Oct. 2, 2013 — All expense records for state Sen. Don Balfour will be withheld from public view until a related criminal prosecution has concluded, Legislative Counsel Wayne Allen said today.
If I didn’t know better, I’d be outraged by the allegedly shameful and irresponsible conduct of the Center for Public Integrity, called to our attention Thursday in the AJC. But I do know better, so please allow me to explain how Rick Thompson’s opinion piece ignored CPI’s findings about Georgia’s limp anti-corruption laws while building a straw man that could easily be ripped apart.
Very tough love in Brunswick drug court Insurance agents in Legislature get test exemptions Auditor questions cost of ATL Municipal Court Legislators pass fewer tax breaks this year Board system questioned at Augusta City Hall
The State Ethics Commission in coming months will talk to the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House about their alleged ethics violations. At roughly the same time, the agency’s leadership will ask these very same officials for more money to fulfill its mission and to restore powers that have been stripped away in recent years. This would make sense in only two places: the Georgia Capitol and Alice’s Wonderland. You can decide where the hatter is madder.
U.S. House panel accuses Deal of ethics violations Others cut but Legislature’s spending up Head Start pay hikes stimulate criticism Forsyth County demotes fire marshal
Former Georgia House speaker Terry Coleman has tentatively settled — for $2,900 — an ethics charge that he used campaign money to buy a condo. Coleman’s campaign made $38,120 in payments on the unit, a practice ruled improper by the State Ethics Commission in 2004. Coleman later reimbursed the campaign, but an ethics complaint on the matter has been pending since 2002. “My lawyer called and said they had come up with some sort of settlement,” he said Friday. “I wrote the check.”
A four-day jaunt to sunny Southern California. Braves games, concerts, golf and charter boat excursions. Weekends at Amelia Island, Sandestin and Biloxi. You and I have to pay for summer diversions like these. But public disclosures show lobbyists treated your Georgia legislators to all this and more, just since May 1. Lobbyists dropped more than $193,000 cozying up to lawmakers in May, June and July, even though legislators went home for the year on April 3.
There was no fun in the sun for the four legislators who flew last month to Pasadena, Cal., said Tom Lewis, lobbyist for Georgia State University. “No golf, no beaches, no nothing else,” he said. “This was pretty much a cut-and-dried educational trip.”
Aug. 13, 2009 — Several Georgia lawmakers have gotten deeper into tax trouble this year, even as legislative ethics panels investigate some members’ failure to pay income taxes, property records show. The biggest unpaid bill belongs to Rep. Willie Talton of Warner Robins, who owes $39,197 for local property taxes.
State Sen. David Shafer was the only delinquent legislator in the last week to file his personal financial disclosure statement, which was due July 1. Good for him, but not so much for the 19 other General Assemblers who still haven’t filed theirs. Elected officials make these disclosures so you know how they earn a living, what businesses they’re interested in and where they own real estate — all good things to know about people who are handling your money. Maybe no one cares but us, but it is the law. We’re still waiting on three Republicans and 16 Democrats to give us the goods. The list …