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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 […]
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.
Sept. 23, 2015 — A DeKalb County commissioner’s lawyer is promising a full-court press against allegations that she misused a taxpayer-funded purchasing card. Dwight Thomas, attorney for Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, pushed the DeKalb Board of Ethics on Tuesday for access to her investigative file, then waived her preliminary hearing when he couldn’t get them. Thomas told the board to set aside “a couple days” for a full hearing on her case, tentatively set for December.
March 30, 2015 — Members of the state ethics commission have distanced themselves from a proposal requiring that they deliberate privately on complaints against political candidates and lobbyists. At a public hearing last week, no commission members took ownership of the proposed language on closed sessions, and staff attorneys said they don’t even know how it got there.
March 4, 2015 — Cities and counties could not remove monuments and other symbols of the Confederacy without relocating them to a place of equal prominence under a bill passed today by a House committee.
March 2, 2015 — The Senate Ethics Committee today endorsed a plan to absolve many Georgia candidates from having to pay fines for missing financial reporting deadlines.
Feb. 19, 2015 — Up to four years of penalties for filing late campaign disclosures could be excused under bills filed this week in the Georgia Legislature.
A 2010 law required candidates for city and county offices to file campaign finance reports online with the state rather than locally. Many candidates pushed back, and the mandate was later rescinded.
Now, citing faults and malfunctions of the state ethics commission’s online filing system, two legislators are sponsoring bills to waive the late fees — $125 and up — imposed on those local candidates.
Dec. 11, 2014 — Georgia is regarded as one of the most corrupt states across all branches of government, according to a new survey by Harvard University.
We didn’t rank number one, though. (Thank God for Arizona and Kentucky.)
Respondents said illegal corruption is moderately to very common in Georgia’s executive branch and moderately common in its Legislature, a report from Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics found.
Dec. 4, 2014 — The state ethics commission is preparing to dismiss complaints next week against two high-profile political organizations on the left and the right: Better Georgia Inc. and Real PAC.
Oct. 18, 2014 — Sen. Fran Millar reimbursed the state last week for more than $2,100 taken from his legislative expense account that wound up in his campaign fund. Millar wrote the check a few days after Atlanta Unfiltered asked him about several unusual 2012 donations to his campaign — four checks, all disclosed as coming from the Georgia General Assembly.
May 22, 2014 — Retiring Sen. Cecil Staton will start earning a six-figure state salary next month at the University System of Georgia. Staton resigned his Senate seat today to become a vice chancellor overseeing programs for military veterans, budding entrepreneurs, international students and continuing education. “The idea is to try to bring all those folks under one person to direct them and give some coherence to it,” a University System spokesman said. The five-term senator, who did not seek re-election this year after a close shave in 2012, will start his new job June 1 at an annual salary of $165,000.
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.
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Some criminals have their photos and crimes plastered all over the Internet, so people know who they are and what they did. Not politicians -- until now. The Crooked Politician Registry is an archive of info on public servants who crossed the line.
do it yourself corruption investigation
Most public corruption cases in Georgia are prosecuted in federal court. The U.S. attorney for North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, has an excellent Web site with archived news releases on prominent cases.
Federal court files may be searched online for a nominal fee through PACER. (The first $10 a year of searches are free.)
With the right keywords, online search engines will also turn up news releases or court rulings on a particular case at no cost.