May 23, 2016 — A few years back, House Speaker David Ralston backed a move toward greater transparency in Georgia politics. His ethics bill, which took effect in 2014, requires quicker disclosure of lawmakers’ fund-raising before each year’s legislative session.
So it was a bit of a surprise to discover that Ralston failed to report nearly a quarter-million dollars in campaign contributions collected before legislators showed up for work under the Gold Dome in 2016.
UPDATE: The report of those contributions, along with more recent filings, appear to contain $13,000 in donations that exceed the legal limit.
Sept. 27, 2013 — Sen. Don Balfour was indicted today, based largely on Atlanta Unfiltered’s February 2012 report on sketchy entries in his expense account, for claiming per diem and mileage that he wasn’t entitled to.
Over at Fox 5, Dale Russell reported Wednesday night on an allegation that politics is behind a push to reopen an ethics investigation of U.S. Senate candidate Karen Handel. The state ethics commission settled three complaints against Handel in April with dismissals and her payment of a $75 late filing fee. Now, Russell reports, ethics […]
March 29, 2013 — A bill to seal allegations of misconduct inside Georgia’s juvenile prisons remained stuck in committee when the Legislature adjourned last night. Senate Bill 69, sponsored by Jack Murphy and others, would have exempted reports of “abuses or wrongdoing in the juvenile justice system” from disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act and authorized dismissal of whistleblowers leaking such allegations to the news media or advocacy groups.
Common Cause of Georgia just sent out this news release, which I post here in its entirety: Atlanta, GA – In a surprising response to a letter sent to ethics committee conferees requesting consideration of amendments and informing members of advocacy calls to voters in their legislative districts, House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal (R-Bonaire) replied […]
Jan. 17, 2013 — Atlanta city officials bought at least $128,000 in gift cards since 2008 but can’t say exactly what they did with them, the city auditor has found.
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. At least Murphy got a new committee — Regulated Industries — with something to do. Don Balfour, as expected, was also removed as chair of the powerful Rules committee after paying a $5,000 ethics fine. Now he’ll chair one of the least significant, at least until the 2020 Census — Reapportionment.
Oct. 28, 2012 — Former House Speaker Glenn Richardson has raised more than $32,000 for his campaign for the state Senate. Disclosures filed this morning show his top donors include former Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter, former Mercer University president Kirby Godsey and the Hospital Corporation of America. Several former House colleagues also chipped in. (UPDATE: Ex-Rep. Bill Hembree, one of Richardson’s opponents, raised nearly four times as much — $126,875 — plus a $10,000 personal loan.)
Sept. 26, 2012 — Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has reimbursed his campaign $8,500 even though his lawyer says he didn’t have to. The payment covers money that Rogers collected from his Senate expense account for costs paid by his campaign committee. Attorney Doug Chalmers said Rogers has loaned the campaign much more than that, but he cut the check “to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
Paul Broun’s conflicting accounts of more than $300,000 in loans to his election campaign make him one of the most corrupt members of Congress, a Washington activist group says.
Sept. 5, 2012 — State and federal agents seized documents and planned two arrests today in an investigation of alleged falsification and alteration of child-abuse intake reports in Muscogee County. Investigators are trying to determine whether reports were falsified to make it appear Georgia was opening abuse cases more quickly so DFCS could qualify for millions of federal dollars that had been withheld.
Sept. 4, 2012 — Glenn Richardson walked away from the Georgia Legislature with $220,000 in campaign funds to spend with little oversight. More than 2 1/2 years later, as he plans a run for the state Senate, he still hasn’t officially disclosed what he’s done with it. The former speaker of the House assures me, though, that he hasn’t taken a penny for himself. “I have received no checks from that,” said Richardson.
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Atlanta Mainstream goes deeper into news covered by the mainstream media -- posting documents to show the story behind the story.
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You can look up liens for back taxes or other debts in the property record room at your county courthouse. For a fee, a statewide database of liens and property records can be searched online at the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority.
The GSCCCA database is not foolproof, though. A thorough search of Fulton County's property records, for instance, will require a visit to the courthouse. That's because Fulton County's records are, to use a technical term, screwed up. Some fairly recent records have been lost so some lien cancellations, among other things, are not indexed properly. Some cancellations are not recorded by the clerk for a year of more after they are filed. In one instance, the tax commissioner did not cancel the lien after it had been paid off.