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Ethics panel drops some Oxendine charges, pursues others

December 16, 2015 --

Dec. 16, 2015 — State ethics commissioners have the statute-of-limitation blues. Today, a decade-old legislative gaffe led them to drop nearly two dozen charges alleging campaign finance violations by former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

But the commission also voted to continue to pursue charges that Oxendine spent $208,000 that should have been returned to donors after he finished fourth in the 2010 Republican primary for governor. The agency is also looking into the legality of the campaign’s loan of $237,000 to Oxendine’s private law practice.

Nathan Deal, take note: New rules close loopholes for mystery campaign spending

December 15, 2015 --

Dec. 15, 2015 — Two new campaign finance rules prevent the kind of maneuver that Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign used to avoid explaining more than $9,100 in credit card charges.

On a 4-0 vote today, the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission clarified that failing to disclose how campaign donations are spent cannot be considered a so-called “technical defect.”

The commission settled a 2012 case by treating Deal’s failure to itemize the spending as technical defects and allowing him to pay a small fee rather than say how the money was spent.

Loophole D: Dormant campaign accounts fade away with no accountability

December 11, 2015 --

Dec. 11, 2015 — Former Sen. Chip Rogers, who hasn’t reported on his six-figure campaign account since 2013, sits atop a list of dozens of politicians who appear to have done the same thing.

Atlanta Unfiltered, using Georgia’s searchable campaign finance database, found 48 former state office-holders and candidates whose most recent disclosures showed their campaign accounts still held amounts ranging from $500 to as much as $108,000.

They include a felon, a tax delinquent, a former House speaker, a former state school superintendent, a federal prosecutor, a DOT board member, a former DOT commissioner and several state officials pulling down more than $100,000 a year. Between them, the non-filers left nearly $1.1 million in campaign funds unaccounted for.

Is ex-Sen. Rogers cashing in his campaign chips? Or has he already?

December 2, 2015 --

Dec. 2, 2015 — Former Sen. Chip Rogers has laid the groundwork to write himself checks for more than $84,000 from two dormant campaign accounts.

Rogers has failed to file four required disclosures of his campaign finances since 2013, but he’s spent plenty of time revising old ones, recording tens of thousands of dollars of previously undisclosed debt for out-of-pocket expenses.

His revised disclosures raise a question that Georgia law does not address: Can a candidate retroactively claim to have made campaign loans that were never reported while in office?

Isakson PAC files late to report $53K in GA donations

December 1, 2015 --

Dec. 1, 2015 — U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s leadership PAC registered in Georgia last week, a day after Atlanta Unfiltered asked about its failure to report more than $53,000 in political donations last year.

Isakson’s 21st Century Majority Fund donated $33,300 to state and local candidates in Georgia in 2014, triggering a requirement that it also file disclosures with the state Campaign Finance Commission.