blow the whistle
$show the love

Loophole C: Credit card omissions just fine, Deal case shows

November 19, 2015 --

Nov. 19, 2015 — Three years ago, Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign admitted that an American Express payment didn’t add up because it included a top aide’s personal expenses. The aide reimbursed the $1,185, a campaign lawyer said.

But what about the $69,000 in unexplained spending in 158 other credit card payments by Deal’s campaigns? Did they include personal expenses? No one’s saying.

Since 1998, a review of Deal’s disclosures show, virtually every credit card bill paid by his state and federal campaigns has omitted the details of some purchases.

One ‘yes or no’ lifts GA’s ethics ranking to 24th

November 10, 2015 --

Information on Atlanta Unfiltered is free to all — except me. To help me continue following the money in Georgia politics, please use the Donate button on this page. By JIM WALLS Nov. 10, 2015 — Much of Georgia’s remarkable upgrade in ethics rankings – from 50th in the nation in 2012 to 24th today […]

Oxendine campaign “invested” $237K in his law firm

Oxendine campaign "invested" $237K in his law firm
November 9, 2015 --

Nov. 9, 2015 — Former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine took a novel approach to investing his campaign funds, new disclosures show: loaning hundreds of thousands of dollars to his private business — much of it just weeks before Oxendine bought a $965,000 house in north Fulton County.

State law allows campaigns to make investments but forbids candidates from using political donations as personal assets.

Loophole B: 14 lawmakers’ undisclosed business with state

November 6, 2015 --

Nov. 6, 2015 — Georgia’s disclosure laws for legislators who do business with the state, as we reported Wednesday, are a mess. It’s unclear what transactions should be reported and which of two disclosure forms should be used. Digging through data on state vendors, I came up with payments to 14 legislators’ businesses that weren’t reported on one form or the other, sometimes both. The lawyers can sort out whether the law required disclosure. I was more interested in the transparency than the legality of these types of transactions.

Dawson County debates $500K expense for developer’s road

Dawson County debates $500K expense for developer's road
November 5, 2015 --

Nov. 5, 2015 — Dawson County officials will consider tonight whether to write a $500,000 check to partially cover a developer’s costs for road improvements — a proposal that detractors describe as an unwarranted giveaway of taxpayer dollars.

(UPDATE: The commission took no action on the road project Thursday evening after a motion to approve it failed to get a second. More to come.)

Public officials generally justify such expenditures as investments that generate jobs and tax revenue for their communities. Critics, meanwhile, question such outlays as examples of crony capitalism that cast government in the role of deciding which private enterprises will benefit from public funds.

In Dawson County, though, officials are couching the expense, in part, as a legal obligation incurred once the county signed off in July on the site plan for Dawson Marketplace, a 425,000-square-foot planned retail center.

Loophole B: Business disclosure rules baffling, often ignored

Loophole B: Business disclosure rules baffling, often ignored
November 4, 2015 --

Nov. 4, 2015 — Since Rep. James Beverly took office in 2011, his Macon optometry practice has collected more than $132,000 in taxpayer dollars for eye exams and treatment.

A consulting firm whose owners include Sen. John Albers earned $284,000 to help with reorganizing a state agency.

And several state institutions forked over $419,000 over two years to Rep. Jimmy Pruett’s middle Georgia air-conditioning business.

None of those transactions turn up on the three lawmakers’ personal financial disclosures. The reason: Georgia’s disclosure laws are confusing, subject to varying interpretations and routinely ignored.