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.
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July 16, 2014 — Alisha Morgan has made no secret of her support for charter schools or her affiliation with the pro-charter Black Alliance for Educational Options, noting it in several online biographies. But when filed her personal financial disclosures with the state ethics commission in 2012, she neglected to mention that the alliance had been paying her.
Morgan served on the alliance’s board in 2010 and 2011 before taking a salaried position there to recruit and train other activists for charter schools and school choice. A campaign spokesman said Morgan would review her past disclosures, which did not list either position at the alliance, and amend them “if necessary.”
July 16, 2014 — Wilson’s Democratic opponent for state school superintendent omitted information from personal financial disclosures, but Wilson didn’t file a disclosure at all in 2012. Her 2014 disclosure, due in March, was filed July 13 after Atlanta Unfiltered contacted her campaign to ask where it was. A staffer indicated Wilson had tried to file the 2014 report twice previously but did not respond to telephone messages seeking more information.
As of July 2014, Wilson owed the state ethics commission $250 in late filing fees. Wilson’s campaign manager said she paid $325 in late fees on Wilson’s behalf July 18 when ethics staffers told her that was all that she owed. (The remaining unpaid fees can be found under a different spelling of Wilson’s name.) The commission, for logistical and cost reasons, does not notify candidates when they owe late filing fees.
Buck’s biggest donor so far is International Teacher Training Institute Global (ITTI Global), an organization with offices in Duluth that organized a 2013 cultural exchange with South Korea for Georgia teachers. ITTI also donated $20,000 to Buck’s boss, state School Superintendent John Barge, for his 2014 race for governor.
Woods came close to becoming Georgia’s school superintendent in 2010, losing the Republican primary by just 16,000 votes to eventual winner John Barge. His campaign raised about $28,000 through June 30. He missed the filing deadline for his most recent disclosure, which was due July 16.
May 22, 2014 – Retiring Sen. Cecil Staton will start earning a six-figure state salary next month at the University System of Georgia. Staton resigned his Senate seat today to become a vice chancellor overseeing programs for military veterans, budding entrepreneurs, international students and continuing education. “The idea is to try to bring all those folks under one person to direct them and give some coherence to it,” a University System spokesman said. The five-term senator, who did not seek re-election this year after a close shave in 2012, will start his new job June 1 at an annual salary of $165,000.
May 9, 2014 — Nearly $28,000 in political donations appear to be missing from Sen. David Lucas’ campaign account. While the longtime Macon lawmaker says it isn’t so, his latest disclosure shows a negative balance in his Senate campaign account.
Lucas said his campaign had money that wasn’t reflected in his most recent disclosure, but he wasn’t sure how much. “I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t been trying to keep with up with that. All I do is write checks.”
The problem stems from his campaign’s failure to fill out disclosures properly.
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 […]