State legislators say they welcome transparency regarding their personal finances — corporate and real estate holdings, government contracts and the like. But who decides what constitutes transparency and how diligently to check whether they’re truly telling us what we’re entitled to know? They do. Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, transparency is too important to be left to the politicians.
what’s the story here?
Here's the plan... The Internet brims over with opinion. Facts? Not so much. We want to restore the balance. We dig up & share public records on ethics and transparency in public institutions. Tips, documents & feedback are welcome. We also offer tutorials (we know, it's geeky) so you, too, can dig up public records.
register for email updates
Dec. 9, 2014 — A complaint against a political committee supporting Gov. Nathan Deal may be dismissed without investigation tomorrow by the state ethics commission. An attorney for Real PAC, founded by two longtime friends of Deal’s, contends it didn’t have to file financial disclosures for the $970,000 it raised and spent in Georgia, nor did it have to operate independently of the governor’s re-election committee.
A review of campaign filings and other public documents, however, suggests the issue is not so clear-cut.
Jesse Stone is a candidate for both the Senate and a Burke County judgeship — a quandary that’s raised questions as to how open he was with constituents when he qualified for re-election. In early March, Stone qualified for re-election to the Senate and denied reports that he was seeking appointment to a State Court vacancy. Later, just hours after qualifying for the Senate closed, Stone announced he’d decided to seek the judgeship after all. He remained ambivalent about whether he’d accept the judicial post until recently stating, after it became a campaign issue, that he’d withdraw his name from consideration if re-elected to the Legislature. (UPDATE: Stone withdrew his name from consideration for the Burke County State Court judgeship a week after winning re-election.)
Diane Evans owes $500 in late filing fees as of October 2014, according to the state ethics commission’s website. The commission does not routinely notify candidates that they owe late fees.
At first, Ellis Black’s 2014 personal financial disclosure omitted 491 acres of farmland, including his home, that he transferred to a limited partnership two years earlier. He amended the disclosure in October to include the property after we asked about it. He did not, however, include partial ownership of six single-family homes that he transferred from his own name in 2012. A 1998 attorney general’s opinion holds that a candidate must disclose corporate real estate holdings if he has “a legally enforceable right to use the land for his own personal enjoyment or profit.” Black said he saw no need to disclose the homes because they’re not producing income.
The information on Atlanta Unfiltered is free to all — except me. Open records requests, research tools, car expenses, insurance, website maintenance – not to mention my time — all cost me money. Atlanta Unfiltered needs your financial support to continue following the money in Georgia politics. Someone’s gotta do it. Use the Donate button […]
Dec. 11, 2014 – Georgia is regarded as one of the most corrupt states across all branches of government, according to a new survey by Harvard University.
We didn’t rank number one, though. (Thank God for Arizona and Kentucky.)
Respondents said illegal corruption is moderately to very common in Georgia’s executive branch and moderately common in its Legislature, a report from Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics found.
Dec. 4, 2014 – The state ethics commission is preparing to dismiss complaints next week against two high-profile political organizations on the left and the right: Better Georgia Inc. and Real PAC.
Sept. 27, 2013 — Sen. Don Balfour was indicted today, based largely on Atlanta Unfiltered’s February 2012 report on sketchy entries in his expense account, for claiming per diem and mileage that he wasn’t entitled to.
Over at Fox 5, Dale Russell reported Wednesday night on an allegation that politics is behind a push to reopen an ethics investigation of U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel. The state ethics commission settled three complaints against Handel in April with dismissals and her payment of a $75 late filing fee. Now, Russell reports, ethics […]