Don Balfour and a Failure of Leadership

September 12, 2012 6:14 am

by Erick · 37 comments

As Nathan noted below, Don Balfour is under a GBI investigation.


Just a couple of points. The Senate had an ethics complaint on Balfour and basically punted. Some of them will, no doubt, say they knew outside authorities would look into it. That’s not true though. Josh McKoon, a Republican from Columbus, requested the Attorney General look into the matter.

McKoon was the only State Senator to take this issue seriously on the Ethics Committee. McKoon opposed the settlement agreement the Senate Ethics Committee came up with — a settlement that was a slap on the wrist of $5,000.00.

Back in the mid-2000’s, the Republicans in Washington had become indisputably corrupt. Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, and more were all implicated in corruption scandals. The GOP failed to hold their own accountable and the voters beat the hell out of them in 2006, deservedly so.

To this day there are Republicans who complain about 2006 and those members of their party who had no problem with the voter smack down. “Oh, did the nation really deserve Nancy Pelosi?” they sarcastically say. As a partisan, obviously I’d prefer someone other than Pelosi. But as an American, if the GOP won’t hold themselves accountable and clean their own house, the voters will do so and have every right to do so.

The same applies here in Georgia. If the Republicans will not govern themselves, the people will govern them. Deservedly so.

What Don Balfour did was inexcusable. What the State Senate Republicans did in response was also inexcusable. Good for Josh McKoon for standing up and saying no.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 6:33 am

Yet the dumb-ass voters in Balfour’s district just let him waltz through a three-way primary with 60+% of the vote. “I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years and I still get re-elected.” One can hear the disdain of, and condescension toward, his constituents dripping from Balfour’s belittling comment.

And since it’s a heavy R district, he’s a shoe-in come November. That is unless the GBI gets their work done in the next several months and ol’ Donnie has other things he is required to do. One can only hope.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

The good people at the GBI have had their budgets cut beyond being able to do what they need to. They are simple at the beck and call of our one party state leaders. Most investigations get forgotten or worse. With one exception if your a low level clerk on the take they may actually put you in jail.

debbie0040 September 12, 2012 at 7:21 am

Excellent analogy Erick. The Senate Ethics Committee and some Senators really thought we would just be happy they threw us a small bone regard to Sen. Balfour’s actions by fining him. The problem was the bone they threw was rotten and full of maggots.

It is clear from the fundraising/investment email Sen. Balfour sent out last month that he is arrogant and believes he is un-touchable. Under the circumstances, the email basically calling campaign contributions “investments” reached a level of arrogance and stupidity that amazes me.

Some responses I have heard from Senate staff is that it is just small amount of money so he should not be charged with a crime. My response, tell that to shoplifters or others that are in jail for stealing under 200.00 worth of goods.

Dave Bearse September 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

The recent Georgia experience is that poor behavior has no formal adverse effect a la Murphy and Rogers/Graves. I predict no additional formal repercussions for Balfour, unless there are criminal charges.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

We all know that nothing will be done.

gopgal September 12, 2012 at 9:28 am

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Members of the Senate Ethics Committee (excluding Josh McKoon) are:
John Crosby, Chairman; George Hooks, Vice Chairman; Gloria S. Butler, Secretary:
John Albers, Buddy Carter, Ronnie Chance, Hardie Davis, Bill Hamrick, Lester Jackson, Bill Jackson, William T. Ligon, Jr. and Jack Murphy

Jackster September 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

So by that measure, shouldn’t we give credit for doing nothing to the CoA? And really, isn’t that the kind of credit they want? Establishment cred?

gopgal September 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the Ethics Committee gave Balfour nothing more than a slap on the wrist. To my mind, they are all complicit and should face some repercussions.

Jackster September 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Gop Gal – That’s exactly my point with Senator Unterman – Here’s where basically her willingness to do nothing publicly has tainted her ability to run on Ethics as an issue in 2014.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 10:17 am

Jack Murphy’s name jumps out at me. Talking about the fox watching over the hen-house! Murphy is in deep doo-doo with his own issues with the FDIC and his “gross negligence and various breaches of fiduciary duty related to a series of loans made from 2005 to 2007. The FDIC seeks damages of “over $70 million.”

I’m sure he’d feel weird smacking Balfour while he has his own federal charges to deal with.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

Oh yeah, Murphy is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Go figure.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

And forsyth county keeps reelecting him.

Chris Huttman September 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

In case anyone missed it, this is from the press release describing what Ralph David Abernathy, III was convicted for back in 1999:

These charges involved submitting false expense reimbursement requests to the Georgia General Assembly, forging documents to substantiate the expenses, and subsequently receiving reimbursement money from the state of Georgia.

