Gov. Nathan Deal misinterpreted a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision this week when he vetoed a bill that would have banned anonymous campaign ads. So says Common Cause, the good-government advocacy group. Deal’s office said he wanted to err on the side of free speech, particularly in light of the bill’s criminal penalty.
Enforcers of Georgia’s ethics laws are stuck in limbo, if not outright paralysis — a legacy of the Glenn Richardson years at the state Legislature. They’re wondering whether new leadership under the Gold Dome cares enough to set things right. In 2009, on Richardson’s watch, the Georgia House pushed through language stripping the State Ethics Commission of its rule-making power. Now the panel needs to adopt new rules to carry out subsequent legislative changes to ethics laws. But, says executive secretary Stacey Kalberman said, “It appears that we don’t have authority to do anything.”
An advocacy group that spent $152,000 to help dump Georgia Congressman Jim Marshall wants to keep the identity of its donors secret. But it can’t, at least when it tries to influence state and local campaigns, under a draft opinion under review by the State Ethics Commission. The Center for Individual Freedom, led by CEO Jeffrey L. Mazzella, asked in August whether it could avoid disclosing donors for its political ads.