DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton failed to disclose more than $101,000 in contributions to her campaigns in 2006 and 2008. For that, she agreed Friday to pay a $2,500 fine. Then-state Rep. Stan Watson, a fellow commissioner, also agreed to a $1,500 fine Friday for raising campaign money while the state Legislature was in session.
Robb Pitts is off the hook for accepting $45,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2001, thanks to a Fulton County judge, Kimberly Adams, who ruled the statute of limitations had expired. Now lawyers are attempting to apply the judge’s ruling to other cases more than a year old. The AG’s office says the potential precedent could be devastating to enforcement of ethics laws in Georgia.
Jim Lientz, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s former chief operating officer, has apparently settled a 4-year-old ethics complaint alleging he had failed to fully disclose his personal financial interests. Details have not been released, but a consent order with Lientz is on the agenda for the State Ethics Commission’s meeting tomorrow. Consent orders typically involve payment of a fine.
Robb Pitts and the State Ethics Commission are headed to court to settle an 8-year-old dispute over excessive and unreported campaign loans. The commission Monday rejected a proposed consent order that would have closed the matter with Pitts paying no fine and no restitution. Commission members were told Pitts could still win in court and wind up with no penalty or finding of responsibility. Kent Alexander, a former federal prosecutor, said he’d rather lose in court “than have the commission say an elected official who is an experienced campaigner violates the rules” and gets away with it.
On the eve of the 2001 Atlanta mayoral election, candidate Robb Pitts’ campaign bounced a $45,000 check. Several campaign officials made loans to cover the check in amounts far exceeding limits on political contributions. Pitts, now a Fulton County commissioner, may be about to settle ethics charges stemming from the loans. But will he have to pay back the money?
Former House Speaker Terry Coleman and 10 current and former lawmakers closed ethics complaints today with the payment of a fine and a promise not to do it again. Coleman agreed to a $2,900 fine for making more than $38,000 in mortgage payments on a condominium that his business was purchasing. The panel also fined Congressman David Scott for failing to report the status of $83,000 left over in his state Senate campaign accounts since 2002.