blow the whistle
$show the love

Graves, Rogers on hook for $1.5M after sale of ‘Meth 6’ motel

Graves, Rogers on hook for $1.5M after sale of 'Meth 6' motel
September 5, 2012 --

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.

Ex-speaker’s PAC spending remains under wraps

Ex-speaker's PAC spending remains under wraps
September 4, 2012 --

Sept. 4, 2012 — Glenn Richardson walked away from the Georgia Legislature with $220,000 in campaign funds to spend with little oversight. More than 2 1/2 years later, as he plans a run for the state Senate, he still hasn’t officially disclosed what he’s done with it. The former speaker of the House assures me, though, that he hasn’t taken a penny for himself. “I have received no checks from that,” said Richardson.

July 16

July 16, 2012 --

  DFCS knew Cobb girl wasn’t being fed months before death The ‘independent’ effort to protect state Senate Republicans How Fulton jail’s and non-profit’s policies help spread HIV Powerful legislators led failed banks Delays, cost increases plague nation’s new nuclear projects Audit: New food-safety law not being strictly enforced Henry Co. lawmaker reimburses campaign for […]

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.

Legislators, how about new ethics goals for 2011?

Legislators, how about new ethics goals for 2011?
January 4, 2011 --

Everyone should make resolutions for the New Year, if only to have new goals. In that spirit, we offer 10 suggestions for Georgia legislators to strengthen government ethics in 2011. Among them: Let’s make ex-Speaker Glenn Richardson the last legislator to transfer all his leftover campaign cash to a committee where he can spend it any way he wishes.

Dec. 5

December 5, 2010 --

Funds for Cobb water system diverted Gas marketing company called pyramid Atlantans scoff at good news on crime State Senate leader’s work as lobbyist raises questions Decision to free Athens rape suspect stirs anger When can cops break down your door?: City to fork over $25K for APD snafu Ex-employee sues USO general for sexual […]

Powerless Ethics Commission looks to lawmakers

Powerless Ethics Commission looks to lawmakers
November 22, 2010 --

Enforcers of Georgia’s ethics laws are stuck in limbo, if not outright paralysis — a legacy of the Glenn Richardson years at the state Legislature. They’re wondering whether new leadership under the Gold Dome cares enough to set things right. In 2009, on Richardson’s watch, the Georgia House pushed through language stripping the State Ethics Commission of its rule-making power. Now the panel needs to adopt new rules to carry out subsequent legislative changes to ethics laws. But, says executive secretary Stacey Kalberman said, “It appears that we don’t have authority to do anything.”

Common Cause: Most top candidates back limits on lobbyist gifts

July 13, 2010 --

Most major candidates for governor back a limit on lobbyists’ gifts to legislators and on inter-campaign cash transfers, a new survey shows. Both measures drew support from leading candidates except for Thurbert Baker and John Oxendine, who have not yet responded to the survey. “It looks like from this list here … that the new governor will be somebody who stands behind these reforms,” Common Cause director Bill Bozarth said.

Gail Buckner, Secretary of State candidate: $23,450

Gail Buckner, Secretary of State candidate: $23,450
June 16, 2010 --

Gail Buckner, serving her first term in the state Senate after eight terms in the House, reported income of $23,450 for 2009. That’s about the same as she reported when she ran for secretary of state four years ago. Legislators are paid $17,342 per year plus per diem. The Jonesboro Democrat’s financial disclosure for 2009, […]

Departing lawmakers have $1.3M in campaign cash to burn

May 5, 2010 --

Thanks to House Speaker David Ralston, departing Georgia lawmakers have $1.3 million in campaign cash to distribute as they see fit this year — to political parties, PACs and other candidates. House Bill 920, if it had passed, would have required that those lawmakers pass the money on to charity, or return it to the original donors. Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill last week to allow citizens to donate money to the state treasury. Wonder how many of them will follow through on that?

Deposed committee chair: President pro tem a socialist, lt. gov. a dictator

Deposed committee chair: President pro tem a socialist, lt. gov. a dictator
April 12, 2010 --

A defiant Preston Smith today posted this fascinating speech, in which the Rome Republican acknowledges he was removed as chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee for refusing to support the so-called hospital “bed tax.” Gov. Sonny Perdue offered the 1.45 percent tax on hospitals’ revenue to help plug a $600 million deficit in the state’s Medicaid […]

Hudgens faces ethics charge over cash transfer

Hudgens faces ethics charge over cash transfer
January 15, 2010 --

An ethics complaint could cost Sen. Ralph Hudgens much of his fund-raising edge in the race for Georgia insurance commissioner. Last month, Hudgens shifted $106,000 from his Senate re-election race to his campaign for the insurance job. The State Ethics Commission declared in a 2008 advisory opinion that candidates can’t do it that way, but Hudgens reportedly doesn’t plan to return the money.