The State Ethics Commission in coming months will talk to the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House about their alleged ethics violations. At roughly the same time, the agency’s leadership will ask these very same officials for more money to fulfill its mission and to restore powers that have been stripped away in recent years. This would make sense in only two places: the Georgia Capitol and Alice’s Wonderland. You can decide where the hatter is madder.
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.
July 8, 2009 — Casey Cagle refunded more than $1 million in campaign donations after dropping out of the Georgia governor’s race in April. Then, often on the same day, hundreds of contributors gave more than a half-million dollars back to support Cagle’s re-election as lieutenant governor.
Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Just ask Don Balfour. The Snellville Republican’s campaign fund has collected nearly $85,000 since Jan. 1, for a total of $683,000 since January 2006. No one’s even run against him in that period. The Rules Committee places bills on the Legislature’s calendar, unless it chooses not to — which means the Senate will never, ever vote on your bill. That’s why Don has so many friends.