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.
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.
A powerful Cobb County legislator collected $40,000 last year to do research to help an advocacy group decide the best way to ask the Legislature for money. Rep. Earl Ehrhart and his client, Friends of Arts & Culture, say he did not help to write a bill that would have allowed local votes on arts funding, nor did he help move it through the Legislature. “I never consult on any type of legislation that’s going on here,” he said. Ehrhart did not disclose his client or his fee, which state law does not require. Nor did he disclose the name of his consulting business, which the law does require. This is what passes for transparency in the Georgia Legislature. UPDATE: An ethics complaint regarding this transaction was filed this week with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.
John F. Douglas, a three-term state senator from Social Circle, says he made $113,000 and change last year. That includes his salaries as a legislator ($31,741, including per diem) and as a field rep for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, military retirement and his wife’s salary.
Better late than never: Four Georgia legislators, including Rep. Sheila Jones of Atlanta, filed personal financial disclosures last week for 2008. Some, we’re told, even mentioned Atlanta Unfiltered when they made sure the state received their reports. That leaves 10 Democrats who still haven’t filed. UP NEXT: We’ll take a closer look at where the money’s flowing in the Legislature, and to whom. One hint: It ain’t to the Democrats.
A dozen Georgia legislators still haven’t filed financial disclosure statements for 2008 as required by state law, according to State Ethics Commission records. Four of them, including Rep. Roger Bruce of Atlanta, haven’t filed disclosures for 2007 either. As a practical matter, there’s not much of a penalty for failing to file a disclosure statement. The Ethics Commission routinely assesses a late fee of $75, but makes little effort to collect it.
House Speaker Glenn Richardson has 54,000 constituents in his legislative district in eastern Paulding County. Just two of them donated money to the speaker’s 2007-08 election fund. Three businesses in the 19th District also gave to the speaker’s campaign, as did the Paulding Chamber of Commerce. Together, the six donations — totaling $5,840 – added […]