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.
Aug. 20, 2012 — Josh McKoon has called on his Senate colleagues to censure Don Balfour and remove him as chairman of that chamber’s Rules Committee for filing false expense reports.
The Senate Ethics Committee said today there’s “substantial cause” to believe Rules Chairman Don Balfour violated rules for expense reimbursements. The next step: A settlement with Balfour on public meetings that would air the details of the case.
Sen. Don Balfour in 2011 spent more than $29,000 given to him by political supporters to rent a downtown Atlanta condo that he could use year-round. For eight-plus months of the year, though, records indicate he drove home to Snellville, rather than stay in the condo, on each of the 103 days that he worked on public business. Most of those days were charged to a committee — Rules — that never met.
UPDATE: The ethics bill was recommitted just now (12:20 p.m. Wednesday) to the Rules Committee. Not sure what’s up with that. We’ll find out when the committee meets at 1:30 p.m.
The House Rules Committee today pushed ahead with Speaker David Ralston’s ethics bill after rejecting Democrats’ drive for a $50 cap on gifts from lobbyists. The panel scheduled the bill, tweaked just before the meeting, for debate by the full House on Wednesday. Procedurally, the measure was passed in such a way that it cannot be amended on the House floor.
Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Just ask Don Balfour. The Snellville Republican’s campaign fund has collected nearly $85,000 since Jan. 1, for a total of $683,000 since January 2006. No one’s even run against him in that period. The Rules Committee places bills on the Legislature’s calendar, unless it chooses not to — which means the Senate will never, ever vote on your bill. That’s why Don has so many friends.