Barnes releases his ethics plan………..

For me this year, ethics trumps even limited government conservative values as the top issue. Too many elected officials in Georgia are screwing around with lobbyists and staffers (opening themselves up to being blackmailed) or using their position to secure sweetheart deals from the state or from various party establishments. Until we see ethical government we will never see limited government.

I’m not yet endorsing Barnes. He has his own set of issues. However his plan is a breath of fresh air after the frat-house General Assembly and the Gainesville Mafia.

The following is Roy Barnes’ press release. My comments are in italics.

Roy Barnes: Restoring Ethical Leadership

Standing in front of the Georgia Gold Dome today, Roy put forth a comprehensive plan to restore ethical leadership to Georgia state government.

Roy’s Ethics Plan includes:

  • Open government to the people by promoting access and transparency, strengthening Georgia’s disclosure laws and limiting lobbyist influence.
    • Close the loophole that allows the General Assembly to be excluded from Georgia’s Open Records Law [ Lots of luck getting the Jerry Keens and Don Balfours to agree to that ]
    • Mandate that all candidates for statewide office release seven years of complete income tax returns, including all schedules and addendums.
    • Eliminate lobbyist and vendor gifts. [ I disagree here. While gifts are a problem, prohibition will just mean they are harder to find out. I prefer greater transparency]
    • Require state elected officials to adhere to election year disclosure requirements every year. [ Or what? ]
    • Strengthen transparency by requiring that state vendors who earn over $10,000 in non-salary earnings from the state register as vendor lobbyists.
    • Prohibit any executive employee from having private meetings with a state or federal elected official about his personal business
    • Reveal any contract or business arrangement with state of Georgia within 10 years
  • Fight corruption and increase ethical standards by bolstering corruption laws, strengthening the authority of the State Ethics Commission and implementing ethics training for agency heads and senior staff.
    • Strengthen Georgia’s anti-corruption laws to ensure that they are as strong as or stronger than the federal RICO laws.
    • Strengthen the authority of the State Ethics Commission by allowing them to initiate investigations based on reliable and publicly disseminated information.
  • End conflicts of interest by requiring statewide elected officials to put their financial interests into a blind trust and holding appointed board members financially accountable.

Roy’s Press Release and his full plan.

26 comments

  1. View from Brookhaven says:

    No, no, we solved the Ethics problem last year, remember?

    The chances of a bill containing those things ever reaching the Governor’s desk (no matter who it is) are nil.

    • Harry says:

      Barnes knows very well they will never hit the governor’s desk. If such measures were implemented, some of the main tools would be removed.

      Anyway, I’m looking for Deal to lay out his ethics proposals. Oh yeah.

      • ACCmoderate says:

        Barnes knows they won’t reach the governor’s desk, but he knows that they’re popular with the voters.

        Take charge on ethics and make it look like the General Assembly’s fault that nothing is getting done… that’s the game plan. It might work.

  2. Progressive Dem says:

    These are a good starting point, and a great campaign tactic. Forcing a discussion on ethics is smart.

  3. MSBassSinger says:

    1 – Anyone seriously believe Barnes would sign a bill that does this? When I think “Barnes”, I don’t think “ethics”.

    2 – Weren’t we promised high ethical standards in 2008 by the Dems in Congress and White House? How’s that Democrat ethics plan (aka “vaporware”) working for you?

  4. Make Your Reservation for the Roy Barnes Lecture Series: How To Make $19,000,000 MILLION DOLLARS In 4 Years Off of TAXPAYERS!!!

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fchronicle.augusta.com%2Fnews%2Fgovernment%2Felections%2F2010-09-09%2Ffirm-linked-barnes-did-state-business%3Fv%3D1284009856&h=74f22FfGONnkYQnzHEYZs…pYUmLQ

    $19,000,000 between 2005 and 2009!!! This dude raked in the moolah from Georgia taxpayers… Guess the hurt dog yells the loudest!!!

    King Roy will show you how to start your own engineering company and scam as much taxpayer money as possible!!! You’ll get rich beyond your wildest dreams!!!

    • ACCmoderate says:

      Scam taxpayer money? Are you saying that the government shouldn’t contract out services to private companies?

      I hope that you realize that you’re making an argument for more government programs and increased government spending. Try not to let your head explode.

    • geoffc says:

      I don’t support Roy Barnes but this kind of comment just makes me laugh. He didn’t make 19M, a firm he owned 25% of was awarded 19M in contracts over a four year period (that’s sales not profit). The firm provided a service and they were compensated. I hope the projects were profitable for the firm and that Roy saw some return on the risk he was taking by owning part of a small business. Sounds like once Roy decided to run he sold his interest in the firm. Now, if you know of something showing that Roy used his political influence in the state to get 19M in contracts awarded to his company inappropriately I want to hear about it.

  5. Rick Day says:

    Want to seriously eliminate ethics problems at the state (and while we are at it, federal) level? Term limits for state elected office. You get 5. Say, 2 as something Insurance commish, then 3 as gov, or 3 as house member and 2 as senator.

    Five and out. Enough time to get things done. Not enough time to invest in as a tool. I bet this drops the price of campaigning.

