issues facing the industry such as legislation to fight catalytic converter theft, a proposed rule by the Federal Trade Commission that would dramatically complicate the car buying process and would substantially increase costs and time, and better understanding electric vehicle tax incentives. We had the opportunity to meet with many stakeholders, experts in the industry, elected official staff, and Congressmen Rick Allen and Congressman Barry Loudermilk. Myself and the rest of the GADA team were excited to take part in this conference to better understand these issues, as well as find solutions that we can take back to fellow automobile dealers in Georgia."
One uniqueness about Franklin, compared to others in this photo, is that he appears to be the ONLY individual who is a LEAD FIDUCIARY of a lobby association while planning to serve as a public official in elected state legislative office. The 'NADA PAC' sticker on his name tag is the national lobby association connected to the committee that funds supportive national legislators. It is fed by GADA members to which Franklin is primarily beholden as Chairman of GADA. Franklin is doing his job when he is expanding GADA membership and milking them for more lobby money to give to his GADA legislative team and/or the connected state GADA/CARD PAC. The team then pushes the legislators. Best of all, he can firmly secure franchise interest and the EV industry in Bulloch, including his Franklin Motor Group in Statesboro that will benefit greatly from the anticipated Hyundai EV plant in his district.
If he is sworn into the Georgia House in Jan 2023 as planned, he'll be able to promote his GADA fiduciary position(s) inside the legislature while coordinating with his paid legislative lobby team to ensure bases are covered to promote Kemp and his GADA members' legislative interest. Additionally, he'll be able to push deals and vendors supporting the Hyundai EV Metaplant and Aspen Aerogel manufacturing facility, both generating potentially massive redevelopment in his district.
Under these circumstances, the real-time sanctity of constitutional referendums and votes in HD 160 are becoming minor, as the perception of unavoidable state centralized control is being heavily marketed by the county commissioners of Bulloch county and surrounding counties. Those who can leverage the power of Franklin's automotive industry conflicted interests will be able to accomplish their special purposes and benefit downline from the compensatory benefits received by Franklin, his developer good 'ol boys through his real estate companies, the commissioners, et al. The benefits will be from largely oblivious taxpayer funding of the regional and county development authority payouts, local taxes, and the corporations themselves. This is similar to what Kemp and GADA's efforts almost caused in north Georgia surrounding the rejected EV plant of the Rivian corporation, of which George Soros owns over 20 million shares of stock and is a top ten individual shareholder.
In Franklin’s district, which consists of Statesboro, Bulloch County, and the northern part of Bryan County, his family owns several car dealerships. His involvement on the GADA board dates back to 2015, and, in 2021, he served as the state Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and Secretary for several months. The Georgia Record recently reported an ethics complaint filed on him by a Bulloch citizen with public record that he failed to disclose these positions to the Government Transparency and Finance Commission in his candidate personal financial disclosure statement. This is a legal requirement for candidates. Franklin gained the Chairmanship of the 500+ corporate member lobby while chumming with Kemp at the GADA conference in June at Sea Island, just following the primary election.
"Governor Kemp has been a constant advocate for the automotive industry. While other leaders shut down their states, Governor Kemp recognized that shutting down businesses would put people out of work and put families in financial danger. I want to thank the GADA members who joined us in support of Governor Kemp, for the work he has done for the people of Georgia."Lehman Franklin, Georgia House District 160 Candidate and new GADA Chairman, Oct 3, 2022
At the fundraiser, several key Republicans were present, including GA Senator Butch Miller (3rd from left), who has been involved with GADA for decades. He served as Chairman before he took his oath of office in 2010.
Last year, the Georgia Record reported on a blocking of citizen petitions by Senator Miller. They consisted of by-name enveloped notes to the Senators and small food products professionally prepared by Georgia small businesses. The blocking occurred at a lobby-funded retreat of the Senate Republican Caucus Committee, of which Miller is a lead fiduciary, at the Savannah Westin Resort. To their shock, citizens found that their simple gifts and enveloped notes, involving election integrity matters and military opposition to the vaccine mandates, were made strictly subordinate to whatever lobbying was occurring. Most were not delivered at all. When citizens contacted the resort to inquire of the gift whereabouts, the hotel staff said they were 'disposed of.' Several of the Senators who attended the retreat received nothing, and Miller tried to cover for the block by saying that he had 'handed out' some items in the last hours of the retreat. Citizens and the small business owners who rush-prepared and arranged professional hand-deliveries to a place of public accommodation were disgusted by the anti-constitutional disrespect.
Regarding Franklin's troubling dual roles, a government accountability messaging video was recently released on the issue by an independent journalist with Ohio for Freedom. The video, titled "The Georgia Peach - Rotten to the Core" identifies what appears to be a blatant conflict of interest situation that Franklin seems to be having a difficult time understanding.
In summary, lobby conflicts are an issue in Georgia, and Franklin needs a hard look alongside the law. The General Assembly was not designed to have lobby Chairmen inside directing its people and private interest. Under these conditions, each Rep would quickly become beholden to the interest of cotton, peanuts, teachers, tractors, tourism, or guns, while simultaneously 'claiming' they are representing the diverse interest of its 60,000 constituents. As the Reverend Billy Graham is quoted saying in a part of the video, "No man can serve two masters." Citizens are seeing through the controlled lunch meetings, selections vs. elections, and candidate parades. They’ve had it!
At a time when Republicans should be enthusiastic voters in the current stream of leftist abuse upon the American people, Georgia Republican state officials, candidates, and party officers continue in open misdeeds of their own.