Tag: Ethics

Consider the GGTCFC(FKASEC)

Are you looking for a career with an organization that will immerse you in controversy, 20th century technological innovation, and the constant scrutiny of the AJC? Do you possess a solid work ethic, a positive attitude, and a valid Georgia driver’s license?

Then this is the job for you.

If you read the Daily this Tuesday, you’re aware that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly the State Ethics Commission) is looking for a new executive director, its fourth in three years. For simplicity’s sake – because if anything’s simple in this state, it’s ethics – I’ll refer to it as the GGTCFC(FKASEC).

Before you fire up WordPerfect to dust off that resume, take a moment to consider two of the primary functions of the GGTCFC(FKASEC): filings and disclosure, and enforcement and compliance with the Campaign Finance Act. To wit: Read more

Ethics review for Lewis COS

Michael Collins, Chief of Staff for Rep. John Lewis, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for over financial disclosures. Jamie Dupree has the details:

Collins was named earlier in the day by the ethics panel, but initial press reports from Capitol Hill had not established what lawmaker he worked for.

The ethics review was confirmed to me late Friday night by Rep. Lewis’ Press Secretary Brenda Jones.

“I spoke with Michael and he said this is regarding his financial disclosures,” Jones said in an email.

“He is cooperating fully with the committee and is taking steps to satisfy its requests.”

It was not immediately apparent how serious the investigation might be.

Jones gave no further information about the details of the review, or why it was red-flagged by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which relays possible cases to the Ethics Committee.

As you probably know, Lewis is being challenged in the Democratic primary in GA-5 by former judge Michael Johnson.

Apparently, Those “No Comments” Were Expensive: Updated

So, it’s nearing the end of spring break/Easter week, and folks with some spare time on their hands are using it to go through disclosures. And, because my friends are generous people, some choose to share their findings with me. And because I’m a generous guy, I’ll share this tidbit with you.

Remember way back when – that time everyone was pretending an ethics report that had been delivered to Congressman Deal didn’t exist? Well, the now re-assigned spokesperson was referring folks who dared to ask of such reports existance to Deal’s attorney. And boy was that expensive.

According to Deal’s March 31 Disclosure, the Deal Campaign racked up over $17,000 in legal fees to the firm of McKenna Long and Aldridge. And I’m sure all those fees were strictly campaign related, because, well, that’s all you can spend campaign money on.

I’m sure it’s just strong coincidence that McKenna submitted the response and Deal’s “Summary Of Facts” to the OCE on January 25th, (starts p 93) and that legal bills from the campaing to McKenna were paid in the amount of $8,377.80 on January 5th, and $8,986.85 on February 1st. It just makes good sense to get $17K of campaing “legal work” done while the same firm is simultaneously working an ethics defense.

I’d call over to the Deal campaign to ask for more details and assurance that the campaign wasn’t spending campaign money on a Congressional Ethics Complaint defense, but I don’t have the heart to get another “No Comment”, nor do I wish to have a campaign that is still spending more money than it is taking in to have to pay an attorney out of campaign funds to answer my questions.

Updated: After checking the report from the previous period ending Dec 31, 2009, it appears that the total paid to McKenna is closer to $40K, with a significant increase in the October – December timeframe, when the ethics complaint was originally filed by CREW. And according to the first commenter, the AP wire has Deal’s spokesperson acknowledging that this is in fact for legal defense relating to his Congressional Ethics complaint. The logic appears to be that this is a “politically motivated witch hunt”, and therefore, using campaign funds to defend an action taken as a US Congressman prior to his announcement that he was running for Governor is kosher.

I’m thinking that strains logic. You guys fight it out. I’m sure someone will be along soon to explain GA code to us soon.

Updated Again: Shannon McAffrey of the AP had this well before I did, and Jim Galloway brings you her report here.

AJC investigation: Report finds Deal violated ethics rules

Cross Posted from AJC.com. By Aaron Gould Sheinin. Continue to check here for updates on this developing story.

Nathan Deal far exceeded congressional limits on outside income and used his U.S. House office and staff to preserve a private stream of money coming from a no-bid state business deal, a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics has found.

The 138-page report, released Monday, is based on reporting from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from August that Deal and a business partner made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the business and that Deal used his congressional office to try and prevent state officials from making significant changes to it.

Read the rest at the AJC. — Erick

Ralston Presents His Ethics Plan

According to Aaron Sheinin at the AJC, Speaker Ralston is presenting his plan now:

Ralston said they’ve already made substantial changes this year, including eliminating the controversial “hawks” system, and letting the media back on the House floor.

“We made the House more transparent, more inclusive,” Ralston said. “I’m very proud of that.”

Ralston said the “best police force to public officials is the public. They are assisted by the media and assisted by others.”

I still firmly believe that the most important issue to come out of this session is substantial ethics reform. These guys have one chance to get it right, and time is growing short.

All of us on the front page at Peach Pundit will have a lot more to say about this as we move toward the close of this session, but today it’s your turn.

What do you want in an ethics package, and how important to you view this topic relative to the other business the General Assembly is considering?

Senate Passes Campaign Finance Bill

The state Senate voted unanimously (50-0) yesterday afternoon to pass SB 70, a bill by Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus) requiring special or expedited reporting of campaign contributions made by those who do business with the state.

The AP reports that Hooks said the bill, inspired by former Illiniois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D), “closes a loophole in Georgia ethics law and creates more accountability for those running for public office.”