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.