Balfour, Murphy lose key Senate chairs
By JIM WALLS
Jan. 15, 2013 — Jack Murphy lost his chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee on Monday, two years after the feds sued him for his alleged role in a quarter-billion-dollar bank failure.
The Senate Committee on Assignments named Murphy as Banking chair in January 2011 when the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission sued directors of the failed Integrity Bank. The complaint accused Murphy, ex-Sen. Clint Day and other bank directors of “gross negligence” and “reckless indifference” in a collapse that cost federal insurers $250 million to $350 million.
The newly constituted Senate leadership, which had just wrested power from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, took no action at the time on calls to name a new banking chair while the suit was pending. Monday, as Cagle and his supporters regained control of the Senate, Murphy moved to the chairmanship of Regulated Industries and Utilities.
The FDIC’s suit remains open in the pre-trial discovery phase.
At least Murphy got a committee with something to do. Don Balfour, as expected, was removed Monday from the helm of the most powerful Senate committee, Rules, after having to pay a $5,000 ethics fine last summer. Now he’ll chair one of the least significant, at least until the 2020 Census — Reapportionment.
New chairmen were named Monday for 18 of the Senate’s 26 committees (plus a newly created 27th, Judiciary Non-Civil). A good bit of turnover was inevitable, as four chairmen did not return to the Senate this year and three others rose to leadership positions.
The Senate posted new committee assignments online last night. All the new committee chairs are:
- Agriculture — John Wilkinson
- Banking — John Crosby
- Economic Development — Frank Ginn
- Education — Lindsey Tippins
- Ethics — Rick Jeffares
- Finance — Judson Hill
- Government Oversight — Bill Heath
- Higher Education — Bill Cowsert
- Insurance — Tim Golden
- Judiciary — Josh McKoon
- Judiciary Non-Civil — Jesse Stone
- Public Safety — Buddy Carter
- Reapportionment — Don Balfour
- Regulated Industries — Jack Murphy
- Retirement — Fran Millar
- State & Local Government — Bill Ligon
- State Institutions — John Albers
- Transportation — Steve Gooch