Nov. 26, 2012 — Legally, Georgians can’t spend campaign money raised for one political office to run for a different one. There’s a wide-open loophole, though, and veteran legislator Bill Hembree of Douglas County is only the latest to use it.
When Hembree left the Georgia House recently, he refunded $60,400 from his House campaign account to donors. Within a week, those same supporters gave all but $1,000 of the money back to Hembree to run for a just-opened Senate seat. Here’s the clever part: Rather than simply returning the most recent contributions, Hembree reached back as far as 11 years to choose the donors who got refunds.
Jim Lientz, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s former chief operating officer, has apparently settled a 4-year-old ethics complaint alleging he had failed to fully disclose his personal financial interests. Details have not been released, but a consent order with Lientz is on the agenda for the State Ethics Commission’s meeting tomorrow. Consent orders typically involve payment of a fine.
Robert “Mack” Crawford was named a Griffin Circuit Superior Court judge last week despite a blistering eight-page critique of his management of Georgia’s system of public defenders. Criminal defense attorney Stephen Bright wrote the Judicial Nominating Commission trying to block Crawford’s appointment, describing his three years as director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council as an “unmitigated disaster.”
Former House Speaker Glenn Richardson has signed a consent order over his apparently unauthorized transfer of nearly $220,000 in campaign funds to a political committee under his control. The State Ethics Commission will decide whether to sign off on the consent agreement Tuesday. It is unclear whether the order would require Richardson or the MMV Alliance Fund to pay a fine.
Most major candidates for governor back a limit on lobbyists’ gifts to legislators and on inter-campaign cash transfers, a new survey shows. Both measures drew support from leading candidates except for Thurbert Baker and John Oxendine, who have not yet responded to the survey. “It looks like from this list here … that the new governor will be somebody who stands behind these reforms,” Common Cause director Bill Bozarth said.
ATL schools defy bid rules on wireless contracts Real estate, development interests bankroll GOP’s Eric Johnson
Gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson neglected to report $289,000 in state payments to his architectural firm from 1999 to 2002, the Associated Press reports. But Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond can go him one better: He hasn’t disclosed anything whatsoever since 2007. (UPDATE: On May 27, Thurmond filed the disclosures that were due in 2008 or 2009. A spokesman described the omission as “a simple oversight” and then called me an idiot.)
Eric Johnson didn’t disclose $289K in state payments Imperial Sugar agrees to fines for fatal refinery blast Acquitted kindergarten teacher files $25M lawsuit Should Ga. taxpayers subsidize Tenn. hospital’s helicopter? Union: New ATL garbage trucks dangerous Civil rights coalition targets voter verification Tybee police apologetic for ‘Tasing’ autistic teen Tybee ethics commission OKs restaurant deal
DeKalb school official faces question of impropriety Is Cargill plant an environmental steward or neighborhood polluter? Ethics case stalks Eric Johnson’s campaign Complaints against insurers rise Law on honest student testing sought ‘Climate of fear’ at Macon City Hall?
The Jekyll Island Authority is dropping out of a controversial beachfront development deal because its private partner could no longer guarantee a timeline for completion. The authority and Atlanta-based Linger Longer LLC had been renegotiating timing and financial terms of the package, which called for building two hotels, condominiums and time-share units, and up to 30,000 square feet of retail space. But the authority still wanted a firm timeline for completion of each component, a spokesman said, and Linger Longer couldn’t make it so.
Carrollton mayor’s rental agreement criticized Eric Johnson releases tax returns, pledges to put assets in blind trust if elected Marietta mulls limiting Web postings by elected officials St. Marys councilman & airport manager involved in altercation NYT: Polling firm’s reprimand rattles news media
One weekend in April, John Oxendine‘s campaign worked local Republicans hard as activists met in each congressional district. The payoff: Oxendine won straw polls at several district conventions as the GOP choice for governor in 2010. In cozying up to party activists, campaign records show, the candidate gave $11,885 to local Republican groups on April 10-19, right around the April 18 conventions. The checks, though, did not originate with his campaign for governor. They came from the $480,000 bankroll he amassed to run for re-election as insurance commissioner. ALSO OF NOTE: A few weeks earlier, Secretary of State Karen Handel paid $10,000 from her re-election campaign fund to a company run by the new spokesman for her gubernatorial campaign.