Austin Scott Touts Record Of Ethics Reform

December 8, 2009 16:31 pm

by Icarus · 37 comments

Austin Scott today issued a statement calling for a state wide grand jury to replace the current method of politicians self policing themselves (or not) and shift this responsibility to an independent body.

The thing I would like to first point out before getting into generic press release stuff is that this is not a new position for Rep Scott. He is merely calling again for support on a bill he introduced in January of this year, and in a previous legislative session.

Rep Scott is quick to point out that he is not the original author of the bill, as it has been one that has been floating around the legislature since Barbara Bunn introduced it around 1995. But I think you can count on one hand the number of Republican legislators who have introduced ethics reform bills during the last few sessions while they have had the majority. He must be given credit for being “on record” for this legislation before everyone found Jesus on ethics issues over the last few weeks.

Rep Scott and I met late last week, and this issue was fresh on both our minds. He reasoned that this bill has two major advantages over the current system. Politicians have proven it nearly impossible to police themselves, and those tasked with doing so in an official capacity are generally in a no win situation. If you don’t believe that, just ask Eric Johnson how he feels about it right now.

The bill also takes ethics out of the appropriations process. We’ve all read about the drastic budget cuts of the State Ethics commission, with many charging that they are not able to reasonably able to conduct even the most miscule investigation, much less a broad one.

I’ll post Rep Scott’s press release below the jump, but I would also like to mention what the other candidates are talking about today. Karen Handel was on all Atlanta news stations last night discussing her eithics proposals. She has a history of implementing tough eithics reform when she was in Fulton County Gvt, and also has a strong ethics policy at the Secretary of State’s office.

John Oxendine is tweeting about the Fair Tax. Nathan Deal’s topic dejour is those pesky illegal immigrants and Obamacare. Anyone want to guess why these guys aren’t discussing the topic that threatens not only the upcoming session but the viability of Republicans statewide in the 2010 elections?

The 2010 election is now all about ethics. We need a candidate that can credibly talk about it.

Atlanta, GA — In response to allegations of misconduct in the State House of Representatives, Rep. Austin Scott today called again for the creation of state-wide grand juries with the power to investigate any government body or official in the state.

HR 75, introduced by Scott on January 16, 2009, would allow the State Attorney General to empanel a state-wide grand jury to investigate “corruption in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the state, any political subdivision or municipality of the state, or any authority or instrumentality of the state…”

“The need for the people to have a direct means of fighting corruption and holding their elected representatives accountable has been obvious for a long time,” Scott said. “The situation we find ourselves in today shows clearly that allowing government bodies to police themselves is unacceptable. Given the current environment, I expect the people of Georgia will demand the passage of this resolution. I will again seek the support of my fellow House members for HR 75 this session.”

HR 75 can be accessed here.

Scott, a candidate for governor, is a Republican from Tifton who has served House District 153 for 14 years. He is Chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee. As a member of the Republican leadership, he has never done business with the state, any political subdivision of the state, or any organization that receives funding from the state.

To learn more about Austin Scott for Georgia visit www.ScottForGA.com or follow him on his Facebook and Twitter web pages. He now holds the record for the longest walk (1,068 miles) by an American politician. His summer walk around the state eclipsed the record previously held by former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles in 1970.

Part-Time Atlanta December 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

How refreshing, another post about ethics reform. Can’t we just say Kemp created the idea, Karen got it in the news first, and Scott twitted about it and move on…

benevolus December 9, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Tweeted.

Ron2008 December 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Thanks Austin for the late response after everyone else, I guess news travels a little slower down to Tifton hence why we haven’t seen your campaign north of Macon.

ksuowls81 December 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Except that he was talking about it before it was cool to talk about it. And also Austin was the first one to say that he would be for a petition against Glenn Richardson. Jeez, I just wish people would do their research before rambling nonsense on this blog. I also guess you haven’t been to many events around Atlanta. I go to most of them and I have at least seen a representative from his campaign at about all.

Part-Time Atlanta December 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Scott is a nice guy. But if he wanted to take advantage of “zippergate” (credit to Buzz), he should have been out front sooner. I agree his background gives him good standing to tout ethics reform, but he should have called for Glenn to step down sooner, and been on TV before Karen. IMO, he could have taken the most advantage of the situation out of all the candidates running for gov, but missed his chance.

Silent Outrage December 8, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Wait a minute, if I remember correctly, Austin said that he would sign a petition. He didn’t say he’d start the petition, nor did he say that Richardson should resign, just that he’d sign a petition.

Wow, with leadership like that Georgia better watch out. Maybe he’ll lead, or perhaps he’ll just see what everyone else is doing and try and WALK in front of them on the way to where they are going…

ready2rumble December 8, 2009 at 8:10 pm

ksuowls81,
Let’s talk about actually getting something done before it was cool to talk about.

Handel in her first year at Fulton County, with a democrat controlled county commission, passed the toughest ethics legislation in the state. As SoS she instituted the toughest ethics policy of any state agency. If you want transparency, visit the SoS website and see how all of your money is being spent. Unlike Scott, and the rest of his buddies in the legislature, the SoS is subject to opens records requests.

