Oct. 1, 2012 — Sen. Jack Murphy collected $5,000 in May from his legislative expense account for a constituent newsletter that his campaign paid for, state records show. Murphy, who signed a sworn statement that he had paid for the newsletter personally, said the mix-up was inadvertent and that he has repaid his campaign account in full. An ethics watchdog says questions about this and other recently disclosed Senate expense reimbursements underscore a need for more scrutiny. “Senate leadership should come up with a plan to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen,” said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia.
Sept. 26, 2012 — Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has reimbursed his campaign $8,500 even though his lawyer says he didn’t have to. The payment covers money that Rogers collected from his Senate expense account for costs paid by his campaign committee. Attorney Doug Chalmers said Rogers has loaned the campaign much more than that, but he cut the check “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
CALHOUN, Sept. 5, 2012 — The notorious “Meth 6” motel here has sold in foreclosure for pennies on the dollar, potentially clearing the way for lenders to pursue two Georgia lawmakers for a defaulted loan. On Aug. 16, after the abandoned motel brought $370,000, a Gordon County judge signed an order allowing a bank to seek payment on the rest of a $1.88 million debt from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and Sen. Chip Rogers. Graves says the order is merely a formality.
July 26, 2012 — “Will The Winner” and “Will Rogers” were just characters, Sen. Chip Rogers has said, created by a client who hired him to perform as a sports handicapper under both names. But newly obtained records show Rogers used those monikers in a manner that was unrelated to any role that he may have played on TV.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, while serving as a freshman legislator, regularly oversaw production of promotional mailings that advertised over-the-phone sports handicapping services and an offshore casino, Atlanta Unfiltered has learned. Two Atlanta-area printing companies worked closely with Rogers between 1998 and 2004 to produce the promotional booklets, called Schedules USA, according to a former employee and former owner. Previously, Rogers has said his role in the handicapping industry was limited to voice and television work reading scripted promotions.
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.
A North Georgia bank is accusing congressional candidate Tom Graves of attempted fraud for trying to escape a $2.25 million debt. The complaint, filed last week by Bartow County Bank, alleges Graves transferred his home and adjoining properties worth $657,000 into a trust last year to protect it from the debt. For that, the bank would like punitive damages.
Twenty-one Georgia legislators accepted gifts valued at $5,000 or more from lobbyists last year. Led by Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, the 21 legislators accounted for 10 percent of the $1.5 million in lobbyist handouts last year. We’re talking gift baskets, food and drink, golf, sports and concert tickets, lodging and airfare. These are the lawmakers who can’t say no.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Rep. Calvin Smyre, House minority caucus chairman, are among 37 Georgia legislators who have failed to file required disclosures of their personal finances this year. In fact, six lawmakers still haven’t filed disclosures for 2007 that were due more than a year ago. They are …