UPDATE: Early this afternoon, the House Rules Committee amended the Senate bill (SB127) to delete any changes in early-voting procedures. The House then passed the amended bill on a 167-7 vote. The Senate stripped this language from a similar last week and now must decide whether to stand firm or let the House have its way. After dinner tonight, senators voted to stand firm.
March 31, 2015 — Once again, Georgia enters the final week of a legislative session with the prospects for an ethics bill up in the air.
The Georgia House and Senate have two business days left – today and Thursday – to act on a bill that would allow waivers of late campaign disclosure filing fees for thousands of local candidates.
Both chambers have passed similar versions of the bill. Twice, though, the House has tacked on a controversial amendment that could help re-elect legislators facing primary challenges from within their own party — earning it the nickname “the Legislative Incumbent Protection Act.”
Nov. 26, 2012 — Legally, Georgians can’t spend campaign money raised for one political office to run for a different one. There’s a wide-open loophole, though, and veteran legislator Bill Hembree of Douglas County is only the latest to use it.
When Hembree left the Georgia House recently, he refunded $60,400 from his House campaign account to donors. Within a week, those same supporters gave all but $1,000 of the money back to Hembree to run for a just-opened Senate seat. Here’s the clever part: Rather than simply returning the most recent contributions, Hembree reached back as far as 11 years to choose the donors who got refunds.
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.”
‘Emergency’ Ga. judge nominees stalled in Senate slog ATL mayor says he did not fire housing chief Prison fire chief fired for shooting inmate DeKalb schools can retain attorneys in $100M suit Retirements won’t stop Augusta fire department probe Attorney General questions Columbus’s delayed response to records request Macon Council reverses Public Works director’s […]
Two senators named in Senate’s secret bias settlement Opinion: Polluted politics in Ogeechee River settlement Ga. could cut jobless benefits to repay feds Isakson’s Peace Corps bill passes Senate Bitter feud over Fulton County contract ATL to pay $120K more in bar raid settlement Muscogee Co. prison warden says he retired ‘under duress’
Parent of student sprayed with Lysol demands answers Immigration officials agree to release jailed students Amid budget cuts, UGA officials defend resort retreat Ethics commission vice-chair resigns to consider Senate bid Fulton Co. property owners report errors in tax bills
Who got the shaft in House, Senate redistricting? Judge demands to know ex-Cobb EMC exec’s pay since settlement Transcript of judge’s lecture to Cobb EMC board members How Beverly Hall spent thousands defending herself in cheating scandal
Ethics official: Cutbacks related to Deal investigation Ga.’s job stimulus program riddled with problems Fulton DA scrambles to replace prosecutors Ethics complaints coming against APS Senate banking chair has property in foreclosure FAA: ASA flew planes after lightning strikes
Senate OKs sale of out-of-state health policies Ex-prosecutor to probe Gwinnett schools’ land deals Sen. Staton hands off GOP whip duties amid e-mail allegations Columbus rec services manager faces firing Suit challenges Augusta’s purchasing practices Legis committee recommends hiking JQC budget House OKs bills to close ethics loopholes OSHA fines Doraville hair, beauty supply businesses
Fulton DA’s office down a dozen lawyers this year Opinion: Judicial elections shouldn’t be moved Senate cuts DOT pollution exemptions from bill
Broadcast prompts threats and calls for judge’s ouster Bill would scrap Ga. Public Defender Council 22,000 face losing unemployment benefits Lawsuit targets police documentation of seized funds Senate banking chair responds to FDIC’s suit Ethics panel declines to sanction APS board member