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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 9:00pm

State House Dems Eyeing Ethics Complaint Against Speaker

Democrats in the Georgia House are looking at how to move forward with an ethics investigation focusing on Republican Speaker Glenn Richardson. This comes after allegations Richardson had an affair with a lobbyist and told his ex-wife he would have state police follow her.

Richardson was the target of a related ethics investigation in 2007. Now, House Democrats, led by minority leader DuBose Porter, are looking at whether they will renew that old investigation or file a new one focusing on Richardson. Porter says there is a general consensus in the House that some action must be taken.

"I’ve talked to some members of the other party, and they don’t like it anymore than we do, and realize it is a problem they have got to handle," Porter says.

Porter would not elaborate on the extent of those conversations. Meanwhile, several House Republicans indicated to GPB they expect Richardson to resign. Richardson, according to Porter and those Republicans, is concerned about losing his speaker salary of $98,000 a year. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that was one of the issues to be discussed at the Governor Sonny Perdue’s residence Wednesday evening among top GOP leadership.

At an event before that reported meeting, Perdue noted the state is facing an extraordinary fiscal crisis next session. He then told reporters the House will be ready to deal with that challenge.

"The House will get it’s leadership house in order, and we’re going to have a productive session, and I look forward to it," Perdue said.

Perdue would not say whether he thinks Richardson should resign. Calls to the Speaker's office were not returned.