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Councilman stung by ethics fine pushes oversight of ethics officer

Councilman stung by ethics fine pushes oversight of ethics officer
March 14, 2012 --

An Atlanta city councilman who tangled with the city’s ethics officer last year wants to place that job under the council’s control. Lamar Willis‘ proposal calls for the Board of Ethics to give the council three names to consider, rather than just one, to fill a vacancy pending since September. Ethics advocates fear the plan would politicize the appointment process and jeopardize the board’s independence. Former ethics officer Ginny Looney won settlements against Willis and five other council members since 2008. Willis said his proposal has nothing to do with his $3,500 ethics fine nor his complaint that the board’s case against him was “piling on” and not even “remotely necessary.”

Rep. Rashad Taylor: Unpaid taxes, missing disclosures

Rep. Rashad Taylor: Unpaid taxes, missing disclosures
December 14, 2011 --

Taylor, a political consultant,  has stayed busy running other candidate’s campaigns, but he’s cut a few corners in running his own. Five times since 2008, Taylor failed to disclose his personal or campaign finances, neglecting to report receipt of at least $11,225 in campaign contributions as a consequence. “There’s really no excuse for not having filed my disclosures that are missing,” Taylor said. “I just haven’t gotten it done.” Taylor also fell behind on his state income taxes, incurring liens totaling $3,161 for 2008 and 2009.

Ex-Fulton sheriff skates on $40K in illegal donations

Ex-Fulton sheriff skates on $40K in illegal donations
November 4, 2011 --

Eight years after the fact, former Fulton County Sheriff Jacqueline Barrett is off the hook for accepting $40,000 in illegal campaign contributions that played a part in her removal from office. The Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, acknowledging procedural errors, dismissed a complaint over the donations, which were associated with a shaky $7.2 million investment made with money under her control.

Ethics probe sought Deal documents

Ethics probe sought Deal documents
August 31, 2011 --

The state’s top two ethics investigators were preparing in June to serve subpoenas on Gov. Nathan Deal, his chief of staff and other associates in connection with Deal’s 2010 campaign when one investigator’s salary was cut and the other’s job was eliminated. Drafts of subpoenas prepared, but never served, by the staff of the state ethics commission raise questions about $322,000 the campaign paid to companies that Deal owns or has an interest in, or to businesses controlled by his associates.

Lobbyists named as finalists for top job at campaign finance panel

Lobbyists named as finalists for top job at campaign finance panel
August 10, 2011 --

Two lobbyists are finalists for the top job at the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, the panel said today. The nominees for executive secretary are: Holly LaBerge, director of government relations for the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, and Jerry Presley, a career public servant who lobbied for the Council for Quality Growth in 2008.

Campaign finance panel fines DeKalb commissioners Sutton, Watson

Campaign finance panel fines DeKalb commissioners Sutton, Watson
August 9, 2011 --

DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton failed to disclose more than $101,000 in contributions to her campaigns in 2006 and 2008. For that, she agreed Friday to pay a $2,500 fine. Then-state Rep. Stan Watson, a fellow commissioner, also agreed to a $1,500 fine Friday for raising campaign money while the state Legislature was in session.

Ethics chairman to step aside amid questions over reappointment

August 5, 2011 --

The chairman of the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, who says his appointment may have been illegal, is stepping down.
Patrick Millsaps, who initiated the personnel moves that cost the commission its top two investigators, will continue to serve until a replacement is named.

AG collected $696K from donors regulated by ethics panel

AG collected $696K from donors regulated by ethics panel
August 3, 2011 --

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.”

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Why Ga. won’t survey teens on sex

Don't ask, don't tell: Why Ga. won't survey teens on sex
February 1, 2010 --

Every two years, U.S. high school students answer questions in a CDC-sponsored survey that helps guide policy on sex education and teen pregnancy. But not in Georgia. The omission impedes public health officials trying to lower some of the nation’s highest teen-pregnancy rates, says advocate Michele Ozumba. It’s “a huge gap,” she says. “To do effective prevention, you have to have solid information.”