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Dec. 8, 2016 — The Georgia Supreme Court today approved a reprimand for House Speaker David Ralston for advancing money to a client in violation of State Bar rules.
The court also reinstated the law license of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, whose 2015 conviction on corruption charges was overturned last week.
Dec. 8, 2016 — We’re gonna try something new today — live-blogging today’s meeting of the state ethics commission. Because we know how interested y’all are.
Already today, the Atlanta City Council’s Michael Julian Bond has been fined $45,000 for more than 300 campaign finance reporting violations.
House Speaker David Ralston (who’s been fined $1,600), Atlanta mayoral candidate Vincent Fort and Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr. — as well as many other worthies — also have business with the commission. Check in here for updates.
Nov. 30, 2016 — Former DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis’s conviction for perjury and attempted extortion was overturned today by the Georgia Supreme Court.
Here’s court spokeswoman Jane Hansen’s excellent-as-always summary of the decision (and a link to the court’s full opinion).
Nov. 10, 2016 — House Speaker David Ralston would receive a reprimand but no suspension for violating State Bar rules, according to papers filed today with the Georgia Supreme Court.
Ralston, who practices law in Blue Ridge, admitted improperly advancing $22,000 to a client who’d waited years for his case to come to trial. The speaker paid the money from his firm’s trust account, also a rule violation.
“Whether Ralston’s actions in advancing money to the Chernaks were the result of ignorance as contended, negligence, or an attempt to placate an increasingly frustrated client, the conduct clearly violates the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct,” special master Jon Peters wrote in his 20-page report to the high court.
July 20, 2016 — FethullahGülen, the exiled cleric accused of fomenting last week’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, is also the man behind three former Fulton County charter schools that lost their taxpayer subsidies a few years back amid findings of financial misconduct.
June 9, 2016 — House Banking Chairman Greg Morris has settled a federal complaint over his role in the 2012 failure of a south Georgia bank.
Morris and other board members of the defunct Montgomery Bank & Trust, through their attorneys, filed court papers June 3 acknowledging that the settlement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was completed.
May 27, 2016 — Rep. Ron Stephens has agreed to pay a modest fine for failing to list ownership of four businesses on his financial disclosures.
In January, Stephens amended his disclosures for 2012 through 2014 to add four companies to the businesses in which he owned an interest. The Garden City Republican said he knew the new filing might lead to a complaint “but I wanted to be honest. … I didn’t want to keep anything hidden.”
By JIM WALLS May 25, 2016 — Allegations of mishandling campaign money appear to have cost Rep. Earnest Smith his seat in the Georgia Legislature. In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Smith lost his bid for a fifth term in the Georgia House of Representatives, 57% to 43%, to retired postal worker Sheila Clark Nelson. The state […]
May 12, 2016 — Former Atlanta Falcon Leonard Gotshalk is one of the Americans who’s been found to have bought an offshore company, the Center for Public Integrity reports. Gotshalk bought the company just three days after federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging him with financial crimes
April 20, 2016 — Cobb County school board member David Morgan acknowledged last year that he filed no campaign disclosures for nearly four years, agreeing to a payment plan for $3,600 in civil penalties.
He hadn’t paid a penny, though, until we called him about it last week.
March 14, 2016 — A Senate committee took no action today on a bill to guarantee insurance agents a minimum commission for selling health coverage to small businesses.
The bill — championed by House Rules Chairman John Meadows — was highlighted Sunday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a prime example of a bill that would benefit its legislative backers. Meadows is a Calhoun insurance agent.
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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.