    Think about it; for a state office, you have to spend a millionaires income just to get elected. Under the current system, it is all about the money. That is considered seed or investment funds, intended to pay dividends down the road.

    This shat must cease. Term limits. Kills Bad Ethics Dead.™

  6. Dave Bearse says:

    I’d like to see the period former state legislators are prohibited from lobbying state government or representation to at least two years after they leave office. I don’t know what if any period applies to senior state officials lobbying the state after the conclusion of officialdom, but it should be at least two years too.

    There should be a minimum threshold below which the blind trust doesn’t apply. The fixed cost element of the fees associated with establishing and maintaining the trust penalizes the less wealthy.
    There’s not much at risk associated with a net worth of only a couple hundred thousand dollars outside of home equity, 401(k) etc, or say a half million or million including the latter.

    I’d like to see legislators bear some minimal responsibility with respect to reporting of gifts of some threshold value though I can’t articulate anything in particular (instead of our system that relies wholly on good-faith reporting by lobbyist.)

  7. AlanR says:

    I think some of these suggestions are a little punitive and over the top.

    There is one practical matter illustrated by Oxendine. There should be a provision for elected officials to disclose all gifts of over $50 (or some other reasonable amount). Lobbyists aren’t the only people trying to gain influence. The doctor who took Oxendine to the Oscars is a good example of a situation that stinks but is not touched by the state ethics law.

  8. Georgia Judge says:

    Chris,
    Your credibilty shrinks post by post,its laughable to think of Roy as a spokesman for ethics .Its all about jobs and the economy in this cycle and Barnes is an empty suit on these subjects. So he takes to his typical do as I say not as I did and will do if given another opportunity babble.

  9. bowersville says:

    What a conundrum.

    Roy Barnes issues a release of his sweeping ethics proposal and the best counter that can be come up with is:

    Punitive and over the top,

    Roy’s lecture tour to make $19MM(wealth envy? I thought that was a liberal talking point),

    And the one that takes the cake, the chances of a bill reaching Barnes’ desk with these changes is nil and even if it did, he wouldn’t sign it.

    Well beat me up with a wet noodle. Ya’ll can’t be serious can you? A Republican controlled House and Senate and Barnes is going to out propose ya’ll on ethics?

    Rejoice in that it is a Republican year.

    • “And the one that takes the cake, the chances of a bill reaching Barnes’ desk with these changes is nil and even if it did, he wouldn’t sign it.

      Well beat me up with a wet noodle. Ya’ll can’t be serious can you? A Republican controlled House and Senate and Barnes is going to out propose ya’ll on ethics?”

      😀

  10. fishtail says:

    So when does Nathan Deal release his Ethics package?….I would say about the time hell freezes over. By criticizing Barnes for having an investment in a business that was disclosed in Barnes’ FULL DISCLOSURE tax returns, Deal only highlights his own hypocrisy by not doing himself what Barnes has done on disclosure. Nathan is hiding something.

  11. Andre says:

    I think Barnes’ plan to extend the provisions of Georgia’s open records law to the General Assembly is a good proposal.

    What I don’t understand, though, is why then-state Representative Roy Barnes did not co-sponsor Mitchell Kaye’s House Bill 1105 to do just that back in 1996?

    House Bill 1105 made the state legislature subject to the open records act, but the legislation never made it out of committee; and it only had one sponsor — the bill’s author.

    • fishtail says:

      Andre…what’s got you bummed out on Barnes? Did the Barnes campaign reject your “consulting proposal” that would have funnelled cash to you?

      • Andre says:

        fishtail,

        I applaud you on your less than innovative method of avoiding the question posed in my original comment on Barnes’ ethics proposals.

        • AlanR says:

          Andre has had several battles with elected officials concerning open records. We followed one of them here a couple years ago.

          I think he knows one when he sees it.

  12. peachstealth says:

    Roy Barns was governor in 2002 when the legislative and congressional districts were reapportioned.
    This is what we got when Roy and the Democrats cut up absurdy gerrymandered districts as they tried to hold onto their waning power.

    http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2002acolor.pdf

    Pay special attention to the 8th, 11th and 13th districts.
    they remind me of the way snakes twist around each other when they mate.

    Notice the little incursion of the first district into Colquitt County to take then Congressman Chambliss home town of Moultrie out of Sanford Bishop’s 2nd District and put him in Jack Kingston’s 1st District.
    Admittedly, that one backfired, as Chambliss chose to run for the Senate instead.

    It’s time to reapportion again.

    • Romegaguy says:

      You dont have to live in your Congressional District to run for it. Saxby never lived in the district he represented. He lived in Sanford’s district but represented the one now represented by Marshall.

  13. kolt473 says:

    Ethics [email protected] I’ve heard that spam for 25 years, like OBAMUNISM stimulus, it’s a big allege fraud. DOPEO PELOUSY promised it nothing happened KING ROY is still deceiving for very good reason(s) life as an attorney, losing it’s luster, you have alleged ambulance chasers like KEN NUGENT promising huge settlement checks. KING ROY drunk with power, running from OBAMUNISM now, but will give you OBAMUNISM if elected, just watch and see deny KING ROY&DEAL the GOVERNORS MANSION.

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