Feds Offer Invesigative Help in Deal Ethics Case

June 17, 2011 16:34 pm

by Todd Rehm · 20 comments

Jim Galloway shares with us today a memo from Stacey Kalberman, exiting Executive Director of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, to the members of that Commission.

The big news contained in the memo is that “the FBI has offered at no cost the use of their forensic accountant to assist us” in the Commission’s ongoing investigation of a complaint against Governor Deal. Does this signal federal interest in Georgia politics or a widening scope of inquiry?

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer opined this morning that the departures of Kalberman and deputy Sherilyn Streicker:

put a new spotlight on already troubling questions about whether the state really has any effective oversight of political ethics at all.

But the real issue here is bigger than pay cuts or the elimination of a couple of executive jobs: It’s the question of whether Georgia’s highly touted new ethics laws can be viewed as anything other than a cynical political sham if there is no official will to enforce them.

Perhaps the General Assembly’s first order of business next year — even before the politically weighted and ethically dubious quest for tax “reform” — should be to reconstitute, and adequately fund, a real state ethics commission with legal expertise and investigative power and teeth. (Another suggestion: Call it an “ethics commission.”)

A state government sincerely committed to the proposition that it has nothing to hide owes its citizens nothing less.

Discuss.

CobbGOPer June 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Funny how one-party rule tends to produce situations like this. It was bad when the Democrats did it; we’re no different.

CobbGOPer June 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I’d also like to point out that it appears there is as much corruption in the state as Karen Handel said there was during her campaign. So again, thanks Deal supporters. You brought this on us all.

Chris Huttman June 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Maybe Karen shouldn’t have run the Cathy Cox campaign in the primary dominated by old white males. It didn’t even work in the Democratic primary, may I remind you.

SOGTP June 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

This is getting a little out of hand isn’t it?

Taylor Bryant June 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Reap what you sow. On a side note, happy birthday to John Monds!

KD_fiscal conservative June 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Dealing with the Feds = “politically charged” just like the bipartisan House ethics committee

lukethedrifter June 18, 2011 at 8:34 am

No one should question Randy Evans’ credentials as a respected and experienced attorney representing clients on ethics and election laws. He clearly explains in the following AJC article that he has “never had a client subpoenaed” and that as Governor Deal’s attorney is willing to answer any questions the ethics panel has.

No one should argue the fact that most ethics complaints in this state are frivilous and come from gadflies like George Anderson or disgruntled wackadoos (purporting to be a “Tea Party Leader”) still upset that their chosen primary candidate lost “her” election.

No one should be surprised that Obama’s Department of Justice/FBI would just happened to offer help in investigating a Republican Red State Governor.

Governor Deal has done an exceptional job in such a short time. If you ask anybody that serves in the General Assembly, state government or meets with him concerning an issue, he actually listens to their ideas and treats them with respect and dignity even if he disagrees. This has been a welcomed and dramatic departure from past Georgia governors of both parties that ruled like old fashioned kingpins building ever increasing lists of enemies.

From AJC story on Stacey Kalberman’s departure:

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/with-ethic-chiefs-exit-979705.html

“Randy Evans, an attorney for the Deal campaign, said he stands ready to answer any questions the commission has and said subpoenas are not necessary.

“I’ve never had a client subpoenaed” by the commission, said Evans, a veteran ethics and election law attorney.

The commission’s procedure, he said, is to request information from the subject of an investigation and only resort to subpoenas if necessary.”

KD_fiscal conservative June 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

See, what did I tell you….as usual the Deal. Real. apologists just blame it on the Feds. Deal never did anything wrong. Ever.

CobbGOPer June 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm

The running theme seems to be “they’re all out to get him.” Deal is never at fault, it’s just a witch-hunt by everyone who doesn’t like him.

They all conveniently forget the fact that if he hadn’t resigned from Congress to run for Governor, the House Ethics Committee was ready to bring him up on ethics violations. Leaving Washington killed that move.

Since he can’t resign from the Governor’s office to make these new ethics charges go away, he does what he does best: backroom maneuvers, resulting in getting those at the state commission who might be interested in investigating him to resign and go away. Too many coincidences, going all the way back to his campaign. Remember when we had to get ten amended versions of his tax returns, because they kept leaving off information (in an effort to hide as much as possible the financial trouble he was in until he could squeak through the primary)?

SOGTP June 20, 2011 at 7:16 am

@Luke. I did not know you worked for Deal in Washington DC. Nathan Deal has much to atone for with the unprincipled way he legislated while in Washington DC. He was my Congressman for years. Nathan Deal did more to destroy the liberties, life, and property of the citizens of Georgia than most. Nathan Deal participated in the largest growth of government in human history prior to the current nuts.

Nathan has the following to atone for;

1. Destruction of the economy and housing bubble 2008 with his votes for CRA. His current real estate problem is just reward for participating in the destruction of millions of Americans savings and retirement.
2. Voting for every bill that federalized and destroyed our schools, including No Child Left Behind. Yet he has the temerity to stand on stage at the GPB debates on Jekyll Island and tell the audience that he is for local control of our schools.
3. Voted YES for the Patriot Act and Homeland Security, which is a $58B per year bureaucracy with >200,000 employees. This includes the miscreants at the TSA.
4. Vote YES for the Medicare Prescription Drug Act with is a $17T unfunded mandate. Where are we going to get that money? We’ll tax his grandchildren.
5. Voted YES for authorization on war in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of a Congressional Declaration of War. A Declaration would have demanded we left once the Taliban fell and we destroyed Sadaam Hussein’s armored forces. Instead thousands of young Americans are dead, maimed and crippled. Nathan has culpability in this slaughter. Has he attended one funeral of a young soldier killed from Georgia?

