Senator John Crosby (R-Tifton), Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, has notified members there will be a meeting of the committee at 1pm on the 2nd of May in room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.
While no agenda was provided, we do know that the committee has before them a complaint against Senator Don Balfour (R-I’m Bulletproof). Balfour has returned $800 to the taxpayers of the tens of thousands he has billed taxpayers for over 120 Committee of One” days where he drew per diem and mileage reimbursements on days when the Senate was not in session. His reimbursement requests do not include the stated reason or description of business conducted as required by reimbursement rules –as noted by Jim Walls of Atlanta Unfiltered.
Since 2003, Balfour’s campaign has reimbursed him for $17,030 of expenses without disclosing the end recipient of the money and, frequently, without listing the nature of the expense. State law requires disclosure of those details so regulators and the public can assess whether the expenditures were legitimate.
Don Balfour is clearly annoyed with the questions being asked of him by the press and the public. He wants to be able to say he’s paid some money back and that should be the end of it.
The questions for the members of the ethics committee is this: Are you willing to allow Balfour to paper over this with a token reimbursement, made only after there was a call for him to be removed as Rules Chairman? Or are you going to finally penalize Don Balfour for his routine practice of willfully ignoring Georgia law with respect to his reimbursements that appears to have continued even after Wall’s initial press reports made his practices public?
Each of you will be standing for re-election this year. The Don Balfour problem is now your problem, and the evidence is clear. Please choose your remedy carefully.