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    Ethics panel drops Deal complaints, settles others for $3,350

     

    By JIM WALLS

    July 23, 2012 — The state ethics commission today dismissed two serious allegations of campaign misconduct by Gov. Nathan Deal and charged him $3,350 to settle dozens of other technical violations in his financial disclosures.

    The actions close the books on five complaints, some pending for more than two years, involving Deal’s public accounting of his personal assets and liabilities and the propriety of more than $320,000 in campaign spending.

    Randy Evans, Deal’s lawyer, also said he will seek attorney’s fees from complainant George Anderson for the cost of defending two other dismissed cases that Evans described as “completely and totally frivolous.” Lawmakers in 2010 authorized the commission to consider assessing such fees, a practice that critics said would intimidate potential complainants.

    In brief, the commission today:

    • Decided Deal was legally entitled to spend about $120,000 raised for a state campaign to defend himself against federal ethics charges stemming from his tenure in Congress.
    • Found that commission rules on non-commercial flights do not address, and therefore most likely do not apply, to the manner in which his campaign paid for use of an aircraft in 2010.
    • Charged Deal $2,650 in fees for 53 technical violations for failing to identify the holder of a credit card used for campaign purchases.
    • Assessed another $600 in fees for discrepancies on personal financial disclosures. Deal filed three such disclosures for 2010, each one reporting assets and debts differently.
    • Tacked on $100 in fees for reporting two small contributions improperly, making it appear that the donors had exceeded limits on campaign contributions.

    Evans made a point of noting that state law defines the charges for technical defects in campaign reports as “administrative fees,” not fines.

    The aircraft allegations had drawn particular public interest because the campaign chose to pay $201,000 to lease aircraft through a company in which he was a partial owner. Other owners of the aircraft included Philip Wilheit, his campaign manager; Jim Walters, a longtime friend and political supporter; and, at one time, chief of staff Chris Riley.

    Commission rules specify the rates at which campaigns should report the value of flights on non-commercial aircraft. But, Evans said, those rules do not work as guidelines for shared aircraft ownership, an increasingly common practice.

    Today’s decision did not address the Deal campaign’s failure to report departure and destination airports for individual flights, information that is required by commission rules. Federal Aviation Administration records show the aircraft made hundreds of flights during Deal’s campaign in 2009 and 2010, often to destinations outside Georgia, but do not identify the passengers.

     

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    8 Responses to “Ethics panel drops Deal complaints, settles others for $3,350”

    1. Stupid Lawyer Tricks says:

      After Randy Evans files a complaint against George Anderson to try to get Anderson to pay for what Evans claims to be “frivolous”, Anderson can file a complaint with the State Bar of Georgia against Randy Evans for being an incompetent lawyer who did not know that, while the law did get amended in the 2010 legislative session, it did not actually go into effect until January 1, 2011 for all complaints filed after January 1, 2011. It does not apply to any complaints filed prior to January 1, 2011.

    2. Jim Walls says:

      Actually, at least one of the complaints in question was filed in 2011. I don’t have the other one handy.

    3. Linda Pittman Advocates for Clean and Open Government says:

      George Anderson is a fraud and needs to be stopped.

      For more information on George Anderson go to: http://www.cleanandopen.org

    4. Michael R. James says:

      As reported by the WSJ a few months ago. As a proud Republican, this is embarrassing and relevant to ALL political parties. It will be a slight on Paulding County, District 19 and the Republican Party, if we send the Incumbent Paulette Rakestraw Braddock, who has been arrested for Insurance Fraud, Assault and currently has an IRS Tax Lien against her as reported by the AJC yesterday. The realy sad thing, in my opinion, is the Paulding County Republican Party, Gov. Deal and Pewt is backing her. Go figure? Paulding County is so much better than this!

      “Georgia has the worst levels of corruption risk and lack of accountability of any state in the country. The state scored a D or worse in 12 of the 14 categories. The state’s biggest problem is the absence of a strong ethics enforcement agency.” Read more: America’s Most Corrupt States – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/2012/03/22/americas-most-corrupt-states

    5. Washingtonorbust says:

      Ethics in Government Group is a nonprofit not working as a nonprofit. George Anderson takes a salary out of it and then pays bills that otherwise would be and should be personal out of it. He has left hundreds of innocent victims of his false ethics complaints in his wake. He sells his services to political opponents of those he files complaints against and there are rumors of his indiscretions with some guys that help him with his complaints all over North Georgia. My point is that he is not what he claims to be nor is his company. He has managed to stay out of jail by creating pressure on people. In his harassment complaint brought against him in my county by another “man” he begged the judge not to have him incarcerated. He will have to close his business and spend time behind bars one day. In the mean time he is given a pass by the press for the most part. If a reporter would actually look into it they would see that yes he has brought hundreds of complaints against elected officials but there were hundreds of them that were innocent victims of his unethical complaints. They were later cleared, usually after the damage was done. Pretty sick and easy to confirm.

    6. Advocates for Clean and Open Government says:

      If you go to our website at : http://www.cleanandopen.org

      You can see Governor Deal picked Lamar Paris the SOLE Commissioner of Union County to be on the Georgia Defender Standards Council.

      Just how is Governor Deal coming up with the people he backs? looks like Governor Deal is getting a track record of picking people that are dishonest and that is a sad thing.

      Another problem this state has lies within the Attorney Generals Office. Sam Olens has not followed through on his campaign promises of going after counties that violate Open Records Request.

      The state does not want transparency and until we can get it we will always be last in the country for corruption.

      All it takes for Evil to flourish is for men and women of good conscience to remain silent!

    7. j. Lee Watts, M.D. says:

      I’ve read this article and am appalled at the lack of scrutiny of the state officials and what I feel concerned about is that all this is just
      political twisting of ethics. Our governor and senior legislators have been accused of many ethics violations, but the ethics committee or panel cleaned out by this administration and appointments made by this administration represent merely “foxes guarding the hen house.”
      I refer to the recent articles in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that suggest ethics of the lowest denominator. How sad for our great state that we should be so embarrassed.

      J. L. Watts, M.D.
      (a former law student of Professor Randy Evans)

    8. iş hukuku says:

      I’ve read this article and am appalled at the lack of scrutiny of the state officials and what I feel concerned about is that all this is just
      political twisting of ethics. Our governor and senior legislators have been accused of many ethics violations, but the ethics committee or panel cleaned out by this administration and appointments made by this administration represent merely “foxes guarding the hen house.”
      I refer to the recent articles in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that suggest ethics of the lowest denominator. How sad for our great state that we should be so embarrassed.

      J. L. Watts, M.D.
      (a former law student of Professor Randy Evans)

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