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Rep. Miriam Paris

Rep. Miriam Paris
May 9, 2014 --

Paris hadn’t filed her 2013 disclosure of her personal finances, due six weeks earlier, when we talked last week. “I have not done it yet, but it will be done,” she said. “We’ve just been running a race, and it keeps slipping off the radar.”

Her most recent personal disclosure, filed in 2012, omitted her membership on two non-profit boards — the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and NewTown Macon Inc.

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Lobbyists, candidates get little reprieve from $3.5M in late fees

April 11, 2012 --

April 11, 2012 — Dozens of Georgia lobbyists and political candidates may get relief from fines assessed for filing their financial disclosures late. Thousands more, the state Campaign Finance Commission decided today, will get no such reprieve.

Complaint against Deal, ethics chair dismissed

April 6, 2012 --

By JIM WALLS State officials, based on an opinion of the attorney general, have dismissed a complaint challenging former chairman Patrick Millsaps’ service on the state Campaign Finance Commission. Millsaps – reappointed after completing his term by Gov. Nathan Deal last year– headed the commission last spring when it slashed its top administrator’s pay by […]

Lawmakers to ethics panel: We don’t need no stinkin’ late fees

December 14, 2011 --

Dec. 14, 2011 — Remember the Georgia Legislature’s promise last year to impose tough new penalties for violators of campaign finance laws? Not gonna happen — at least not yet.

Starting this year, candidates could be fined $1,375 for filing a financial disclosure 45 days late. But legislators didn’t provide the money to pay for late notices, so the maximum fine for now is just $125.

OIG probe leaves open questions about staff departures at ethics panel

OIG probe leaves open questions about staff departures at ethics panel
December 9, 2011 --

Georgia Inspector General Deron R. Hicks says his staff found no evidence that his boss, Gov. Nathan Deal, pressed for the firing of the top two investigators at the ethics commission. The question is: How hard did he really look? Hicks’ inquiry did not address important disputed points, including whether the commission’s chairman, after being reappointed by Deal, had truly recused himself from an investigation of the governor’s campaign finances.

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.

Ethics panel braces for suit over failing to enforce law

Ethics panel braces for suit over failing to enforce law
May 4, 2011 --

Washington avoided a government shutdown last month, but ethics enforcers in Georgia soon will face the prospect of shutting down their key function — enforcing ethics laws. In fact, members of the State Campaign Finance Commission are already planning their legal defense in case someone sues them for failing to do their job.

Lawmakers leave ethics panel to run on fumes

Lawmakers leave ethics panel to run on fumes
April 19, 2011 --

Georgia legislators last week took back an extra $30,000 budgeted to enforce ethics laws in 2012, leaving the State Campaign Finance Commission yet again to do more paper-shuffling and less investigating. “We really only have time to go after the most egregious of cases,” executive secretary Stacey Kalberman said.

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.

Ethics panel seeks dollars, gets pennies — maybe

March 31, 2011 --

State senators this week agreed to give the State Campaign Finance Commission a fraction of the sum needed to meet new requirements for enforcing ethics laws. The Senate recommended a $30,000 bump for the agency’s certified mail expenses, rather than the requested $130,000, and none of the $290,000 sought for processing and posting thousands of local candidates’ financial disclosures online.

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.

Panel needs $420K to $1M to enforce campaign finance law

March 17, 2011 --

Complying with new campaign finance requirements next year could cost state overseers $420,000 to $1 million that they do not have, Senate budget writers learned today. Without more funding needed to notify violators, the state can’t properly enforce the law, one official said: “People will catch on fairly quickly that they do not have to pay late fees and do not have to comply with the act.”