Jan. 18, 2011 — Under Georgia law, candidates must give back campaign donations for an election they don’t ultimately qualify for. It just doesn’t say when. That provision — some might call it a loophole — may leave John Oxendine with a half-million-dollar legal defense fund to fight pending ethics charges. But Oxendine’s access to that money relies on a somewhat tenuous interpretation of Georgia’s campaign finance law.
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 Speaker Glenn Richardson has signed a consent order over his apparently unauthorized transfer of nearly $220,000 in campaign funds to a political committee under his control. The State Ethics Commission will decide whether to sign off on the consent agreement Tuesday. It is unclear whether the order would require Richardson or the MMV Alliance Fund to pay a fine.
Georgia legislators cannot accept campaign contributions while they are in session. Except when they can. Four lawmakers running for Congress collected more than $343,000 in campaign funds between them while the General Assembly was in session this year, federal campaign filings show. Rep. Clay Cox, seeking the seat being vacated by Congressman John Linder, led the pack with $114,712.
Former House Speaker Glenn Richardson‘s political fund, enriched last week with nearly $220,000 from a separate campaign account, can legally spend the money almost any way it wishes. “He could spend it on anything he wants to,” said Rick Thompson, former executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission. “If he wanted to pay his rent or buy an automobile through the MMV PAC fund, there’s no restrictions on what he can do … under the Ethics in Government Act.”
By JIM WALLS March 23, 2009 — State Rep. Pam Stephenson has failed to report more than $27,000 in political donations from special-interest groups since 2003, records show. A pending state ethics complaint alleges the DeKalb County Democrat apparently failed to disclose about $20,000 in contributions. The complaint did not specify the source of the […]