Enforcers of Georgia’s ethics laws are stuck in limbo, if not outright paralysis — a legacy of the Glenn Richardson years at the state Legislature. They’re wondering whether new leadership under the Gold Dome cares enough to set things right. In 2009, on Richardson’s watch, the Georgia House pushed through language stripping the State Ethics Commission of its rule-making power. Now the panel needs to adopt new rules to carry out subsequent legislative changes to ethics laws. But, says executive secretary Stacey Kalberman said, “It appears that we don’t have authority to do anything.”
A citizen oversight panel could learn today whether it may compel Atlanta police officers to appear to answer investigators’ questions. The Atlanta Citizen Review Board, at the instigation of member Rod Edmond, may file suit to force officers to cooperate if it does not get subpoena power. Maybe even if it does. UPDATE: On a 13-1 vote, the City Council today granted the board subpoena power and require the police chief to discipline officers who won’t cooperate with it.
Georgia’s ethics enforcers ask lobbyists to reveal who’s really paying whenever they wine and dine legislators. But the State Ethics Commission, acknowledging that the law does not require that information, has dropped charges against lobbyist Raymon White for failing to disclose it. The upshot? Unless the Legislature fixes the loophole, Georgia’s 1,600 lobbyists won’t have to reveal who’s really paying for a lawmaker’s fancy meal or skybox seats.