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    Deal refunds $130K in excess donations cited in ethics complaint

     

    By JIM WALLS

    Nov. 2, 2010 — Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has refunded $130,000 in campaign contributions that allegedly exceeded the legal limit.

    A campaign finance report filed shortly before midnight Monday shows Deal returned the following contributions cited in an Oct. 19 complaint filed with the State Ethics Commission:

    • $43,900 from businesses associated with Lawrenceville businessman Marvin Hewatt
    • $27,900 from businesses associated with Helena businessman T. Buford Cook
    • $11,900 from businesses associated with Colquitt County farmer John Mobley
    • $10,000 from businesses associated with Savannah businessman Michael Kleinpeter
    • $9,700 from Laurel Baye Healthcare of Mount Pleasant, S.C.
    • $6,400 from businesses associated with Gainesville businessman James A. Walters
    • $6,100 from Westbury Enterprises of Jackson
    • $6,100 from Coca Cola Bottling Co.
    • several smaller amounts, including $1,000 from state Sen. Don Balfour.

    Most of the contributions were returned between Oct. 15 and Oct. 25. They are noted as expenditures in Deal’s campaign disclosure for the period ending Oct. 25, which was due Monday.

    The Deal campaign appeared to have kept contributions from those sources that fell within the legal limit. Other contributions cited in the complaint did not appear to have been returned.

    State law limits contributions to a statewide candidate to $6,100 from a common source. In most  cases, the ethics complaint alleged, businessmen such as Hewatt and Cook got around the limits by donating through different corporations under their control.

     

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    3 Responses to “Deal refunds $130K in excess donations cited in ethics complaint”

    1. Bill Bozarth says:

      Whether voters might consider news like this significant or not is beside the point. It comes too late to matter in the General Election. When the October 25tth deadline for filing has a built-in 5 business day buffer, and the first Tusday is the 2nd, we essentially don’t know anything about contributions or expenditures for the final month of the election until it’s time to vote. With so many races getting party money and independent expenditures from undisclosed donors on top of what the campaigns collect, public office has more of a big “For Sale” sign on it than ever before!

    2. BE says:

      I agree with Bill, and wonder about how to resolve these issues. Among them is whether these refunds are properly considered expenditiures to begin with. As for timely reporting, it seems like the 10/25 deadline needs to be bumped up a week. And then, will the Ethics Commission prosecute the complaint as they should, regardless of the refunds/expenditures? Just accepting the contributions constitutes a breach of the Ethics in Government Act. Would the Commission dare to prosecute a sitting Governor or Governor-elect? Would a Governor/Governor-elect have the ethical wherewithall to pay a fine to set a positive example for all Georgians and poltiicians? Sadly, it seems like Georgians will not get what the information and justice they deserve here.

    3. liveweak says:

      “businessmen such as Hewatt and Cook got around the limits by donating through different corporations under their control.”

      This is clearly illegal in the ethics bill, which says that the limit is for aggregated contributions from subsidiaries, sister corporations, corporations under common executive control, etc..

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