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House speaker’s disclosure omits $1M debt

House speaker's disclosure omits $1M debt
July 6, 2011 --

House Speaker David Ralston, for the first time in five years, has disclosed his wife’s ownership of an undeveloped 10-acre tract in Dawson County. The speaker, who last week added the property to his financial disclosures, said he’d simply forgotten. What he still hasn’t reported is the more than $1 million he’s borrowed, using collateral that’s valued at less than half that much.

Why do politicians give each other campaign cash?

Why do politicians give each other campaign cash?
March 14, 2011 --

March 14, 2011 — Georgia’s ethics reformers have a bill to push, but they’ll be pushing uphill if they want to restrict politicians giving large sums to each other, a practice sometimes described as “empire-building.” A case in point? Three top Senate Republicans, as they maneuvered to strip Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle last year of some of his power, donated $45,000 to 12 Senate freshmen. Caucus Chair Bill Cowsert said the contributions were part of his obligation as a party leader, not an effort to sway votes.

Political spending by House, Senate caucuses murky

Political spending by House, Senate caucuses murky
February 21, 2011 --

Last month, the Senate Republican Caucus reported spending $22,000-plus to support Gwinnettian Garry Guan’s race for the state Senate. That would be a problem. Georgia law treats those expenditures as campaign contributions — capped at $2,400 per race. The remaining 20 grand would be illegal. Now, Republicans say that disclosure was a mistake, that the spending benefited other candidates as well. But that explanation only underscores other weaknesses in campaign finance practices.

Unopposed legislators collect $530K in 2nd quarter

July 15, 2010 --

More than 90 state lawmakers — and one newcomer — collected $530,000 in campaign contributions this spring even though they will coast to election in November without a fight,an analysis of campaign records shows. More than half of that cash flowed to just 10 of them.

Who’s got the phattest crib in the GA Legislature?

Who's got the phattest crib in the GA Legislature?
April 13, 2010 --

Well, it’s probably a Republican, since they’re the ones whose campaigns are rolling in dough these days. But the phattest? That’s in the eye of the beholder, and Atlanta Unfiltered works only in cold, hard facts. We can tell you who’s spent what from campaign money for a crib during the 2010 legislative session, though. The biggest spender: state Sen. Don Balfour.

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 […]

21 legislators took $5K+ in freebies from lobbyists

21 legislators took $5K+ in freebies from lobbyists
January 15, 2010 --

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.

Burkhalter tops Richardson in campaign fund-raising

Burkhalter tops Richardson in campaign fund-raising
July 8, 2009 --

Rep. Mark Burkhalter, not House Speaker Glenn Richardson, appears to be the Georgia Legislature’s top campaign fund-raiser for 2009. The Johns Creek Republican, who serves as speaker pro tem, collected $94,250 in campaign funds for the first six months of 2009. Richardson reported raising $88,150 in the same period.

PAC Watch: United Health Services on spending spree?

PAC Watch: United Health Services on spending spree?
July 1, 2009 --

United Health Services, a Toccoa-based nursing-home chain, has shelled out $73,000 in political contributions to Georgia politicians so far this year. That was by far the largest total to surface on the first day of campaign finance reporting for 2009.

Who’s their fave? U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (right).

Tax liens totaling $248K filed against 12 Georgia legislators

Tax liens totaling $248K filed against 12 Georgia legislators
March 24, 2009 --

Liens for a combined $248,402 in back taxes have been filed against 12 Georgia legislators, property records show. State officials recently said 19 members of the General Assembly did not file a Georgia income tax return in 2007. The Revenue Department had not yet filed liens against them, so the legislators’ names were blocked out […]