Jeff December 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Yeah, the transparency thing that she was so proud of that *I* had to get her to actually put a link on her page about it, rather than just a rotating banner?

ready2rumble December 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Jeff,
Did you call Austin to get that post?

Jeff December 8, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Nope. It was part of the ‘Karen Handel and Liberty‘ series I did over the summer. (Which reminds me, I still need to do the other GAGOV candidates there.)

As far as my connection to Scott goes, that post went up after the first interview, but before I had walked 10 South GA miles with him.

I’m no one’s shill. I said in this very forum back in September that Scott had very nearly lost my vote, and he still could. There’s a LONG time between now and July, and I continually re-evaluate the candidates based on the latest available information. The only ones I can tell you without hesitation are absolutely out for me are Ox,McBerry, and Deal. Any of the other four GOPers could possibly get my vote in July, though admittedly the way things stand right now, it really looks like it will be Scott.

AthensRepublican December 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Austin Scott…Glenn’s ole buddy.

DTK December 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

“The 2010 election is now all about ethics. ”

No, it won’t. It will be about the economy.

The state GOP’s ethical problems will hinder their electoral chances in 2010 to the same extent as the national GOP’s ethical problems hurt in 2006: it will be a problem but only tangentially. Whereas fallout from the Iraq war took down the national GOP’s majority in ’06, the economy will be the issue voters care about this cycle.

The issue voters in counties with 12-15 percent unemployment care about is jobs, not kickbacks and blowjobs. The latter will be used as a justification for kicking the bums out only because the incumbents did not provide the former. If the economy is seen as getting better by November 2010, the antics of Richardson & Co. won’t matter.

ByteMe December 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm

What an fascinating thought: Republican candidates hoping that Obama’s stimulus plan works while damning it publicly all the way to November.

benevolus December 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

As I often say: It’s not the transgression that is the lingering issue, it’s the response. Whether or not this is still an issue come June depends on how well it is dealt with. I have a lot of confidence that this will be fumbled for a loss.

Atlanta December 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Handel sees an issue, decides to jump on it for political gain. Austin Scott was plodding along in the legislature for, what, thirteen years, introducing actual ethics legislation that would have had a real impact had we had decent House leadership? Impressive. Maybe now that we have the possibility (and I stress the word ‘possibility’) of real leadership in the house we can see something like this come about. bravo, Mr Scott.

Amen, Icarus, on “why the other guys aren’t talking about it”. Deal, Oxendine, and Johnson have too much baggage to win now that “this election is all about ethics.” If I were a Republican I’d be choosing between Handel and Scott.

ready2rumble December 8, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Atlanta,
Actually it’s about a proven track record of doing something about ethics, before it’s in the spotlight.

Handel in her first year at Fulton County, with a democrat controlled county commission, passed the toughest ethics legislation in the state. As SoS she instituted the toughest ethics policy of any state agency. If you want transparency, visit the SoS website and see how all of your money is being spent. Unlike Scott, and the rest of his buddies in the legislature, the SoS is subject to opens records requests.

Atlanta December 9, 2009 at 7:44 am

I see what you’re saying. I really do. But…

I believe Karen Handel is using the SoS position to benefit her gubernatorial campaign. Think about it: I’ve seen her fundraising emails where she intentionally misleads people into the impression that a donation to her gubernatorial campaign will help her (as SoS) to “fight the Obama machine”. Give me a break! I’ve seen the same kind of thing out of Oxendine, with health care. She has no incentive to resolve the state’s issues with the U.S. Justice Department as long as it benefits her gubernatorial campaign! Why solve the problem when she can just use it as a fundraising tool?

I digress. I think she’s a good lady, and decently competent–but you can’t tell me she’s 100% ethical when she does things like that.

One question, though “Ready2rumble”: what does Scott being in the legislature and not being subject to “open records requests” have to do with anything? Is he hiding something?

ready2rumble December 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm

We don’t know if Scott is hiding anything, and I am not accusing him of hiding anything. Other elected officials have a higher degree of transparency due to open records laws. Yes open records laws are abused, but they do serve a purpose.

Handel has a proven track record of getting something done when it comes to ethics. She isn’t “jumping” on the issue for political gain. http://griftdrift.blogspot.com/2009/12/who-benefits.html

When it comes to accomplishing real ethics reform, Scott has introduced a bill.

AthensRepublican December 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Karen Handel came out looking like the best candidate on the issue of corruption and ethics. Eric Johnson gave a disappointing defense which was not widely publicized and has otherwise appeared to have ignored the issue. Austin Scott finally has something to offer but has yet to answer why he was a stalwart defender of Speaker Richardson’s behavior for years. I don’t see him gaining any traction. Nathan Deal and John Oxendine? I don’t think they can say anything or people will laugh too hard.

Culpepper December 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Too little, too late. We need leadership to move us forward.

