Bill Simon Embarrasses Himself, Should Correct the Record, and Apologize

In full disclosure, Peach Pundit the Podcast™ is supported in part by a partner level Patreon membership by Americans for Prosperity (AFP). They did not ask me to write this piece and they did not contribute to the content I am about to share. Nor do I have a dog in the fight in the House race between Carmen Rice and Sean Knox happening now in House District 139. I have never met Mr. Knox and I have found Rep Elect Rice to be a perfectly delightful person. While the organization I work for supports Rep. Lauren Daniel, I have not had any contact with her or anyone from her campaign about this topic and I have not spoken with her or her campaign in several weeks. Peach Pundit has also republished an episode of the Janelle King Show featuring Rep. Daniel. Phew. Now that we have the disclosures out of the way…

I am writing this piece because I am on Bill Simon’s email list for his political newsletter, Political Vine (PV), and he used PV recently to attack AFP for illegally coordinating with the campaigns of both Sean Knox and Lauren Daniel. His take? Because he could not find photos on either candidate’s campaign site that matched what AFP was using on mail pieces and door hangers that the campaigns must have given them to AFP which would amount to a violation of the law. These are very serious allegations and if true meant that I should reconsider my association with both AFP and Rep Daniel. So I tried to verify Mr. Simon’s claims.

However Bill Simon is either incompetent or just making stuff up. Either way he has embarrassed the hell out of himself by making false allegations against good people. If he is capable of feeling embarrassment, which I am not certain he is, he should look like my dog, Joey, after he gets busted stealing a sock from the hamper.

It took me 30 seconds to find the images that Mr. Simon claimed are “not available anywhere in public view or public Internet access,” when he made the allegations of collusion with the Knox campaign. I am serious. 30 seconds.

I performed a Google Image Search on the phrase, “Sean Knox Columbus GA,” It’s the very first photo that appears in the search. The first photo that Mr. Simon claimed wasn’t available can be found here. Not only was it so easy to find, other media outlets have been using that photo (A news story dated 2/7/2024) in their coverage of the House District 139 race. It was also used by the folks at US Term Limits when Knox signed their pledge.

I guess a red flag that I should have taken more seriously is that Bill doesn’t understand how easy it is to alter photos in apps like photoshop today. He was apparently hung up on the fact that the contractor hired by AFP could change the background on a photo, writing, “When you look at the AFPA designs for Mailer 2 & 3, along with the door hanger design, do you see the way the Georgia State Flag appears in the background and is expertly integrated there? Who else but a graphic design company used to running campaigns IN Georgia would have that artwork available and have that deft a skill?”

Both of my children could do that on their iPads within a few minutes.

Moving on to his false attacks on Rep Daniel.

Mr. Simon made the following claim in a PV newsletter sent on May 13th: “As in the case of the Knox campaign in Muscogee County, the AFPA has screwed the pooch by using photos of Lauren Daniel in their mailers and doorhangers that are not available on the Web, or anywhere else..and they had to have obtained them from the campaign in some way.”

Really? Well let’s check his claims.

Rep. Daniel is objectively photogenic. There are hundreds and hundreds of photos available of her online. Most of the photos of her used in the AFP mailers appear to have of been taken from publicly available sources like her Instagram account. Like this one. This one of her family. This one with her baby and the Speaker Pro Tem. This one with Rep. Penny Houston. This one. And that one. And another one. I was able to find so many of them just by scrolling through her Instagram account that I stopped looking because the point has been made: Bill Simon’s accusations are demonstrably false. He may be subject to libel allegations.

In 2016 the Georgia Chamber of Commerce was angry with me because I voted against the increase on taxes for gasoline. They spent tens of thousands of dollars propping up a primary challenger who ran against me. No fewer than four mail pieces came out from them in that campaign and all of them included images of my opponent lifted from his private business website or from pictures of me from various sources. One was a screen capture from an old video that portrayed me in a less than flattering pose. A pro-school choice group who supported me, and I had no contact with, also lifted photos of me from obscure online sources and countered the onslaught of mail sent by the Chamber. These things happen in campaigns and it is completely legal.

The responsible thing to do for Mr. Simon is to retract his newsletters, correct the record, and apologize, But having seen him in action over the years I suspect he will just get angry and deny his own incompetence and blame others for being corrupt. But I hope he surprises me.

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