Golden Sleaze Awards - The Sen. Feather-My-Nest Award
Sen. Chip Pearson
Pearson, a grading and construction magnate who got rich by paving over swaths of north Georgia, has been a Sleaze mainstay since joining the Senate in 2005 for his single-minded hostility toward the environment. But this year, the mustachioed bidnessman sank to new lows, becoming a pariah even among Republicans for the most brazen of his attempts to use his elected office for self-enrichment.
Pearson began the session in embarrassing fashion as co-author of the "Microchip Consent Act," a piece of black-helicopter tomfoolery to protect Georgians from the looming threat of being implanted with microchips against their will. The bill died in House committee after a crazy woman testified that the Department of Defense had forcibly implanted a microchip in her "vaginal-rectum area" – a microchip that's frequently activated by passersby. Taint that wacky?
But clearly, Pearson doesn't hate all things green. In the past, he's proposed self-serving bills to weaken stream buffer regs and require the state DOT to hire more local contracting firms like his. And, last month, the AJC reported that Pearson was a co-founder of Pendleton Consulting Group, a pseudo-lobbying firm that promotes its influence among policy-makers at the Capitol. A few days later, the paper revealed that a bill Pearson was carrying would benefit a client of his business partner (in addition to allowing developers to build private reservoirs without local approval). Pearson's fellow Earth-hater, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, personally vouched for the Dawsonvillain's integrity, but the rank-and-file had finally had its fill. The reservoir bill died in the House and Pearson's bid to become Senate caucus chairman was rejected by his GOP peers. When Pearson realized that, just like his industry cronies – road builders, developers, polluters – he no longer had the clout he once thought, he announced his retirement. We blame the 'stache.