State senators this week agreed to give the State Campaign Finance Commission a fraction of the sum needed to meet new requirements for enforcing ethics laws. The Senate recommended a $30,000 bump for the agency’s certified mail expenses, rather than the requested $130,000, and none of the $290,000 sought for processing and posting thousands of local candidates’ financial disclosures online.
Former House Speaker Terry Coleman left elective office three years ago, but he says he still can’t close out his campaign fund until he can unload property given as restitution for embezzlement by a former employee. Former staffer Candice Lynn Sheffield pleaded guilty to theft in 2007 and agreed to pay $173,257 in restitution. She gave his campaign an 11-acre tract in Henry County to settle the debt, but Coleman had to pay back taxes on the land in May or risk foreclosure. Coleman disclosed the tax payments last week.
(UPDATE: Atlanta’s municipal clerk has posted PDF files of 2009 campaign disclosure reports for mayor and council candidates here.)
Four years ago, Atlanta city government did a nice job making campaign disclosure reports available online for candidates for mayor and City Council. In 2009, a tight budget apparently will keep the city from posting details on the millions of dollars raised by Atlanta candidates. So Common Cause of Georgia, the good-government advocacy group, is filling the gap with its Moneywatch site. You can search for yourself to see where the special interests, elected officials and aides to former Mayor Bill Campbell are lining up in 2009. (What? You thought I was going to do it for you? Maybe a little later.)