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.
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Members of the State Ethics Commission are on the brink of gutting a key provision of Georgia’s campaign finance law. Their decision would allow politicians to funnel unlimited amounts of cash to other campaigns despite a law designed to limit contributions. And since most political money flows to the party in power, Republicans would be […]
Most of us would get in a whole heap of trouble for spending tens of thousands of dollars that don’t belong to us. But for politicians, the world is often kinder, gentler and more forgiving. Case in point: Former state Rep. Pam Stanley, who paid for an apartment, cable TV service and a car rental and withdrew $38,000 in cash from her campaign account from 1999 to 2002. Stanley agreed to $65,100 in fines and restitution, but she hasn’t paid a nickel. A judge last week ordered Stanley to pay up.
Lobbyists, more than anything else, sell access to politicians. Political fund-raisers sell candidates on their ability to generate boodles of campaign cash, frequently from donors that want, well, access to politicians. Put the two jobs together, and you get Dave Simons.
Some politicians are comedians but they don’t know it. Not Jon Gnarr, the new mayor of Iceland’s capital. Check out the coolest campaign video of all time.
Hundreds of state officials — legislators, department heads, members of boards and commissions — haven’t submitted financial disclosures that were due last July. Countless politicians also failed to report campaign finances on time — or at all. But the State Ethics Commission, crippled by budget cuts, usually does nothing more than e-mail them a reminder. Says Tom Plank, interim executive secretary of the commission: “We can’t even mail them a letter.” Read my Ethics Watch column online here in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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