Well, most likely not you. Just the folks that would see the value of investing “$2,500, $1,000, $500 or $250” in the Rules Chairman of the Georgia Senate. Balfour’s fundraising appeal makes it very clear that he is the Rules Chairman, as it the entirety of the plea’s second sentence. And the email, included below, makes it clear that the amounts are “investment levels”.
This is precisely why the Committee On Assignments, led by Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams and Majority Leader Chip Rogers must call a meeting of the COA now, to address the issue of Balfour as Rules Chairman.
Balfour’s June 30th Disclosure shows he has attracted over $1.1 Million in total investments, with over $795K cash on hand. He faces token Democratic opposition after handily defeating two Republican challengers in the July 31 primary. These investments help provide Balfour a nice 6 figure benefits package to aid his $17,000 salary for his “public service”.
Balfour was just issued an unprecedented fine from his peers for filing false expense reports, as well as refusing to form an audit sub-committee that would have reviewed his records as required by Georgia law. Despite being made aware of this lapse quite publicly by the AJC in 2010 and again throughout the 2012 session of the General Assembly, Balfour’s letter to fellow Senators claimed ignorance of the law. His attorney says the matter is settled.
Two other Georgia Senators have been tried for similar crimes. Roscoe Dean’s trial ended in a hung jury, but he still lost Chairmanship of the Rules Committee in the process. Ralph David Abernathy III served jail time. Balfour was tapped on the wrist for 5% of what he draws in compensation for his public service, and is using his position as Rules Chair to request “investments” the very next week.
Senators, each of you who remain silent on this issue are guilty by association and your inaction. It is time each Senator be asked to go on record as to whether they support Balfour continuing with his tainted Chairmanship. This is no time for ambiguity.
Balfour’s email follows, with emphasis added:
From: Ariail Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 14:54:29 -0400
Subject: I need your help to win!
For the past consecutive 20 years, I have been privileged to serve the state of Georgia in the State Senate. I am chairman of the Rules Committee. Since being elected by the people of the ninth district, I have had the tremendous opportunity and responsibility to initiate, push for, and take action on many of the important issues that affect all of the citizens of this great state. I have been honored to meet with so many outstanding Georgians and listen to their concerns and suggestions. My pledge is to continue to advance the priorities of our citizens for the betterment of all.
This year I have an opponent in the general election, and I need your financial help to win my race so that I can continue to work for the people. Please join me in my re-election campaign at one of the investment levels: $2,500, $1,000, $500 or $250. Any amount that you can pledge will bring me one step closer to success.
Along with a wonderful staff, I am here to serve. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. If you would like to get further involved in my campaign efforts, please visit my website at www.donbalfour.com or contact Ariail Smith at 770.435.5586.
Senator Don Balfour