Georgia Democrats are crowing about the settlement of ethics charges against Governor Sonny Purdue. Over the past several years, Democrats have asked the State Ethics Commission to investigate hundreds of alleged violations by Purdue. Th ethics charges come about as a result of the Governor’s 2002 Campaign – which included promise of ethics reform.
Both sides are claiming victory. The Democrats have the Governor on record as ‘admitting’ some of the ethics violations, while the Republicans are quick to note that the settlement focuses exclusively on technical campaign finance rules. As usual, when both sides are claiming victory, there’s room for confusion in the mind of the average voter. And there’s no question that it’s probably in the best interest of the Governor to get this issue put behind him.
Further complicating the situation are the investigations into former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and his network of friends. The well documented web of corruption ran very deep in all facets of Metro Atlanta politics. There have been several convictions and admissions of guilt. Additionally, there are continued allegations about favoritism at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the current Atlanta administration.
In my opinion, the voters of Georgia, and especially Metro Atlanta will become very tired of repeated attacks on the ethics of the Governor. He’s not an overwhelming popular favorite, that’s for sure. But many saw the extensive corruption of Metro politics during the 1990’s and extend by association that corruption to politicians of the time. Governor Purdue, even having made this settlement, is likely to be compared favorably to the previous generation of Georgia politicians on ethics. Furthermore, he’s likely to face a more substantial challenge on policy issues not related to ethics violations.