Rep. Mandi Ballinger: Disclosures leave Q’s
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Mandi Lia Ballinger (R-Canton)
District 23 (Cherokee County)
Ballinger’s campaign disclosures remain a puzzlement. She reported making eight loans totaling $70,000 to her 2012 campaign but did not carry the outstanding balance over from one report to the next, making it appear the campaign had no debt as 2012 ended. None of her disclosures reported payment on the loans. In July 2013, after Atlanta Unfiltered raised questions about the loans, she reported the debt as $30,000, but she said she couldn’t correct earlier disclosures.
“I am currently trying to amend the reports, but a computer glitch won’t let me – I’m a Mac [user] and suspect therein lies the problem,” she wrote in a July 2013 email. “They will be amended to reflect the correct amounts.”
The reports were never amended, records show.
Ballinger also failed to carry over a $12,000-plus cash balance in her campaign account in September 2012. As a result, her campaign appeared to be short that amount in subsequent disclosures.
Seven PACs have also reported donating to Ballinger’s campaign, but she has only disclosed receiving a check from one of them — $2,500 from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “Those [other] checks were apparently misplaced,” Ballinger wrote. “There is no indication that the checks were ever tendered.”
- Elected to the House in 2012, taking 52.5% of the vote to win a four-candidate primary without a runoff.
- Re-elected in 2014 and 2016 without opposition.
- Appropriations (2017 – )
- Budget & Fiscal Affairs Oversight (2014 – present)
- Information and Audits (2013 – present)
- Judiciary Non-Civil (2013 – present)
- Juvenile Justice (chair, 2017 – )
- Rules (2017 – )
- Transportation (2013 – present)
- Self-employed business consultant.
Business ownership interests
- UNDISCLOSED: Ballinger’s husband owns & operates his own law practice, Eric A. Ballinger P.C. She disclosed his ownership in the firm when she ran for office in 2012 but left it off the disclosure she filed in 2013.
Other fiduciary positions
- Board member, Cherokee FOCUS.
- Board member, The Children’s Haven Inc. (formerly CASA for Children Inc.), Canton, Ga., non-profit for abused and neglected children.
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Canton valued at $443,000.
- UNDISCLOSED: House at 170 Chamlee Lane, Canton, valued at $190,000
- None disclosed.
Payments from state agencies
- The Children’s Center Inc. received $98,000 from DFCS and $70,000 in federal pass-though funds from the GBI in FY 2016.
Ballinger has reported raising more than $30,000 in political donations and loaning her campaign $70,000 of personal funds. The breakdown of donations by election cycle:
- 2012: $22,424
- 2013-14: $700
- 2015-16: $6,900
- Reported cash on hand (Jan. 2017): $6.644. However, Ballinger did not carry over a balance of $12,049 from her June 2012 disclosure to the net, so her actual campaign balance remains unclear.
As of mid-2013, six PACs had reported donating $1,850 to Ballinger that she had not acknowledged receiving. “Those checks were apparently misplaced,” Ballinger wrote in a July 2013 email. “There is no indication that the checks were ever tendered.”
The unreported donations are:
- Georgia Dental Association, $250, 7/25/2012
- Georgia Auto Pawn Inc., $400, 8/28/2012
- MAG Mutual Insurance Co., $250, 8/29/2012
- Georgia Dental Association, $200, 12/9/2012
- Georgia Hospital Association, $250, 11/1/2012
- Publix Super Markets, $250, 1/10/2013
- Georgia Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, $250, 6/14/2013
- $10,000 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association & leadership
- $2,500 Curtis Dickenson, Woodstock, Ga., lawyer
- $1,500 David Jordan, president North Cherokee Electrical Contractors Inc.
- $1,500 Mark Molinari, COO 4th Source Inc., IT consulting firm
Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. Ballinger’s committee reported making no such contributions, although she personally donated $250 to House Speaker David Ralston.
Lobbyists have reported paying more than $1,000 for meals and other gifts for Ballinger since 2013. The big spender:
- $110 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
Per diem & travel
When out of session, lawmakers may collect $173 per diem plus mileage for official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.
- 2013: $891 (4 days)
- 2014: $442 (2 days)
Updated Jan. 16, 2017