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Dec. 28

December 28, 2011 --

Ethics reform effort won’t get help from House speaker On state DNR board, no future for a ‘green conservative’ Airport concession winners linked to city officials Common Cause: Airport bids need more time for review Newly recovered court files cast doubt on Gingrich’s version of first divorce Ga. among states where workers can pad pensions […]

Did taxpayers fund Ralston’s Europe trip?

ICE High Speed Train
December 12, 2011 --

The funds used to fly House Speaker David Ralston’s family to Europe last Thanksgiving were not taxpayers’ dollars — but, quite possibly, they used to be. Chris Brady, the lobbyist who paid for the $17,279 trip, is also a Georgia DOT subcontractor whose firm has pocketed at least $458,000 since 2007 as part of a team studying a possible high-speed Atlanta-to-Chattanooga transit line.

Ethics panel changes course, wants its own lawyer after all

October 11, 2011 --

The State Campaign Finance Commission has changed its mind and wants to hire a staff attorney after all, four months after firing its last one. The difference is, this one won’t make more than $55,000 a year and won’t be named Sherilyn Streicker, whose job was eliminated by the commission in June.

June 27

June 27, 2011 --

House speaker scrambles to pay late taxes Lawsuit: Home Depot violated Buy American Act Worker noticed lax cash handling long before Columbus scandal broke

Deal, Ralston, Oxendine probes in limbo as top ethics staffers depart

Deal, Ralston, Oxendine probes in limbo as top ethics staffers depart
June 14, 2011 --

Ethics probes involving Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston and former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine are in limbo today as the attorneys conducting those investigations look for new jobs. Stacey Kalberman and Sherilyn Streicker, the top two staffers at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, learned last week they must clean out their desks by June 30.

Should lobbyists disclose $$$ spent on public officials’ families?

Should lobbyists disclose $$$ spent on public officials' families?
April 5, 2011 --

House Speaker David Ralston and other lawmakers learn today whether lobbyists’ spending on gifts for officials’ spouses and families must be disclosed publicly, when the State Campaign Finance Commission considers an advisory opinion on that point. An attorney close to the speaker requested the opinion Feb. 11, just a few days after a complaint was filed over a $17,280 trip to Europe for Ralston, his chief of staff and their families. A lobbyist promoting high-speed rail paid for the jaunt.

Foes of ethics enforcement cheer latest legislative ‘reforms’

Foes of ethics enforcement cheer latest legislative 'reforms'
March 21, 2011 --

Picture a few Georgia legislators in a karaoke bar, swaying back and forth and belting out the Stone’s “Under My Thumb.” Or maybe a little Cee Lo. That should give you a good sense of the message that lawmakers sent last week to the State Campaign Finance Commission. Gov. Nathan Deal has already signed an ethics bill that gives the commission more work and more expenses and rebuffs a bid to restore some of its power.

Feb. 8

February 8, 2011 --

Deal, Ralston relatives get jobs with nursing home lobby APD disbands Red Dog unit Morris Brown campus police under investigation Two Savannah hospitals settle Medicaid probe for $2.7M Police officers resign after bar brawl Feds threaten to revoke $7M from DeKalb Three indicted in Columbus Parks & Rec scandal Ethics complaint lodged over House speaker’s European […]

What do wining-&-dining lobbyists really want?

What do wining-&-dining lobbyists really want?
January 31, 2011 --

About 180 times last year, state disclosures show, a lobbyist gave House Speaker David Ralston something: A meal, a drink, a round of golf, a family trip to Europe. We know these lobbyists spent about $35,000 on the speaker in 2010. What we don’t know is much more significant: What did they want from him? Most lobbyists never answer that question, and Georgia doesn’t really make them.

How transparent was House speaker’s European holiday?

How transparent was House speaker's European holiday?
January 24, 2011 --

House Speaker David Ralston, staff and family enjoyed a $17,000 working holiday last Thanksgiving. So much for the idea of a $100 gift cap. Or for transparency. Lobbyist Chris Brady, representing Commonwealth Research Associates LLC, picked up the tab for hotels and airfare. A few weeks later, Brady took Ralston and staff to a $403 dinner. Other than that, official disclosures tell us nothing.

2011: A brave new world of ethics enforcement

2011: A brave new world of ethics enforcement
January 10, 2011 --

Among the consequences of Georgia’s new ethics law: It will require more reporting by lobbyists and will probably thin out their herd, at least at the state level. It will relieve hundreds of the new governor’s appointees of the need to disclose even a smidgen about their personal finances. And, combined with budget problems, it will require the state ethics commission for the next several months to set aside one of its core missions, says its chairman, Patrick Millsaps.

Legislators, how about new ethics goals for 2011?

Legislators, how about new ethics goals for 2011?
January 4, 2011 --

Everyone should make resolutions for the New Year, if only to have new goals. In that spirit, we offer 10 suggestions for Georgia legislators to strengthen government ethics in 2011. Among them: Let’s make ex-Speaker Glenn Richardson the last legislator to transfer all his leftover campaign cash to a committee where he can spend it any way he wishes.