Peach Pundit has received via open records request a letter sent from Holly LaBerge’s attorneys on July 11th, requesting Ms. LaBerge be protected under whistleblower statutes. In the letter, her attorneys address one of the questions addressed in the original post on this topic, saying it was the Attorney General who advised she not turn over the memo in question.
“Our firm has been retained by Holly LaBerge. As the Executive Secretary of the
Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (the
“Commission”), she has become increasingly frustrated over the misrepresentations and
false allegations leveled against her by the various Commission employees which have
garnered widespread media interest. The purpose of this letter is to put you on notice that
Ms. LaBerge has taken steps to make the media aware of the true facts related to the
investigation and resolution of Commission complaints stemming from the 2010
campaign of Governor Nathan Deal (the “Deal Complaints”). She has previously made
these same disclosures to various Commission members and to the Attorney General’s
office. These reports are protected by the Georgia Whistleblower Act, O.C.G.A. § 45-4-1,
and all other applicable laws. We write to ensure that she will not be retaliated against for
making this information available to the public.”
The person who represented the state agency defending against lawsuits that cost taxpayers $3 Million is now claiming that she, also, is a victim. Her attorney states as much in the letter, saying she was prohibited from giving testimony that “likely contributed to the State’s payment” to Kalberman.
You may remember the comments from Governor Deal about whistleblowers that appeared strange shortly after the settlements in these cases were announced. His response indicated that someone charged with enforcing Georgia’s ethics laws shouldn’t then be able to claim they were a victim. They appeared aimed at those whom the state had just settled with. Apparently, there was some foreshadowing of LaBerge’s next move.
Many have been openly asking the question of who at the commission is accountable since the settlements were announced. By seeking whistleblower protection, LaBerge has made it more difficult for the Commission members to make it her. Or, she maybe made it more likely that she too, will receive a “lovely parting gift”.
Now, it appears that the person who oversaw the agency, testified against them in a trial, has positioned herself to travel the same path. It’s going to be interesting seeing if she can effectively convince the court of public opinion that one can simultaneously be on both sides of this.
This remains a damn mess, and it will be a long time before it’s all sorted out. November, however, isn’t as far away as it used to be.