March 4, 2015 — Cities and counties could not remove monuments and other symbols of the Confederacy without relocating them to a place of equal prominence under a bill passed today by a House committee.
Nov. 13, 2013 — Don Balfour was suspended from the Georgia Senate today over expense account discrepancies first reported by Atlanta Unfiltered in February 2012. Our examination of the senator’s 2011 expense account found Balfour had claimed per diem and mileage reimbursements for several days when he was out of state and therefore ineligible for them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later dug up similar examples from prior years.
The Senate Ethics Committee order Balfour to pay a $5,000 fine over the discrepancies, and a Fulton County grand jury indicted him in September for 18 counts of making false expense claims. Records show Balfour’s campaign committee last year paid nearly $80,000 in legal fees to defend him in those cases.
State records show the state Department of Transportation wrote $691,500 in checks to Powell’s law firm in 2009, but he said they were never deposited in the firm’s account. Powell said his law partner, who has handled right-of-way acquisition for the DOT, endorsed the checks over to a new limited liability company created to continue that work rather than asking the state to reissue them. Powell said he had no affiliation with the new LLC.
Since 2001, Georgia has asked local political candidates who raise $10,000 or more to disclose the details — who gave it to you, how much, how you spent it — by “electronic means.” So what exactly does that mean? It definitely does not mean making it easy for the public to find them. Check out my Ethics Watch column for this week in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.