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Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 5:16pm

Agency Doesn't Have Funds to Enforce Ethics Law

The state passed a new ethics law this year, but the State Ethics Commission of Georgia says it doesn’t have the resources to implement it.

The new law expands the commission’s oversight to include the campaign contribution filings and financial disclosure reports of every one running for and serving in city and county offices. Before it was just state-level positions.

Head of the commission Stacey Kalberman says that’s tens of thousands of filings more than the computer system is used to, and budget cuts have delayed technology upgrades needed to deal with it come January when the law takes effect.

"The problem with this is we will be receiving 61,000 additional filings this year and our system needs to be able to accommodate our 1,000 percent increase in receipt filings," says Kalberman.

She says her agency also doesn’t have the staff to review and audit the information as is required by law.

"Right now we primarily depend on the press and others from the outside to bring ethics violations to our attention," says Kalberman, "because we simply don’t have the resources to audit the way we should."

A few years ago, the agency had three investigators and three auditors, now it just has one auditor and no investigators.