Former Georgia Congressmen Jim Marshall and John Linder paid hefty, six-figure bonuses to their staffs before leaving Washington, a newly released analysis has found. Marshall, defeated last year for re-election, paid more than twice as much in staff salaries in the fourth quarter of 2010 as in the previous three, the analysis showed. Linder, who retired after nine terms, paid his staff 86 percent more. Those increased payments ranked fifth and seventh, respectively, in Congress.
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.
A new, searchable database lets you sift through $20 billion in congressional pork, also known as earmarks, for the last two fiscal years. The data shows Georgia collected $2.1 billion of the national total. Just looking at “solo” sponsorship, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop led Georgia’s congressional delegation with $46.9 million directed to the state in FY 2008 and 2009.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has raised nearly $605,000 in campaign funds this year, more than any other Georgia congressman, new financial disclosures show. To do that, he has spent heavily on fund-raising, including $72,652 paid to three companies affiliated with Paul Kilgore, his campaign treasurer.