Health-care interests — including a $700 million-a-year state vendor — top a partial list of donors to Gov. Nathan Deal’s transition committee. Twenty donors gave more than $130,000, including $77,500 from health-care interests. Among the largest donors: the parent company of Peach State Health Plan, which earned $713 million in 2010 as one of Georgia Medicaid’s managed care organizations. Peach State’s contract runs out this year.
Political action committees in Georgia operate with little oversight. They don’t have to report spending that’s not campaign-related. Nothing in campaign law addresses how PACs spend their money, the State Ethics Commission observed in 2008. “We did some advisory opinions because we were hoping people would get outraged enough and push for legislation,” said Rick Thompson, the agency’s former executive secretary. It hasn’t worked so far. Georgia lawmakers are sifting through a slew of ethics bills, but none address PAC spending.
Republicans on the State Election Board waded into a virtual GOP smackdown this week as they argued over Georgia’s controversial citizenship checks for potential voters. At issue: Justice Department findings, reported this week, that African-Americans were 60 percent more likely than whites to be flagged by the state’s citizen-verification process, which it described as “error-laden.” […]