July 29, 2012 — Rep. Rashad Taylor, deputy whip for the House Democratic Caucus, filed the first financial disclosure for his 2012 campaign at 9 p.m. last night, three weeks after it was due. The filing included $9,100 in previously undisclosed donations, but he still hasn’t accounted for more than $15,000 that other candidates and political committees say they’ve given him since 2009.
(Updated July 26, 2012 with another $2 million in donations) Advocates promoting the “Untie Atlanta” campaign for a transportation sales tax have raised nearly $6 million, topped by donations from real estate interests and highway contractors, newly released disclosures show. Four of the top six cash donors — the National Association of Realtors, the Georgia Highway Contractors Association, heavy equipment suppliers Yancey Brothers Co. and C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc. — kicked in $981,000 among them.
A citizens’ group today called out two committees pushing the July 31 transportation sales tax referendum for failing to disclose their donors. The group also named donors of at least $434,000 to the pro-tax effort. While we wait for those disclosures, I’ve found more than $800,000 more given to sell the sales-tax referendum.
If I didn’t know better, I’d be outraged by the allegedly shameful and irresponsible conduct of the Center for Public Integrity, called to our attention Thursday in the AJC. But I do know better, so please allow me to explain how Rick Thompson’s opinion piece ignored CPI’s findings about Georgia’s limp anti-corruption laws while building a straw man that could easily be ripped apart.
Former state ethics official Rick Thompson says Georgia doesn’t need all the auditors and investigators it once had because auditing of politicians’ financial disclosures is now automated. This would seem to refute some of my recent findings about weak ethics enforcement in Georgia.
Except, of course, that it’s not true.
Tying Up Loose Ends: The Georgia Secretary of State has no record of an allegedly “unexplained” purchase for $4,965 that was said to suggest financial mismanagement at the state ethics commission. Without documentation,
we may never know what that purchase was for, or whether it really happened. Here’s why …
Georgians can no longer fall back on “Thank god for Alabama!” We trail the pack in a 50-state survey of government accountability laws and practices. Detractors, predictably, complain that bottom-of-the-barrel ranking is unfair and accuse me — the project’s Georgia reporter — of bias. As Sophocles observed 2,450 years ago, “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”
Exactly three years ago today, I requested records of credit card statements for former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. A week or two later, after someone let it slip that the sheriff’s office had a bank account that other county officials didn’t know about, I asked for those records too.
I’m still waiting. Legally, though, there’s no valid reason that I should be.
A blog about public records …
Tracking down the investors who want Georgia to give them $125 million in tax credits isn’t as easy as it should be. A walk through online disclosures identifies some of the suits who hope to be getting some of that.
about this page
Some criminals have their photos and crimes plastered all over the Internet, so people know who they are and what they did. Not politicians -- until now. The Crooked Politician Registry is an archive of info on public servants who crossed the line.
do it yourself corruption investigation
Most public corruption cases in Georgia are prosecuted in federal court. The U.S. attorney for North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, has an excellent Web site with archived news releases on prominent cases.
Federal court files may be searched online for a nominal fee through PACER. (The first $10 a year of searches are free.)
With the right keywords, online search engines will also turn up news releases or court rulings on a particular case at no cost.