Editors’ Note: The following was received from State Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, in response to a post by front pager Jessica Szilagyi. Lindsey is one of several candidates seeking the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 11th Congressional District.
State Rep. Ed Lindsey- “Barry Needs to Keep His Hands out of Taxpayers’ Pockets”
Barry Loudermilk and his supporters are upset that the press, ethics advocates, and opponents are looking into his $10,000 sweet heart deal with the Georgia Department of Education (“GDOE”) to produce a video highlighting – Barry Loudermilk. Instead, he should be apologizing for taxpayers for fleecing them for his own personal purposes.
As a member of the House leadership for the past three terms, a member of the Education Appropriations Committee, and a former Chair of that committee, Ed Lindsey has had to work diligently to find necessary education funding to cover the bare necessities for Georgia’s public school children during the toughest economic times since the great Depression. The idea that $10,000 was misappropriated by a state senator from the education budget is appalling.
In addition, Georgia law rightly prohibits state legislators from doing any business with the state valued at more than $9,000 unless it is through a competitive bidding process. (OCGA 45-10-24). The law also requires law makers to report their state business transactions on their business transaction reports. (OCGA 45-10-26).
Did Barry follow either the spirit or letter of these ethics laws? Let’s take a look. Based on press reports, state records, and Barry’s own admissions, we know the following:
1. According to Barry, he, GDOE, and GPB entered into an agreement in 2012 for GDOE to pay $10,000 to create a video featuring Barry.
2. According to state records, the $10,000 projected cost of the video was prepared by Barry.
3. According to state records, the project was not the result of a competitive bidding process.
4. According to state records, GPB and GDOE agreed to the project with the understanding that the video would be the property of GDOE.
5. After producing the video, however, Barry took ownership of the video through a non-profit organization that sells Barry’s books and DVD’s. He claims he did so by agreement with GPB but there is no record of this agreement in the state records and, as shown above, GPB expressly agreed that the video would belong exclusively to GDOE. Furthermore, unfortunately for Barry, he has trouble here no matter which scenario is true:
a. If the state records are correct, then Barry has misappropriated a $10,000 state asset.
b. If Barry is telling the truth and he received ownership of the video with the state’s permission, then Barry is in violation of state law banning legislator contracts with the state valued at more than $9,000 without a competitive bid.
6. Furthermore, despite taking ownership of a $10,000 video paid for by state taxpayers, Barry never reported the transaction on his business transaction report to the state ethics commission as required by law.
7. While Barry has stated that he has never profited on this video, he fails to acknowledge that it is featured as a promotional item on the home page of a web site devoted to selling his books and other DVD’s. The video was also featured in a recent campaign contribution solicitation by Barry in which potential donors were asked to watch the video and then contribute to Barry’s campaign.
In conclusion, Barry’s whining cannot mask the fact that he has been caught with his hand in Georgia taxpayers’ pockets which is just plain wrong. The people of Georgia deserve better.