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take the money and run

4th District hopeful Connie Stokes owes herself $70K

4th District hopeful Connie Stokes owes herself $70K

Connie Stokes has been an official candidate for Congress for two days, and she already owes herself almost $70,000. That total includes a $42,700 debt carried over from her 2004 run for Congress, plus obligations to pay her for services as campaign manager and campaign consultant and for yard signs, bumper stickers and travel, according to her campaign’s March financial disclosure.

Rules panel rejects gift limits, moves ethics bill on

Rules panel rejects gift limits, moves ethics bill on

UPDATE: The ethics bill was recommitted just now (12:20 p.m. Wednesday) to the Rules Committee. Not sure what’s up with that. We’ll find out when the committee meets at 1:30 p.m.

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The House Rules Committee today pushed ahead with Speaker David Ralston’s ethics bill after rejecting Democrats’ drive for a $50 cap on gifts from lobbyists. The panel scheduled the bill, tweaked just before the meeting, for debate by the full House on Wednesday. Procedurally, the measure was passed in such a way that it cannot be amended on the House floor.

Ralston campaign’s $137K take nears Richardson’s pre-session total

Ralston campaign's $137K take nears Richardson's pre-session total

State Rep. David Ralston’s campaign raised $137,750 in less than a month after Republicans chose him to be speaker of the House, disclosure reports show. He had less than half the fund-raising time as his predecessor, Glenn Richardson, before his first legislative session as speaker, but Ralston nearly reached Richardson’s total of $149,920. The most generous donors to Ralston: hospitals and the health care industry.

Common Cause: Ethics bill includes junket protection, gadfly intimidation

Common Cause: Ethics bill includes junket protection, gadfly intimidation

Call it the 2010 Georgia Junket Protection Act. Ethics legislation pushed by House Speaker David Ralston would exempt lobbyists from having to disclose what they spend to fly, feed and house lawmakers attending their annual conventions, which often seem to be held in warm, sunny climes near a large body of water. In this way and several others, Common Cause Georgia says, the state’s ethics laws are about to take several giant steps backward.

Insurance attorney takes state’s top ethics job

Insurance attorney takes state's top ethics job

Stacey Kalberman, an attorney specializing in insurance regulatory issues, will become Georgia’s top ethics enforcer next month. Kalberman, 45, will replace Rick Thompson, who stepped down as executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission in October.

Ethics panel rejects Pitts consent order, heads to court

Ethics panel rejects Pitts consent order, heads to court

Robb Pitts and the State Ethics Commission are headed to court to settle an 8-year-old dispute over excessive and unreported campaign loans. The commission Monday rejected a proposed consent order that would have closed the matter with Pitts paying no fine and no restitution. Commission members were told Pitts could still win in court and wind up with no penalty or finding of responsibility. Kent Alexander, a former federal prosecutor, said he’d rather lose in court “than have the commission say an elected official who is an experienced campaigner violates the rules” and gets away with it.

Don’t let Proctor flip ‘rigid digit’ at state, ethics panel urged

Robert Proctor was a state ethics commissioner so briefly that he never got to attend a meeting. Even though he’s gone, commissioners were told today, he should not be forgotten. Proctor resigned for “health reasons” last week after insisting he had never been properly notified of an old ethics fine and therefore did not intend to pay it. In doing so, Proctor is “essentially giving this commission and the citizens of this state the rigid digit,” said Frank Moore, an attorney who has sparred with him in court.

Richardson’s PAC files as tax-exempt, but is it in time?

Richardson's PAC files as tax-exempt, but is it in time?

Glenn Richardson‘s political action committee registered as tax-exempt Tuesday, but it’s not clear whether that will defuse an investigation into his transfer of $219,915 in leftover campaign cash to the committee. The State Ethics Commission is looking into the payment of that money from Richardson’s campaign account to the MMV Alliance Fund on New Year’s Eve. The question is: Would a tax-exempt filing in February allow MMV to accept a couple hundred thousand dollars in campaign money five weeks earlier?

Ethics agency probing ex-speaker’s $220K fund transfer

Ethics agency probing ex-speaker's $220K fund transfer

Former House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s transfer of nearly $220,000 to the MMV Alliance Fund, a political committee under his control, is now the focus of a state investigation. The State Ethics Commission opened the inquiry Jan. 27 because MMV does not appear to be among the groups allowed to accept excess campaign funds.

Three lawyers named as finalists for top ethics job

Three lawyers — including one who used to prosecute other lawyers for ethics breaches — are finalists for the top job at the State Ethics Commission. They are Gene Chapman, 52, former discipline counsel for the State Bar of Georgia; Bryce Farbstein, 37, who manages the Judicial Election Reform Campaign for Common Cause of Georgia; and Stacey Kalberman, a specialist in insurance regulatory law.

Debt-ridden DK official says she spent $69K out of pocket on campaign

Debt-ridden DK official says she spent $69K out of pocket on campaign

Sharon Barnes Sutton’s paycheck was garnisheed in 2008 after she missed payments on her Lexus. Gwinnett County issued four arrest warrants for her over $1,000 in bounced checks in 2007. And she lost her $162,000 Stone Mountain home a few months ago when she couldn’t keep up with the mortgage. Still, Sutton reported spending $69,000 of her own money to run for the DeKalb County Commission, campaign records show. All this on a $43,000 schoolteacher’s salary.

Pitts may settle 8-year ethics dispute over campaign loans

Pitts may settle 8-year ethics dispute over campaign loans

On the eve of the 2001 Atlanta mayoral election, candidate Robb Pitts’ campaign bounced a $45,000 check. Several campaign officials made loans to cover the check in amounts far exceeding limits on political contributions. Pitts, now a Fulton County commissioner, may be about to settle ethics charges stemming from the loans. But will he have to pay back the money?

  • about this page

    This page covers financial disclosures by public officials -- including personal finances, campaign accounts and business transactions with public agencies.


  • do it yourself campaign investigation

    The State Ethics Commission's Web site provides the tools to analyze campaign funds for candidates for state office: 1) Click “Search by Expenditure” and enter a name in “Individual or Entity.” (This will find donations from political action committees or other candidates.) Print the results or download them into Excel. 2) Click “Search by Name” to view a candidate’s reports of donations received. These can also be downloaded. 3) Compare the results from steps 1 and 2 to match up donors’ names, dates and amounts. 4) To compare contributions made before 2006, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s Web site. Most campaign reports here cannot be searched electronically. They must be printed out and compared visually.