register for email updates
Ex-House speaker pays $3,758 tax bill with campaign funds
Former Georgia House Speaker Terry Coleman used $3,758 in left-over campaign funds this year to pay a property tax bill in Henry County.
Coleman’s latest campaign disclosure, filed Friday evening, shows he made the payment May 14. Land and tax records do not identify Coleman as a property owner in Henry, so it is unclear whose taxes he paid.
State law forbids using campaign money for personal benefit. Taxes are generally regarded as a personal expense.
The State Ethics Commission enforces laws on campaign spending, in response to either a citizen complaint or its own investigation.
Coleman served one term as speaker in 2003-04, then lost his leadership position after Republicans took control of the House in the 2004 election. He served one more term in the House, did not seek re-election in 2006 and went to work for Tommy Irvin as deputy agriculture commissioner.
His House campaign account last week reported a little more than $6,000 in the bank.
Coleman was the target of an ethics complaint in 2002 for spending $38,000 in campaign funds to make mortgage payments on a downtown condominium purchased by Nameloc Corp., a company he controls. Nameloc reimbursed the campaign later that year, shortly before Coleman sought and won the speaker’s job.