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Sen. Steve Gooch (SD 51): Road builders pave way with $93K

Sen. Steve Gooch (SD 51): Road builders pave way with $93K
May 22, 2016 --

Steve Gooch’s most generous bloc of campaign contributors reflect his service since 2011 on the Senate Transportation Committee, which he chaired in 2013 and 2014. Highway contractors have donated more than $93,000, while railroads, billboard companies and other transportation interests have kicked in $18,000 more.

Gooch’s campaign raised $147,000 in 2013-14 as Senate Transportation chair. After trading that job for Senate majority whip in late 2014, he’s on track to double that amount in 2015-16.

Sen. Ellis Black (SD 8): Undisclosed homes, farmland

Sen. Ellis Black (SD 8): Undisclosed homes, farmland
November 1, 2014 --

At first, Ellis Black’s 2014 personal financial disclosure omitted 491 acres of farmland, including his home, that he transferred to a limited partnership two years earlier. He amended the disclosure in October to include the property after we asked about it. He did not, however, include partial ownership of six single-family homes that he transferred from his own name in 2012. A 1998 attorney general’s opinion holds that a candidate must disclose corporate real estate holdings if he has “a legally enforceable right to use the land for his own personal enjoyment or profit.” Black said he saw no need to disclose the homes because they’re not producing income.

Ethics reform for dummies, Part 1: Lobbyist gifts

Ethics reform for dummies, Part 1: Lobbyist gifts
March 26, 2013 --

March 26, 2013 — To Georgia legislators: As you struggle toward a compromise on ethics “reform,” here are five suggestions that would REALLY help to restore Georgians’ faith in government.
1) Limit lobbyist gifts to $25 per day, with a limit of four per year. That allows them to buy you a meal and a beer, but not the bottles of wine that really drive up the cost up of these $100 meals. And no gifts for spouses. Pay for those yourselves. Suck it up.

$170K in ALEC junkets untouched by gift cap

$170K in ALEC junkets untouched by gift cap
March 22, 2013 --

March 22, 2013 — Under the ethics bill and $100 gift cap that Georgia senators will debate today, lawmakers could continue accepting tens of thousands of dollars a year in travel expenses from corporate interests. Not only would the bill let them keep traveling to posh resorts on special interests’ tab, you often won’t even know about it. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council makes these jaunts possible. Big business and trade associations give the money to “scholarship funds” controlled by ALEC, which doles the cash out to legislators attending ALEC events.

Discreet non-profit convenes pols and business to write ‘model’ bills

July 18, 2011 --

Last week, both the Los Angeles Times and The Nation put the spotlight on a little-known but influential conservative nonprofit that creates “model” state legislation that often make its way into law. The American Legislative Exchange Council has helped craft some of the most controversial — and industry-friendly — legislation of recent years.