The Handel Scandals

I previously explained Karen Handel’s classic flip flop of her voting machine position in a reprinted article entitled: Will-the-Real-Karen-Handel-Please-Stand-Up?. When she ran for Secretary of State (SOS) in 2006, Karen published a “Basics” report that correctly explained how “obsolete” our voting machines are and what we must do to eliminate the vulnerabilities. But after being elected and making no voting machine changes, she reversed her position and in 2009, falsely stated: “Georgia has the most secure elections in the nation…” The key factor in her reversal was $25,000 from friends, family and employees the voting machine vendor lobbyist, Massey Bowers, plus untold indirect contributions. The former contributions are shown in the previous article but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are perhaps even greater scandals in the way that she established an Inspector General’s office and used it to conduct corrupted investigations which, in several cases, covered up some of the voting machine flaws.

Comment if you can disprove any of these fact summaries


In 2009, Karen Handel attempted to prosecute an innocent voting machine technician named Laura Gallegos for machine malfunctions and certification failures that were the responsibility of a county election official who was her friend. Here are the undeniable facts:

  • Lowndes County Elections Director, Deb Cox certified 947 test votes the live election results during the 2008 general election;
  • The Georgia Elections division caught the error and notified Mrs. Cox who was a personal friend of then Secretary of State Karen Handel.
  • Mrs. Cox attempted to blame voting machine technician, Laura Gallegos, for the error even though she was not present for the certification and had no legal responsibility for certifying election results, whatsoever
  • To protect Handel’s friend, her new Inspector General (IG), Shawn LaGrua, attempted to prosecute Laura Gallegos for the violation that was the legal responsibility of Deb Cox (O.C.G.A. 21-2-493)
  • Laura Gallegos, a mother of four children, lost her job, spent thousands in attorney fees and lost a piece of property she had to liquidate to get her house out of foreclosure. Hear what she lost in her own words: See her whole 2009 interview here:

I spent 100 hours of my personal time to help Laura get her case dismissed. In the first five minutes of the full hearing you can see an Assistant Attorney General unsuccessfully attempt to have me disqualified from testifying as an expert witness for Laura’s defense:


But that is not all. In addition to these two scandals, Handel’s tenure as SOS was riddled with five other investigation related scandals:

  1. Handel referred former Commissioner, Jeff Rayno, for prosecution on false forgery charges without evidence
  2. Handel’s Inspector protected a County Election Board Member from prosecution for elections manipulation
  3. Handel’s Inspector loses my voting machine complaint after her staff member acknowledged receiving it
  4. Handel’s Inspector opens and closes bogus investigation to cover up corrupted Cobb SPLOST election
  5. Handel’s Inspector was eventually charged with 70 Articles of Impeachment in the House of Representatives

Here are the stories:

1. Handel refers former Commissioner, Jeff Rayno, for prosecution on false forgery charges without evidence
Another politically motivated investigation involved that of Jeff Rayno, a former Chatham County Commissioner. During the December 2009 meeting, Shawn LaGrua stated that Rayno submitted forged petitions he collected on a drive to help get another commission candidate on the ballot for the general election. Rayno determined that only one or two of 200 signatures he collected were even in question and asked to see the alleged forgeries. LaGrua could not produce any, but still recommended to the board that Rayno be referred to the office of the Attorney General for further investigation and prosecution. Board member, David Worley, sought to remove Rayno from being referred due to lack of evidence but Chairwoman Handel overrode him. She instructed another board member, Mr. Kent Webb, to make a motion. On cue, he motioned to refer Rayno to the Attorney General’s office. Handel seconded the motion to pass it despite opposition from Mr. Worley. Mr Rayno’s sin was that he collected signatures for a candidate who opposed Helen Stone. Stone was well acquainted with Karen Handel and escorted her around the area during a visit by Handel to Chatham County. [Ref: Rayno]

2. Handel’s IG protects Douglas County Election Board Member from prosecution for elections manipulation
In a 2008 Douglas County case, an investigator found that Douglas County election officials:

a. Failed to advertise logic and accuracy testing of all voting machines used on Election Day,
b. Solicited KSU to create a second ballot unauthorized by the SOS for use on Election Day;
c. Allowed a board member to take all 25,000+ votes from the election results home in a spreadsheet ;
d.Instructed a Diebold (Premier, now ESS) employee to manually enter the Election Day results from the spreadsheet into the county tabulation server (GEMS) before the county results were published;
e. Failed to certify the recounted results in all county and state races except one

The original investigation by LaGrua, who was appointed by Handel, protected the Douglas County official. Despite their awareness of the facts, neither Karen Handel nor Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, took any action against the Douglas County Board member. [Ref: Douglas County-Quarterman]

