Atlanta, Ga. – Sept. 19, 2013 – Georgia Senate Democrats have renewed their call for an independent state ethics commission in the wake of news that ethics investigations against Gov. Nathan Deal’s ethics have been at least mishandled and at worst covered up.
“Senate Democrats introduced legislation to create an independent ethics commission, but now we are asking for a GBI, FBI investigation,” said Steve Henson, Democratic Leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
The head of Georgia’s ethics commission is accused of improperly intervening into an ethics investigation of Deal, raising serious questions about the independence of the state panel charged with keeping watch over Georgia’s elected officials.
Current and former commission employees told news agencies today that Holly LaBerge ordered documents removed from the official state investigative file on Deal and met with top aides to the Republican governor while the probe was ongoing.
“Governor Deal has demonstrated a pattern of misconduct,” said Sen. Vincent Fort, Senate Democratic Whip. “From his congressional days, now through his term as Governor, Deal has demonstrated that he has a disregard for the rules. Deal vacated his congressional office under investigation and a cloud of misconduct,” said Fort.
“Naming your own appointees to an ethics commission when you are under investigation is simply wrong,” said Henson. “Ethics enforcement in Georgia should not be biased and controlled by the very people it’s investigating.”
The governor has engaged in extension cronyism and demonstrated personal and political interest over that of the citizens.
Earlier this year, the ethics commission lacked the state funds to send ethics violations notices.
Former State Senator Connie Stokes, now a candidate for Governor, said this breach in ethics is one of the reasons is running for Governor of Georgia.
“The people of Georgia want a government that is accountable. Georgians want and need a leader who will answer to them, not act in their own personal interest,” said Stokes.
Georgia Democrats have asked for a number of ethics reforms over many years.