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    Hudgens’ campaign returns $106K improperly shifted from Senate race

     

    Ralph Hudgens‘ bid for Georgia insurance commissioner has returned $106,600 in contributions that were transferred improperly last year from his state Senate campaign fund.

    The State Ethics Commission has been investigating the transaction since January. Hudgens said today he has signed a compliance order that assesses no financial penalty.

    “No fines, no anything,” he said.

    State law prohibits a candidate from transferring contributions directly between campaign accounts for different offices. Hudgens said a commission staffer had told him the transfer would be legal and that the order says “something to the effect that I was relying on wrong information.”

    State law allows a candidate to refund money given to one campaign and ask the donors to contribute to his or her candidacy for another office. Checks were mailed out to the Senate donors about a month ago, Hudgens said, and roughly half of them have endorsed the checks and sent them back to his campaign for insurance commissioner.

    “I feel very confident, eventually, that we will get it all back,” he said. Hudgens, a 14-year state legislator representing the Athens area, had said previously that he did not plan to return the money.

    The ethics commission was scheduled to consider approval of the consent order last week at a meeting that was canceled because of an unrelated matter.

    Today, Hudgens filed amended campaign reports that show he received $106,600 less in contributions for the last half of 2009 than he reported in January. He said he expects next week to disclose campaign donations and spending for the second quarter of 2010.

    Hudgens is one of nine Republicans running for insurance commissioner. A Democrat and a Libertarian have also qualified for the post on the November ballot.

    UPDATE: Maria Sheffield, another Republican running for insurance commissioner, today attacked Hudgens for his handling of the improper transfer.

    Kathryn Ballou, Sheffield’s campaign manager, said in a prepared statement:

    Ralph Hudgens improperly shifts $106 THOUSAND campaign dollars from one account to another to create a false impression of financial support and his punishment is to sign a sheet of paper ‘agreeing’ not to violate campaign finance laws in the future.

    In other words, Ralph Hudgens wants a career, political insider mulligan – a do-over. This makes a mockery of the rule of law and the concept of honest government.

    Ballou said Hudgens’ return of the money to his Senate campaign money was not enough:

    How about you let go of this scandal-plagued, special-interest money and start focusing on the issues in the campaign? … Ralph Hudgens needs to expand his statement to include an apology and a promise to forgo trying to apply pressure on those donors to give him that money back.

     

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    4 Responses to “Hudgens’ campaign returns $106K improperly shifted from Senate race”

    1. Former Legal Secretary Now Retired says:

      14 years in the Legislature but yet he didn’t know what was done was illegal? I guess that is as good an excuse as any to CYA if you can. What a scum bag.

    2. Concerned Citizen says:

      Political campaigns are well versed on how to move money to/from various accounts. This transfer happend for a reason – not because they did not know the rules. In addition, why has it taken so long to remedy this situation. Several other candidates have been hurt by the false impression that RAlph had a hug fundraising advantage.

    3. Former Legal Secretary Now Retired says:

      Transfer was made probably because he was hiding something in the account he transferred it from and was afraid it would be exposed. And since when can you just endorse a check and send it back when it is very obvious what is going on. Wouldn’t you deposit it and write another check out of your own account? This guy reeks of scum.

    4. Need Integrity says:

      WE the People need our own ethics commission to hold our elected officials accountable. The elected officials live by a different law and do not fear breaking any law because there’s no punishment and/or consequences.

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