3. Handel’s Inspector opens and closes bogus investigation to cover up Cobb SPLOST election corruption
In a January 2009 SEB meeting, David Chastain spoke on the controversial 2005 Cobb County SPLOST tax referendum. In October, he was surprised to find out from SEB meeting minutes that Shawn LaGrua opened an investigation about the matter but no investigator ever contacted him. The controversies were never investigated and LaGrua shut down the investigation claiming everything was in order. Chastain replied to the board with a list of his questions that were never answered. In that particular election, 285 blank voted ballots were cast by voters although the referendum was the only item on the ballot. The referendum was decided by only 114 votes out of 39,780 votes cast. The contest was plagued by unexplained modem transmission difficulties, reporting delays and a shift in preliminary results that took the SPLOST from apparent defeat to a razor thin victory. Roughly a billion dollars in new taxes were then assessed, the majority of which is being paid by Cobb County residents. See David and hear his story:

4. Handel’s Inspector loses my voting machine complaint after her staff member acknowledged receiving it
Also In January 2009, I sent a letter to request an investigation into the illegal acquisition and certification of $54+ million in voting equipment that is currently being used in Georgia. Over the next few months, I contacted Chris Brown of the IG office several times. He repeatedly confirmed that the IG office received my request but could not provide a status of whether the complaint was accepted for investigation or rejected. Finally, I wrote a formal letter to the State Election Board members in October requesting a response. Inspector General Lagrua replied in a December letter that the office could not locate my complaint. When I asked Chris Brown why he thought the office had my request before but not now he replied: “That’s a good question.” [Ref: Original Complaint] [Ref: Letter to Lagrua]

5. Handel’s Inspector charged with 70 Articles of Impeachment in the Georgia House of Representatives
As a result of these scandalous investigations and more that Shawn LaGrua conducted prior to becoming Karen Handel’s Inspector General, over 70 articles of impeachment were filed against Shawn LaGrua in the Georgia General Assembly. Republican Judiciary Chairman, Wendell Willard, received letters from at least five individuals who had first-hand knowledge and were willing to testify at an impeachment trial in support of the evidence cited. Rep. Willard covered up for his North Fulton friend by taking no action. Just days after Governor Perdue’s office was notified of these indiscretions, he appointed her as a Fulton County judge.

Shawn LaGrua had previously worked for Karen Handel in Fulton County before taking a position in Dekalb. While there she conducted a corrupted investigation that almost destroyed the career of another innocent person, Guy Antinozzi as explained in the Articles of Impeachment. Karen Handel had to know about Lagrua’s background when she created the position of Inspector General for her. Handel will still defend LaGrua to this day.

Garland Favorito, 404 664 4044


Garland Favorito About Garland Favorito

Garland is an IT professional with more than 25 years of experience. He is co-founder of VoterGA, established to restore the integrity of Georgia elections. He is also the author of "Our Nation Betrayed: From Impeachment to Infinite War," which is in its second edition and the first published book to question the government's version of events that occurred on 9/11.


  1. Garland Favorito says:

    Hello Anne,
    Thank you for responding to the recent challenge to prove that one of the seven “Handel Scandal” summary points is substantially untrue. As you know, the HR1714 Impeachment resolution contains charges brought by a State Representative against Shawn LaGrua, who had previously been hired by Karen Handel to fill the newly created Inspector General position at the office of the Secretary of State. Many of the impeachment charges involve the conduct of LaGrua’s investigations for Secretary Handel. The resolution title, “LaGrua, Shawn; bring impeachment charges” and opening clause, “Bringing charges of impeachment against Shawn LaGrua;…” confirm that charges were brought.

    It is true that the Judiciary Committee did not initiate a hearing even after Chairman Wendell Willard was presented with notices from people who agreed to testify. Therefore, the charges were not brought by the full House of Representatives. However, the statement you challenged does not make that claim. The statement contends that charges were brought in the House of Representatives and that is exactly what Rep. Franklin did as confirmed in the HR1714 resolution title and opening clause. Therefore, after careful consideration, I believe that your challenge is more legally semantic in nature while the original statement you challenged is still substantially true. I agree though that it could be interpreted as you did and we have adjusted the phrase accordingly.

    You mentioned a great cause and I am still inclined to make a donation, but unfortunately, a detractor could then falsely claim that the original statement was substantially untrue. Nevertheless, I am distributing links to your challenge and my response to see what replies we get. I appreciate your willingness to take the time to engage in a substantive discussion about these serious matters. In conclusion, I would have to say that I feel somewhat honored by your challenge since I have always respected your elections knowledge. For a General Counsel of the Republican Party to review these summary claims and find only a technically semantic difference makes me feel vindicated from any criticism that I may receive for having the courage to make this information more publically available.

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