Will his defense be “I was for Speaker Richardson before I was against him”? Who does that sound like? Flip-flopper? Too much nuance for politics.

I believe that the Republican nominee for Governor will not come out of the legislature. There will be way too much baggage to carry and it will resonate with the voters.

And God help us if we begin electing people solely because they think ethics is important.

IndyInjun December 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

John Oxendine is tweeting about the Fair Tax.

He and idiots like him are advancing the argument of Obamanians for a Value Added Tax .

If you HAD to have a consumption tax, the VAT is actually the better option. I don’t want either, but with morons in the GOP promoting a national sales tax, don’t think that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi won’t take that Oxendine/Deal gilded ball and run with it.

Then we will have BOTH an income tax and a national sales tax.

Wonder if Boortz, Linder and Oxendine will take a bow for that calamity.

Ken in Eastman December 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

The repeal of the 16th Amendment would have to be a part of the implementation of a Fair Tax.

A VAT would require MORE tax payments instead of fewer (payments at every level of product refinement instead of one payment by the final consumer). The VAT would require more capital to run the same business than our current system and far more than the Fair Tax.

IndyInjun December 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm

VAT is very simple and does not provide anything like the tax avoidance schemes as the FT. Businesses do not have to fool with exemption certificates under VAT and they simply deduct the taxes that they paid from the taxes remitted on their product or service.

I do see your point about capital requirements, because there will be very little FT paid, unless people are incredibly stupid or consumers are audited, something the FairTaxers swear won’t happen (despite it clearly being in the Fairtax bill.)

Silent Outrage December 8, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Oxendine can’t talk ethics because:

a. He’s under investigation
b. He’s unethical
c. He doesn’t think ethics matter

IndyInjun December 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

OK, Fairtaxer Ken, go read the PeachPundit archives for a thorough delousing of the Fairtax mites.

You really won’t find a more thorough discrediting of a truly nutty idea.

Ken in Eastman December 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Reading those posts would, I am sure, supply me with many faulty reasons why the Fair Tax won’t work.

What is really nutty is the system we have now which discourages savings and the collection of capital, encourages debt and dependence upon government and punishes those who succeed in building the economy.

A VAT is more of the same with different collection points which encourages a black market (see the November 21st-27th issue of The Economist). a VAT also does nothing to capture taxes from the underground economy or illegal aliens. The Fair Tax does.

ByteMe December 9, 2009 at 2:03 pm

If you’re going to spout dumb stuff, you might as well find out why we think you’re being foolish instead of just doubling down on foolish.

Ken in Eastman December 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

perhaps you would be so kind as to explain exactly why what I wrote is inaccurate?

I breathlessly await your reply.

ByteMe December 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Reading those posts would, I am sure, supply me with many faulty reasons why the Fair Tax won’t work.

You can start breathing again :) And then you should go read instead of assuming that you really understand the FT as well as others out here who have done more than just read the book and taken it at face value.

Ken in Eastman December 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for the reply; I was beginning to look like a Venusian.

Interesting but faulty assumptions, though I do appreciate the fact that you give me credit for reading both books, which I have.

And you get credit for the nice dodge on my challenge, you wily though non-responsive gator, you.

ByteMe December 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm

What dodge? I must have missed it myself. I pointed out the inaccuracy which was that you assumed that the reasons were going to be “faulty”. We had weeks of Friday open threads discussing the specifics and the macro and micro-economic impact and they were nothing like the pie-in-the-sky assumptions in the book.

Ken in Eastman December 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm

This:

perhaps you would be so kind as to explain exactly why what I wrote is inaccurate?

I’m waiting. If you don’t tell me what I wrote that is demonstrably incorrect about the Fair Tax, then how can I correct it?

IndyInjun December 9, 2009 at 7:37 pm

You have to understand that a lot of the older PP commenters have been here for years and during that time we dissected the actual FairTax bill and explored its provisions in more detail than you will find ANYWHERE I have seen. We compared what the Fairtax books says to the actual requirements embodied in the legislation. We looked at the FT within the framework of existing state sales taxes.

There are literally scores of hours of debate using very detailed facts and I for one don’t feel compelled to repeat them everytime a ‘newbie’ shows up here.

Ken in Eastman December 9, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Perhaps another day then, sir. I look forward to it.

Now, back to skewering scoundrels. Something in which we will never risk a shortage.

fundy1611 December 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Talk about a echo chamber. I polled a handful of folks at my church. They mentioned jobs, education, and family values. I asked them what they thought of ethics reform in light of Glenn Richardson. They answered by saying, who’s Glenn Richardson? Let’s see how much money Karen brings to the table at the end of the month. That will tell the true story.

ksuowls81 December 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

Name 3 candidates who wouldn’ be running for Governor if we had state wide grand jurys….

1)John Oxendine
2)Nathan Deal
3)Casey Cagle (oh wait he already dropped out under suspicious reasons)

NorthGAGOP December 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Has Austin actually gotten anything passed and signed into law that has anything to do with ethics? Is introducing someone else’s old bill a record of ethics reform?

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