Dec. 9, 2014 — A complaint against a political committee supporting Gov. Nathan Deal may be dismissed without investigation tomorrow by the state ethics commission. An attorney for Real PAC, founded by two longtime friends of Deal’s, contends it didn’t have to file financial disclosures for the $970,000 it raised and spent in Georgia, nor did it have to operate independently of the governor’s re-election committee.
A review of campaign filings and other public documents, however, suggests the issue is not so clear-cut.
Dec. 4, 2014 — The state ethics commission is preparing to dismiss complaints next week against two high-profile political organizations on the left and the right: Better Georgia Inc. and Real PAC.
Nov. 16, 2012 — George Anderson won his fight today over liability for Gov. Nathan Deal’s legal fees. But he says he’s finished nonetheless after a quarter-century of haranguing politicians across Georgia for perceived ethical lapses. “I can’t handle the stress anymore,” he said. “It affects my body too much.”
July 23, 2012 — Gov. Nathan Deal has agreed to pay $3,350 in “administrative fees” after state investigators found dozens of minor violations in his 2010 campaign finance disclosures. In one consent order accepted this morning, Deal acknowledged 53 violations in reports on individual disclosures, which are considered “technical defects” under Georgia law. Generally, examples of technical defects include omitting a donor’s employer or full address or the purpose of an expenditure.
Federal prosecutors were reportedly investigating tax and loan issues regarding Gov. Nathan Deal as recently as June, newly disclosed documents show. References to the federal inquiry, and details on a state investigation of Deal’s campaign finances, are revealed in a case file recently closed by Georgia Inspector General Deron Hicks.
Robb Pitts is off the hook for accepting $45,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2001, thanks to a Fulton County judge, Kimberly Adams, who ruled the statute of limitations had expired. Now lawyers are attempting to apply the judge’s ruling to other cases more than a year old. The AG’s office says the potential precedent could be devastating to enforcement of ethics laws in Georgia.
Catching up with the State Ethics Commission: The Atlanta Development Authority has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for promoting passage of a 2008 ballot question, but attorney Randy Evans said the city’s public housing agency disputes a similar complaint. Also last week, the commission backed down from requiring more financial reporting by so-called independent committees, demonstrating yet again the limits on its powers.
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.
A Georgia insurance company had no inkling that $120,000 in political donations would wind up almost immediately in the campaign of Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the State Ethics Commission was told Thursday. The commission is considering whether to advance or dismiss an ethics case against the company and an affiliate, both run by Delos W. Yancey III, a friend and hunting buddy of Oxendine’s. No decision is expected until early next year.
A dozen people, including a former sheriff, mishandled scores of absentee ballots cast in elections in four Georgia counties in 2008, state elections officials say. Investigators found ballots were requested or marked without voters’ knowledge, voters were assisted who did not need help, and some of the “helpers” covered their tracks by failing to sign paperwork to acknowledge their involvement. In Twiggs County, FBI analysis found fingerprints of former Sheriff Doyle Stone and his son, Greg Stone, on envelopes containing absentee ballots.
Georgia’s attorney general will pursue civil charges in an alleged election fraud case involving former Chattooga County State Court judge Carlton Vines. A jury in Summerville couldn’t reach a decision in April on criminal charges that Vines conspired to fix a 2006 election. The State Election Board on Thursday voted to turn over its investigation to the attorney general. Board member Randy Evans has indicated a civil fine of $100,000 is possible.
Fulton County officials admit serious violations of election rules for mishandling thousands of absentee ballots in 2008, attorneys said today. Hundreds of voters may have been disenfranchised because Fulton screwed up requests for mail-in ballots, state investigators found, and vote-counters ignored security and accuracy guidelines. Former judge Norman Underwood: Fulton’s 2008 performance was “unacceptable, unsatisfactory and embarrassing.”