Earl Mahfuz, the Georgia DOT’s top numbers guy until state investigators found evidence of financial shenanigans, has retired effective today. Mahfuz has been at the center of an accounting controversy in which DOT employed practices described by Gov. Sonny Perdue as “Enron accounting.”
Twenty-one Georgia legislators accepted gifts valued at $5,000 or more from lobbyists last year. Led by Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, the 21 legislators accounted for 10 percent of the $1.5 million in lobbyist handouts last year. We’re talking gift baskets, food and drink, golf, sports and concert tickets, lodging and airfare. These are the lawmakers who can’t say no.
Candidates for the Georgia Legislature must disclose certain info about their personal finances within 15 days of qualifying for office. Apparently, no one explained that to Ron Dodson or Donzella James. Disclosure forms ask for basic information about a candidate’s job, business and real estate holdings and those of their spouses. The general idea is that voters can find out whether a politician’s public and private interests conflict. Legislators this year delined to raise the penalty for not filing, which remains at 75 bucks.