Handel debuts transparency website

I got a press release from Karen Handel’s office earlier today about the Transparency in Government Initiative website going live:

“Responsible fiscal management begins with a commitment to transparency and accountability,” Secretary Handel said. “Georgia taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent, and I am pleased to provide them with that information.”

The Transparency in Government Initiative website will be updated monthly with detailed information on how the agency spends taxpayer dollars.

The website will have monthly information on state spending and the budget for the current fiscal year. It also has the Secretary of State’s Ethics Policy and Secretary Handel’s own financial and campaign disclosures.

The National Taxpayers Union has also mentioned the debut of the website.

[CORRECTION] I originally wrote that this website was a product of SB 300. I was wrong on that. The site was setup at the direction of Secretary Handel.

16 comments

  1. griftdrift says:

    Whatever. It’s your guys party not mine. Death from a thousand paper cuts is an interesting political strategy. I’ll have to research how well it worked in the past.

  2. Grift I will give you an example. When you are running for office and it would be helpful to get a list of people who have requested absentee ballots, which you used to be able to get quite easily in 2006 and you call or visit the elections division and they say nope sorry can’t do it that is a problem.

    When the only way you can get that data file on CD is after filing an open records request, waiting the three days and then threatening to talk to the law department (and then being told that your original request is problematic you need to file another one) that is also a problem.

    This data was on a website freely available for both parties to download in 2006. This isn’t a partisan attack, it’s matter of fact. Now it isn’t. The elections division doesn’t seem to be too interested in remedying this problem, despite the fact that requests from Democratic and Republican candidates and parties could tie up significant staff time in Sep-Nov that they need to do other things. It’s a lot easier to put it on a website once a day instead of having to run the file/burn a cd everytime someone walks in with $15.

    As for the ALJ, yes if you want to get hyper technical then yes, she submits challenges to an ALJ who presents findings and then she can do whatever she wants with them. Part of the findings (I would say the main part) is a summary that says yes or no for whether the ALJ thinks the candidate is qualified.

    I don’t know how your dealings with ALJ’s have been on other matters not related to election law, but essentially for this process the ALJ conducts a hearing, submits what he or she thinks are the facts and then also a conclusion. That conclusion has been followed in the past by all prior Secretaries of State in every instance I can think of. Handel’s office has yet to produce a prior case by another SOS where they deviated from the final ruling.

    I know ALJ’s usually deal with less sexy interactions between the citizenry and government. Can you tell me of an instance where a state department doesn’t follow ALJ decisions in any other aspect of the law?

    You may not consider the ALJ to be “two” judges but the fact remains that an ALJ did decide that Powell was qualified to be on the ballot in his final decision. Handel cherrypicked a single finding of fact from that hearing and decided to go her own way. A Fulton County Superior Court judge has now decided that the ALJ was right. Two judges, one judge, what’s the difference. Handel will not win on appeal and I hope she learns her lesson now to buck the findings of the ALJ (or really why even submit it there in the first place) because it is costing taxpayers a ton of money that could be better spent on putting more publicly available voter data on a website for parties and candidates to use in the upcoming election.

  3. griftdrift says:

    ” Can you tell me of an instance where a state department doesn’t follow ALJ decisions in any other aspect of the law? ”

    Happens all the time in Labor. The only difference is in Labor it’s a Board of Review (appointed by the commissioner) instead of the commissioner directly.

    ALJ’s or AHO’s are not the be all and end all.

    Don’t like it? Win elections and change the laws.

    And she cherry picked one section? The section she based her decision on explicitly says claiming homestead establishes residency.

    But I’ve got a question for you Chris. Why didn’t Powell just switch his homestead previously thereby making this a non-issue?

  4. Jason Pye says:

    Before she starts a new project. How about delivering on the elctronic voting machine ballot receipt promise she made in her last election.

    I completely agree.

  5. Grift, I dunno. Ralph Hudgens did the same thing in 2004 but was allowed to run. Powell and his wife obviously own two houses and he’s been voting and doing other things at the Towns County home but had the homestead exemption in Cobb. To paraphrase Shoob, you’re telling me I can move but if I forget to file paperwork I didn’t really move?

    If the Towns County home was just a PO Box I’d agree with Handel. But it isn’t. I believe Powell when he says he lives there and that the homestead thing was an oversight. Should have he moved it earlier, sure, but I’m also glad the ALJ and other courts have recognized that his intent and actions count for more than just a piece of paper.

  6. SouthFultonGuy says:

    ChrisIsHardCore,

    Stop whining because you don’t like the color china your food is being served on. The world does not revolve around you and though the data is public data everyone does not like their information unnecessarily disseminated on the net for the convenience of a politico.

    If you don’t like the fact that the Secretary of State is enforcing the rule of law then you should run for that office. Like it or not she is right on the law and the judge is wrong.

    Not mailing your tax return could be an oversight, but you still face the consequences of not filing. It is not the responsibility of elected officials to somehow discern your intent, its her responsibility in this Representative Republic to enforce the Election laws of Georgia.

    If you do not like them or thing they are unfair, go to the Gold Dome lobby and get the law changed. Until then you and Powell will just have to abide by the laws currently on the books.

    Since I believe you have political aspirations, just like we took Andre Walker to task over full disclosure, if you are indeed running for and office and picking a bone with Karen Handel to further your own partisan personal goals, you should disclose your real name and go on the record dude.

    You reap what you sow. One day the very Open Records laws you abuse through frivolous inquiries intended to be disruptive and vindictive may be used against you. LOL

  7. NonPartisanGA says:

    Jason,

    The current voting system cannot print paper ballots.

    A replacement system would cost in excess some say of $10,000,000.00 .

    The legislature would have to approve that expenditure.

    We are in a budget crisis in Georgia.

    The system would likely be a $10 million throwaway in a few years when a national standard comes around.

    In light of these findings do you really want the taxpayers of Georgia to piss away TEN MILLION just to spend another $10-15 Million again.

    Does that really make sense sports fans?

  8. Bill Simon says:

    Chris,

    I think you’re full of it. Absentee ballot requests have ALWAYS been maintained at each county’s board of elections, and each of those boards run their elections division their own special way.

    Don’t lie to us about this claim that Cathy Cox was able to provide lists on a statewide level of all absentee ballot requests. You’re full of it, and you whining about it makes you look pretty stupid.

  9. griftdrift says:

    Just a piece of paper Chris? I think it’s time to research the difference in millage rates between Towns and Cobb County. I bet it’s enlightening.

  10. Tea Party says:

    “Polyps” eating their young in public, almost better’n wrasslin’, much better’n tractor pulls.

    Everyone ,must know who chrisathardcore is if I do, and I do.

    What do absentee ballots and a recent North Atlanta incorporation have in common, Chris?

Comments are closed.