A powerful Cobb County legislator collected $40,000 last year to do research to help an advocacy group decide the best way to ask the Legislature for money. Rep. Earl Ehrhart and his client, Friends of Arts & Culture, say he did not help to write a bill that would have allowed local votes on arts funding, nor did he help move it through the Legislature. “I never consult on any type of legislation that’s going on here,” he said. Ehrhart did not disclose his client or his fee, which state law does not require. Nor did he disclose the name of his consulting business, which the law does require. This is what passes for transparency in the Georgia Legislature. UPDATE: An ethics complaint regarding this transaction was filed this week with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.
Former House minority leader Bob Irvin chastised Republicans in the Georgia Legislature on Monday for failing to make good on the GOP’s longstanding promise of sweeping ethics reform in state government. “Ethics was part of our core creed for 30 years,” Irvin, now chairman of Common Cause Georgia, said in testimony before a joint House and Senate Ethics panel. “It was our core creed, it seems, until we took over.”