GOP Operative Who Was Arrested For Animal Cruelty After Allegedly Kicking Dog Hired As Top Aide To New Congressman


A veteran Georgia Republican operative slated to be chief of staff for incoming Rep. Mike Collins was arrested last month for allegedly kicking a dog.

Brandon Phillips was arrested on Nov. 17 on a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and held on a $1,200 bond, which he posted to get released, according to a booking report. In 2016, Phillips resigned as Donald Trump’s Georgia state director after his prior criminal history was revealed.

In the latest incident, Phillips allegedly kicked the dog of a woman named Tifani Eledge with his boot, causing a cut to the animal’s stomach, according to an affidavit attached to a warrant for Phillips’ arrest. The alleged incident occurred on Aug. 23 in Albany, Georgia.

Collins (R-Ga.) has not formally announced that Phillips, 36, will be his chief of staff, but three Georgia Republican congressional staffers told POLITICO he had been selected for the job.

He participated in a meeting on Nov. 30 held exclusively for Georgia Republican congressional chiefs of staff in an office next to the office of Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), according to two of those staffers. And Phillips has interviewed at least one congressional aide for a potential post in Collins’ office, they said.

One of the people said Phillips was with Collins for a new member orientation last month.

Collins has also designated Phillips as his transition aide, a different Republican congressional staffer familiar with the matter said.

Phillips, a former executive director of the Fulton County Republican Party, has long ties to Collins, a successful trucking business owner. In 2014, Phillips worked for Collins in his unsuccessful run against Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.). In the 2008 Republican presidential primary, Phillips served as Mitt Romney’s Georgia state director.

Phillips and Collins did not respond to requests for comment.