April 11, 2012 — Dozens of Georgia lobbyists and political candidates may get relief from fines assessed for filing their financial disclosures late. Thousands more, the state Campaign Finance Commission decided today, will get no such reprieve.
Former state ethics official Rick Thompson says Georgia doesn’t need all the auditors and investigators it once had because auditing of politicians’ financial disclosures is now automated. This would seem to refute some of my recent findings about weak ethics enforcement in Georgia.
Except, of course, that it’s not true.
Tying Up Loose Ends: The Georgia Secretary of State has no record of an allegedly “unexplained” purchase for $4,965 that was said to suggest financial mismanagement at the state ethics commission. Without documentation,
we may never know what that purchase was for, or whether it really happened. Here’s why …
Rep. Ed Rynders charged the state ethics commission last week with wasteful spending even though he and House budget officials knew little or nothing about some of the details, interviews with state officials show. Nevertheless, the agency’s critics did not retreat
, while acknowledging that they really didn’t know enough in some cases to render an opinion. “Until you have the detail, it’s kinda hard to say whether it was a good or bad management decision,” House Budget Director Martha Wigton said.
State legislators say they welcome transparency regarding their personal finances — corporate and real estate holdings, government contracts and the like.But who decides what constitutes transparency? Who checks whether they’re telling us all that we’re entitled to know? They do. Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, transparency is too important to be left to the politicians.
Parent of student sprayed with Lysol demands answers Immigration officials agree to release jailed students Amid budget cuts, UGA officials defend resort retreat Ethics commission vice-chair resigns to consider Senate bid Fulton Co. property owners report errors in tax bills
2 DeKalb board members: We cannot support choice for new school chief Lottery employees lose big after new law, budget cuts Ga. not reporting accounts receivable to the public
Attorney General Sam Olens – who’s taking on a larger role in investigations of public officials, political action committees and lobbyists — has raised more than a third of his campaign money from public officials, PACs, lobbyists and their clients. Donors include parties in high-profile inquiries into possible misuse of campaign funds or receipt of improper contributions.“There is always a potential for a conflict,” acknowledged Josh Belinfante, vice chairman of the campaign finance commission, “but I don’t think … that means a conflict exists.”
Despite budget cuts, 3 Ga. college presidents get raises Audit: Some defendants may not qualify as indigent
Cobb superintendent: Board is ‘not effective’ Ga. ethics panel struggles with budget cuts Feds: Savannah developer schemed with banks Medical college salaries drop
Here’s a plan for making budget cuts that cost taxpayers $618,000 more every year: Replace private security guards making $77,000 a year at the state Capitol with troopers earning about nine times as much. That’s what the state Department of Public Safety did in 2010.
Barnes claimed tax breaks on house he didn’t own Nathan Deal lobbied AG, EPD for landfill Nathan Deal answers ethics questions Is DeKalb CEO disregarding budget cuts? N. Ga. judge involved in campaign conflict? Ga. board of education delays adopting ethics policy model Barrow Co.’s HR director quits, drops complaint Oconee commission backs ethics ordinance