Jim Walls who deserves the lion’s share of credit for putting together much of the public case against Don Balfour is reporting that the GBI has finished their criminal investigation, handing results over to Attorney General Sam Olens.
Attorney General Sam Olens won’t say what the next step might be, if any. Balfour, meanwhile, appears to have retained Andersen, Tate & Carr, a Duluth law firm that is defending former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly against bribery charges.
The GBI had been looking into Balfour’s compensation for legislative service and expenses after he acknowledged “inadvertently” submitting claims for per diem and mileage on days when he was actually out of the state. He agreed to a $5,000 fine last summer to settle a complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee.
The case has cost the Snellville Republican much more, though. Senate leadership is about to replace him as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, and his campaign has paid nearly $80,000 in legal fees since June, including $35,000 to Andersen, Tate & Carr on Dec. 13.
It’s been clear for some time that Balfour would not continue in the powerful position as Rules Committee Chair, though that official annoucement is still forthcoming. Jim Galloway at least found some tangible evidence of this evident truth last week.
Balfour’s future as a Senator is the subject of much speculation, and we’ll leave the speculation at that. It may be worth noting that its easier to negotiate any plea deal before one leaves office than after, if that was a possibility. Barring a surprise, Don Balfour will begin yet another term as a Senator from Gwinnett (R- Bribes as a way of doing business) because he keeps doing the same thing, and they keep reelecting him.