Not sure whether or not the forging happened with Balfour, but definitely seems like #1 and #3 did. Hopefully if the GBI investigation turns up evidence on this, Sam Olens will have the balls to put one of his own party members away.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

I would think #2 happened providing he signed the false/illegal expense reports prior to submitting them.

cheapseats September 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

I used to be a big fan of Olens but now that he’s running for Governor, he’s just a party hack.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

But bustin’ Balfour would help his street cred with the electorate.

cheapseats September 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

You may be on it (again) if Olsen thinks there’s more to be gained by backing the bus over Balfour than letting him get a free ride. Still, what would that do to his chances at the GOP cash machine? Whatever he decides, I’m past giving him credit for doing the right thing just ’cause it’s the right thing to do.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I’m not an Olens apologist, but can you eleborate on why you are so down on him?

cheapseats September 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

No time to get into details but, Olens was a smart, effective, policy-wonk who was much more of a moderate in his actions – a true public servant kind of guy who was genuinely interested in making government work for his constituents BEFORE he ran for state office.
Since taking his new office, he’s become a Right-Wing Rhetoric Machine who is more interested in building his bona-fides with the far right base of the Georgia Republicans than anything having to do with improving the lives of Georgians. He broke all sorts of high-jump records getting onto the band-wagon of making sure Georgia gets no benefits from ObamaCare even if Georgians end up paying for it. He’s Deal’s man all the way now but he’ll bolt if he sees a political advantage for himself.
There’s a lot more…I’ve known and followed Sam for a while and was once an admirer but he got the pre-requisite lobotomy of good sense that seems to be the standard practice for rising Republicans. He’s gone from “for the people” to “for the Party” and that’s just disgusting to me.

Calypso September 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thanks for your response.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Check out the AJC Karen Handal story on her book. She shows courage to stand up and tell the truth! And the good ol boys are not concerned with anything or anybody holding them accountable. The gatekeepers are doing their jobs and Georgia people are not prospering but being milked just like a third world dictatorship.

Bob Loblaw September 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Hogwash! THIS “book” is an attempt to curry favor with social conservatives by positioning herself as ‘pro-life” (whatever that means these days) while bashing PP and getting a lick on the Guv and other elected officials. Nothing more.

saltycracker September 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

Balfour must get the unfettered development crowd and masses of people in Gwinnett well supplied with stuff from other taxpayers pockets. Makes the rest of Ga the dumbasses.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

saltycraker: with respect, it seems the system of gatekeepers of the republican party itself is to blame first. Then folks not voting people out is second.
Vote everyone out and encourage term limits.

saltycracker September 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Believe I did blame others before his enabler voters – as he is in office, that would primarily be those fellow legislators who are so deep into their own issues to give him a pass…..
Term limits is high on my list too.

seekingtounderstand September 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

FYI Watch the ethics bone that they throw out next session….. in it will be for the legislature to go full time and raise their pay. As I have heard “we can not make this any better on a part time schedule”.
Worst day in Georgia history…………………when they got air condition at the state capital.
Worst day in California history…………………..when the legislature went to a full year in session.
Talk to anyone from California and they will tell you that was the day California went to hell.

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

They sure could come up with a bunch of horse-$hit laws if they had to find something to fill their days in a year-round session, couldn’t they? Hell, they’d feel obligated to do that to justify their salary!

saltycracker September 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

:) then they dig around in that stuff making it “fair” for their winners

Napoleon September 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Glad to see the leadership of the GAGOP has taken such a strong stand against this corruption, just like they did with Glenn Richardson.

Romegaguy September 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Why didnt you call Balfour a goat fornicator Erick?

Calypso September 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

He didn’t want to embarrass the goat.

saltycracker September 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm


OMG accidentally caught that remark & now beer is sprayed on my i-phone & running out my nose !

Calypso September 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Thanks, but you realize positive comments only serve to goad me on.

akravitz September 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Y’all know that Balfour has a challenger. His name is Scott Drake. You have somebody to vote for. Do it!

The Last Democrat in Georgia September 13, 2012 at 3:44 am

Scott Drake?…A Democrat?…In that heavily-Republican district? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!(falling out of my chair, rolling on the floor and laughing my a** off so hard that I’m about to laugh my innards out of my body and lose consciousness from the ultra-intense hilarity of the suggestion that voters in that district vote for, EWWWW…a Democrat?)


The Democrats couldn’t win that district if they ran Jesus Christ himself as a candidate and the Republicans ran a polygamous crack-smoking, crack-dealing, witchcraft-practicing atheist communist pimp who moonlighted as the devil part of the time and whose first name was Lucifier, whose last name was Beelzebub and whose middle name was Hussein.

Calypso September 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

Close, but the numb-nuts went with Balfour. Perhaps with a better political consultant (and 3/4 of a million dollars), Mr. Beelzebub can knock Donnie out of the primary next cycle (providing he isn’t wearing an orange jumpsuit, picking up trash along the highway at that time).

The Last Democrat in Georgia September 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Balfour wearing the picking up trash alongside of the highway while wearing the orange jumpsuit he so greatly deserves?

….With this bunch of goons in charge, I’ll believe it when I see it.

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