If Nathan Deal decides he wants to govern like a statesman and he uses his abilities to keep the federal government out of this state, my county, and my home he will get my support. If he reverts back to unprincipled governing, we will cooperate to send him back home a failed Governor.

The key litmus test are these ethics problems. A true American and Conservative would not have these ethics issues, because he would not put himself in a position to be on the receiving end of this.

benevolus June 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

You’re spinning.
“Obama’s Department of Justice/FBI would just happened to offer help”. She might have asked for their help. More likely actually.

Anyway, “ethically dubious quest for tax “reform””. Heh! That’s pretty funny.

saltycracker June 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm

For or ag’in…..the good news:
Georgia Governors have term limits.
We should also follow Florida’s example….8 years for legislators

CobbGOPer June 19, 2011 at 8:33 am

I completely concur on legislative term limits. We need them here at the state level, and we need them in Washington.

debbie0040 June 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

Luke, you really don’t get it, do you? The primary is over and Nathan Deal won. I really want him to do well. Are former Handel and other candidate supporters just supposed to shut up and not criticize Gov. Deal when he appears to act un-ethical? I have seen people that were former county campaign chairs for Deal and other Deal supporters criticize him. You are using the old Clinton trick that if you can not discredit the message, then try to marginalize the messenger. I have been vocal in criticism of Gov. Deal, but I have also been vocal in praising him . I am simply a front person speaking out for all those tea party organizers that are behind the scenes complaining about some of the things that go on under the Gold Dome. If I were to drop off of the face of the earth tomorrow, I would not missed. There would be many more to take my place that are much more vocal and outspoken than I am.

I think the real problem is that when Gov. Deal was a Congressman, he was one of 435 Congressmen. The attention was not focused in on him. Now that he is Governor, all the attention is focused in on him and he needs to understand that. He is expected to behave in an ethical manner and when he doesn’t, he will be criticized. Get used to it..

The attitude of Deal lackeys like yourself is one of arrogance and in some cases bullying. You have the attitude of absolutes. IE: either you are with us all the way or you are against us. You do not serve your boss well and if the Deal administration continues on the same path, he will have Primary opposition.

As for the Ethics Commission, the compostion of the board is a joke. ” “The Commission is comprised of five appointed members. The Governor appoints three members, not more than two of whom shall be from the… same political party, two for terms of three years and one for a term of two years; one member shall be appointed by the Senate Committee on Assignments for a term of four years; and one member shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives for a term of four years.”

That is like letting a rooster guard the hen house. The appointment process needs to change . From what I have seen, I don’t believe the Deal campaign violated the laws, but think the investigations should be referred to an independent investigation entity. The FBI has already agreed to assist, so why not turn it over to the U.S Attorney ? When they clear Gov. Deal of wrong doing the case will be settled in the minds of voters once and for all. They will have confidence in the outcome, instead of the lack of confidence they would have now in the Ethics Commission investigating it.

lukethedrifter June 21, 2011 at 8:57 am

debbie0040 said: “If I were to drop off of the face of the earth tomorrow, I would not missed.”

As the young folk say, “True that!”

debbie0040 June 19, 2011 at 10:18 am

Luke, you are not in D.C. anymore and the same talking points you got away with up there, ain’t going to work in Georgia. Randy Evans is an excellent attorney and could handle any Justice Department, even one headed by Obama’s appointee. You also forgot about the fact that there are many employees of the Justice Department that were hired during the eights years of President Bush. Are you trying to paint the entire Department of Justice with a tainted brush?

If there is truly nothing to hide, (which I don’t believe there is), then the investigation should be turned over to them so they can truly exonerate Gov. Deal of wrong doing.

Gov. Deal may listen to Legislator’s concerns, which is good.

You say you don’t have an enemies list, but once someone publicly disagrees with or criticizes Gov. Deal, you consider them your enemy. Doesn’t matter if they also praise him at times. How many legislators were afraid to publicly oppose Gov. Deal on his choice for GA GOP Chairman?

lukethedrifter June 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

I support the Governor and did so the entire race. I did work in DC as a staffer for a Georgia Congressman, but not for Governor Deal. If you knew him, his family, and his staff the way I was fortunate enough to get to know them starting in 1994, you would understand why we defend him from crackpots like you.

If you don’t like the ethics system, use your plentiful supply of venom and go after a change in the process. You are not fooling anyone with your statements of support for Deal. You only add to the cacophony of accusations that are meant to wear the elected official out over time. Just as George W. Bush and his family were demonized for eight years, you and the other sore losers on this page are trying to do the same to Nathan.

You also purport respect for Randy Evans, but you glaze over his point that as an experienced lawyer in election laws, subpoenas are highly unusual and he has never had a client subpoenaed. He has stated previously that he is ready at any time to answer questions about these accusations.

analogkid June 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

Looking for free upgrades on Delta flights? Have I got a Deal for you:

http://www.ajc.com/news/deal-gets-perk-delta-981096.html

Three Jack June 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

i really love the part where deal mouthpiece brian robinson says of the $8000 gift to the governor, it is a “contribution to the state of Georgia.”

that being the case, will the governor give out his medallion number so we all benefit?

analogkid June 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm

That would be nice. As I’ve said before, I either want less corruption or more opportunities to participate.

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