Oct. 1, 2012 — Sen. Jack Murphy collected $5,000 in May from his legislative expense account for a constituent newsletter that his campaign paid for, state records show. Murphy, who signed a sworn statement that he had paid for the newsletter personally, said the mix-up was inadvertent and that he has repaid his campaign account in full. An ethics watchdog says questions about this and other recently disclosed Senate expense reimbursements underscore a need for more scrutiny. “Senate leadership should come up with a plan to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen,” said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia.
A veteran of 22 legislative sessions, McCall has served all of that time on the House Agriculture Committee, which he now chairs, and on Natural Resources, and all two of those years on the House Transportation Committee. Those memberships have attracted campaign donations from tobacco company Philip Morris, veterinarians, Kraft Foods, the billboard industry and highway contractors.
McCall was one of three House conferees in 2012 who endorsed a last-minute proposal to allow the state ethics commission to seal closed investigative files involving legislators and other politicians. The commission could have barred public access to a file if it found only a technical violation of the law, or none at all, thus denying public oversight of the propriety of those findings. The amendment, attached to an unrelated bill about hunting and fishing licenses, cleared the Senate with barely an hour left in the 2012 legislative session but was defeated 143-25 in the House.