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Monday, October 26, 2009 - 6:48am

Hundreds of State Workers Violate Ethics Rules

Updated: 5 years ago.
State legislators are a big target of lobby groups, but often the big decisions are made by state employees. (photo J. Glover)

A newspaper investigation has found that hundreds of Georgia state employees accepted gratuities from government vendors over the past two years in violation of state ethics rules.

Strict state policies forbid state employees from accepting anything valued over $25, including gifts, speaking fees and free meals, from companies that do business with state government.

Still, the Atlanta Journal Constitution found that about 650 employees accepted gratuities, according to disclosure reports filed by lobbyists.

Many of the employees work for the executive branch. None of them has been been disciplined for their violations.

In all, lobbyists spent about $106,000 wooing state bureaucrats, who often decide how millions of state dollars are spent.

About a third of the spending was within the $25 limit.

Among those outside the limits, however, one project manager for the Department of Economic Development received $1,695 in meals, golf rounds and other perks from Georgia Power.

A spokeswoman for the state agency says, none of the gifts were for the employee's personal gain. The spokeswoman says, employees receive many gifts that are permissible as part of their duties to create jobs for Georgians.

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