Washington avoided a government shutdown last month, but ethics enforcers in Georgia soon will face the prospect of shutting down their key function — enforcing ethics laws. In fact, members of the State Campaign Finance Commission are already planning their legal defense in case someone sues them for failing to do their job.
Attorney General Thurbert Baker’s office says the State Ethics Commission can’t do much with repealing old rules or creating new ones under 2009 amendment to state law. The commission can probably clean up language of existing rules, the AG’s office said, but not eliminate or create a rule. That may leave the commission unable to carry out 2010 amendments to ethics law.
The State Ethics Commission today opened a two-week window for job applicants who want to be the state’s new top ethics enforcer. The commission hopes to interview three finalists in public at its Oct. 15 meeting. When Rick Thompson was chosen in 2006, candidates were interviewed in closed session. Senior assistant attorney general Stefan Ritter described that today as “not the best practice.”
Fulton County officials admit serious violations of election rules for mishandling thousands of absentee ballots in 2008, attorneys said today. Hundreds of voters may have been disenfranchised because Fulton screwed up requests for mail-in ballots, state investigators found, and vote-counters ignored security and accuracy guidelines. Former judge Norman Underwood: Fulton’s 2008 performance was “unacceptable, unsatisfactory and embarrassing.”