The AJC’s Aaron Shenin was dutifully kept away from the room by three state patrolmen where the Senate Ethics Committee met earlier today. He did manage to wait from the 11am start time until a few minutes ago, when Ethics Committee Chairman Crosby read a statement indicating that there was cause to move forward with the ethics complaints against Don Balfour. Hopefully someone brought him lunch while he was keeping the world informed via twitter.
“Substantial Cause” exists according to the committee’s findings, and they will now proceed towards a settlement with Balfour:
In its statement, the committee says, “Any settlement will be a matter of public record and will be filed with the Secretary of the Senate. If no settlement is reached, the Committee will hold public meetings on the issue.”
Under Senate rules, the public meetings would be akin to a trial with Balfour allowed to present a defense. Senate rules give no guidance on what a negotiated settlement might involve.
We’ll call this progress. While nothing to celebrate, at least the process finally appears to be working.