What’s the difference between an apparent conflict of interest and the real deal? In the world of government ethics, it’s all about the language crafted by the lawyers and the wiggle room they’ve left for other lawyers to argue about. Ethics codes in Georgia vary from one jurisdiction to another. Many prohibit a public officer from trading on his or her position for personal benefit but, as they say, the devil’s in the details.
Former Georgia legislator Pete Robinson put his lobbying clients on hold this month when he joined Gov.-elect Nathan Deal’s transition team. Those clients paid at least $320,000 (probably much more) for his services in 2010, state records show. That sum represents the amount paid to Troutman Sanders Strategies. Robinson, as chairman of the firm, receives an undisclosed portion of that sum.