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Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber prez: $841,602

Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber prez: $841,602
July 22, 2011 --

Fellow travelers Vincent Fort and Jim Wooten are among those who think Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, needs to resign over the chamber’s complicity in covering up the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. If he does, Williams will leave behind an annual salary nearing 7 figures.

Ethics panel: Caucuses must follow spending limits

Ethics panel: Caucuses must follow spending limits
March 4, 2011 --

Party caucuses in the Georgia Legislature are not exempt from limits on campaign spending, the State Campaign Finance Commission decided this week. The panel’s advisory opinion could curtail spending by the Democratic caucuses in the Georgia House and Senate, which paid more than $60,000 for mailings on behalf of Sen. Vincent Fort and Rep. Rashad Taylor against challengers in the party’s July 2010 primary.

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.

Did partisan $$$ swing non-partisan mayor’s race?

Did partisan $$$ swing non-partisan mayor's race?
September 12, 2010 --

Countless Atlantans volunteered for Kasim Reed last fall, helping a second-place candidate win the top job in city government. But, in a tight nonpartisan race, partisan campaigning may have been the critical ingredient that vaulted him past Mary Norwood. The Georgia Democratic Party spent at least $165,000 to attack her and contribute to an unprecedented 8 percent jump […]

Should ‘incumbent protection’ help Dems defeat other Dems?

Should 'incumbent protection' help Dems defeat other Dems?
August 2, 2010 --

Literature denouncing candidate Graham Balch greeted voters as they opened their mailboxes in recent weeks in Georgia’s 39th Senate District. Voters were told Balch is a Republican, that he called Atlanta’s Grady High a “ghetto” school and deserved an “F” for his positions on education. In the fine print: Re-elect Sen. Vincent Fort. Tactics like these are common, if not predictable, before a contested election. The difference: Balch ran as a Democrat, and a state Democratic organization paid for the attack ads. Continue reading my Ethics Watch column in the AJC…

New tax troubles for Reps. Talton, Mangham and others

New tax troubles for Reps. Talton, Mangham and others
August 13, 2009 --

Aug. 13, 2009 — Several Georgia lawmakers have gotten deeper into tax trouble this year, even as legislative ethics panels investigate some members’ failure to pay income taxes, property records show. The biggest unpaid bill belongs to Rep. Willie Talton of Warner Robins, who owes $39,197 for local property taxes.