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May 9, 2014 — Nearly $28,000 in political donations appear to be missing from Sen. David Lucas’ campaign account. While the longtime Macon lawmaker says it isn’t so, his latest disclosure shows a negative balance in his Senate campaign account.
Lucas said his campaign had money that wasn’t reflected in his most recent disclosure, but he wasn’t sure how much. “I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t been trying to keep with up with that. All I do is write checks.”
The problem stems from his campaign’s failure to fill out disclosures properly.
Former Rep. David Lucas has kept much of his campaign spending off the radar over the years, moreso perhaps than any other Georgia legislator. Since 2010 his House campaign committee reported spending more than $78,000 — 46 percent of all disbursements — for unspecified purposes. Lucas has also kept some private business interests off the radar, including his wife’s consulting business and his role as an officer in the non-profit Bowden Men’s Golf Association, which has received payments from his campaign and from a political action committee that employs lobbyists at the Capitol. Lucas still hasn’t filed a disclosure for 2012.
Records show NewTown Macon Inc., a non-profit promoting development in downtown Macon, paid Lucas and his company $24,350 — an amount he has declined to disclose — to campaign for passage of a 1 percent local option sales tax in 2010. NewTown also played a role in a small land transaction that netted Lucas a $3,400 profit in 2008.
Paris hadn’t filed her 2013 disclosure of her personal finances, due six weeks earlier, when we talked last week. “I have not done it yet, but it will be done,” she said. “We’ve just been running a race, and it keeps slipping off the radar.”
Her most recent personal disclosure, filed in 2012, omitted her membership on two non-profit boards — the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and NewTown Macon Inc.
Bill Hembree chaired both the Higher Education and Industrial Relations committees in the Georgia House. His interest in insurance issues, though, drew the most interest from campaign donors during his 18 years in that chamber. The owner of a Nationwide Insurance franchise, Hembree collected more than $95,000 in campaign money from the insurance industry from 1998 to 2012, as well as $167,000 more from health care interests, an analysis of campaign disclosures shows. That represents 44 percent of all his reported donations in that span.
In 2012, Hembree took advantage of a loophole in state election law to indirectly transfer $60,000 from his House campaign account to his Senate campaign.
There are discrepancies between Mike Dugan’s December 2012 campaign disclosure, which shows an end balance of $4,400, and his next filing in July 2013, which reports a beginning balance of zero. The earlier report also showed the campaign still owed him $9,750 of a $15,000 loan, while the later filing showed no carried-over debt.
Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), speaker of the House Jan Jones (R-Milton), speaker pro tem Jon G. Burns (R-Newington), majority leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), minority leader HD1 John Deffenbaugh (R-Lookout Mountain) HD2 Steve Tarvin (R-Chickamauga) HD3 Dewayne Hill (R-Ringgold) HD4 Bruce Broadrick (R-Dalton) HD5 John Meadows (R-Calhoun), Rules chair HD6 Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth) […]