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Sen. Charlie Bethel
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Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Charles Jones Bethel (R-Dalton)
District 54 (Whitfield, Murray, Gordon & Pickens counties)
Bethel was one of about a dozen freshmen whose votes were sought in late 2010 by Senate leaders who took control of that chamber from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; the freshmen’s votes may have been decisive. Bethel was an early supporter of Cagle’s bid for governor, but switched to Nathan Deal in 2009 after Cagle backed out of the race.
- Served 2006-10 as a member of the Dalton City Council.
- Elected to an open seat in the Senate in 2010 after winning the Republican primary with 58% of the vote.
- Re-elected in 2012 and 2014 without opposition.
- Appropriations (2015 – )
- Government Oversight (2013 – 2014)
- Insurance and Labor (2011 – present; chair, 2015 – )
- Judiciary (2011 – present)
- Judiciary Non-Civil (2013 – 2014)
- Reapportionment and Redistricting (2011 – present; chair, Oct. 2011 – 2012)
- Retirement (2011 – 2012)
- Special Judiciary (2011 – 2012)
- Director of corporate affairs at carpet manufacturer J&J Industries Inc.
Business ownership interests
- Shareholder, J&J Industries.
- Partner, South Creek Properties LLP (real estate; owns 10 acres valued at $2.14 million at 622 S. Thornton Ave., Dalton)
- Partner, Bethel Holding Co. (family farming; owns 1,175 acres valued at $2.8 million in Whitfield County)
- Partner, MXM Properties Inc., real estate venture.
- DBSIF-31 Properties LLC. Bethel still lists this company, which filed papers for voluntary dissolution in 2012, on his disclosure.
- Board member, Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, non-profit.
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Dalton valued at $249,000
- Bank of America Corp.
- Coca-Cola Co.
- Dominion Resources Inc.
- Exxon Mobil Corp.
- General Electric Co.
- Georgia Municipal Electric Authority revenue bond
- IBM Corp.
- Intel Corp.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Proctor & Gamble Co.
- Royal Dutch Shell PLC
- Southern Co.
- bonds issued by development authorities for Atlanta and Bleckley, Coweta, Fulton and Lowndes counties
- numerous investment funds
Business transactions with state government
- None disclosed.
Friends & family
- Bethel’s father, James, is retired CEO of J&J Industries, and his grandfather, Tom Jones, was co-founder of the company. Jones served on the Dalton Board of Education for 28 years.
- James R. Jolly, J&J’s former chairman and CEO, served 2003-11 on the State Board of Regents following his appointment by Gov. Sonny Perdue. J&J, which won Georgia Trend magazine’s Family Business Award in 2009, provided carpets for Nathan Deal’s 2011 inauguration as governor.
Donors have given Bethel’s campaign more than $204,000 since 2010. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 2010: $57,553
- 2011-12: $63,725
- 2013-14: $78,154
- 2015: $4,575
- Reported cash on hand (Feb. 2015): $136,252
- $12,750 Sen. Tommie Williams and other Republican legislators
- $5,000 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $4,000 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
- $3,500 The Doctors Co. (DOCPAC), malpractice insurance
- $3,400 Philip Morris USA & parent company Altria
- $3,000 Georgia Health Care Association, nursing homes
- $3,000 John Deere Co.
- $2,750 AT&T
- $2,750 Georgia Apartment Association
- $2,750 Georgia Pharmacy Association
- $2,750 Troutman Sanders LLP
Candidates may use campaign funds to make political donations, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. The candidate’s committee made these political donations:
- 2011-12: $7,300
- 2013-14: $31,050
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for Bethel valued at more than $3,500 since 2010. The big spenders: Medical Association of Georgia ($624), Georgia Association of Manufacturers ($530), Georgia Power Co. ($299). BFF lobbyist: George Bowen ($505).
- 2010: $94
- 2011: $1,648
- 2012: $886
- 2013: $480
- 2014: $1,442
Committee days & travel expenses
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for committee meetings or other official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:
- 2011: $2,139 (9 days)
- 2012: $0
- 2013: $173 (1 day)
- 2014: $0
Posted Dec. 26, 2011; last updated Feb. 23, 2015