Rep. Ralston, who championed a 2010 law that he touted as ethics reform, accepted a $17,279 lobbyist-funded trip to Europe later that year for himself, his chief of staff and their families. Ralston has had recurring tax difficulties, facing state and federal tax liens of more than $500,000, and he’s needed a little help paying off those debts.
A flawed bidding process indirectly allowed Nathan Deal’s Gainesville auto salvage business to nearly double its annual income from state inspections. Procurement records contain nothing to suggest that Deal, then Georgia’s 9th District congressman, or any of his staff members influenced the state’s decision to overturn the bidding. Losing the state contract — and the flat fee paid by vehicle owners — allowed Gainesville Salvage Disposal to earn an extra $415,000.
Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam has racked up $22,381 in liens for unpaid federal and state income taxes for eight consecutive years. The state Revenue Department executed the latest lien Jan. 25, shortly after reporting that a House member had not filed a 2008 tax return, but officials aren’t saying whether it’s her. “I don’t have money,” Abdul-Salaam said. “I struggle like most of my constituents, but I never run from my obligations.”